Austin’s official title of "Live Music Capitol of the World" is not self-appointed—it's earned. Long known as a playground for late night revelers, the city brought Texas country music to the forefront years before the emergence of mega-venues and craft cocktail lounges. Dance Halls and Honky Tonks once ruled the roost, and down and out drifters played for their wages. The music scene now pulls a sophisticated and cosmopolitan crowd while sticking true to its roots. Music lovers will find a variety of options every night of the week that span genres, all with a unique and soulful edge. It’s not surprising that the city plays host to several of the most significant music festivals in the country, like SXSW and the ACL Fest. New bars open almost daily in Texas’s ever-evolving and always-hospitable capitol city.

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  • 1. Deep Eddy Cabaret

    West Austin

    Touted as Austin's neighborhood beer joint, this place has a true dive-bar atmosphere, complete with ice-cold brews, pool tables, and a killer jukebox. While not...Read More

  • 2. Donn's Depot

    West Austin

    A hole-in-the-wall heaven, Donn's dance floor has attracted fans of Texas two-step, waltz, polka, honky-tonk, and swing since 1972. Tucked in an old train car...Read More

  • 3. Lustre Pearl

    Rainey Street District

    This fun Rainey Street favorite within a charming Austin bungalow and attached courtyard is usually filled with patrons hula hooping or playing bar games. Lustre...Read More

  • 4. The Driskill Bar

    Sixth Street District

    The old-fashioned bar at the Driskill is where history is made, from heavy-hitter political and business deals made over a handshake to Austin Film elite...Read More

  • 5. The Liberty

    East Austin

    This East Sixth Street dive bar has a huge back-patio space filled with picnic tables. The on-site food truck, the original location of East Side...Read More

  • 6. The Little Longhorn Saloon

    North Austin

    Looking for an authentic honky-tonk dive-bar experience? This Burnet Road haunt is an Old Austin favorite, though from the looks of the rather shabby exterior,...Read More

  • 7. Cain & Abel's

    University of Texas Area

    Things are always distinctly "fratty" at this wildly popular local haunt for college students and alumni alike right in the heart of the University of...Read More

  • 8. Carousel Lounge

    North Austin

    Opened in 1963, this north Austin haunt is one of the most adored, longest-running bars in the city. The unassuming dive looks like a gritty...Read More

  • 9. Emerald Tavern Games & Cafe

    North Austin

    For good food, great drinks and, yes, board games, Emerald Tavern is the place to go. The front retail portion resembles a simple old-school book...Read More

  • 10. Half Step

    Rainey Street District

    A prime spot for craft cocktail aficionados, Half Step is a swanky locale boasting first-rate bartenders who are serious about cocktails, but not too serious...Read More

  • 11. Maggie Mae's

    Sixth Street District

    This is one of Sixth Street's longest-running establishments and features an Irish-style bar, New Orleans–style courtyard, three stages, and one of the largest rooftop bars...Read More

  • 12. Mean Eyed Cat

    West Austin

    Now overshadowed by a towering condo project, this little shack of a bar owes its name to the Man in Black. The dive is an...Read More

  • 13. Moontower Saloon

    Tucked away in south Austin, this mainly outdoor venue is the quintessential escape for a classic Texan live music and special event experience. The neighborhood...Read More

  • 14. Nickel City

    East Austin

    Named one of the best bars in America by GQ magazine, Nickel City holds court amidst one of the most bustling stretches of east Austin....Read More

  • 15. Speakeasy


    Although Austin is better known for hole-in-the-wall bars, live music venues, and couture cocktail emporiums, this club is one of the main spots in the...Read More

  • 16. The Ranch


    On Sixth Street’s "grown-up" west side, this multilevel bar has a tendency to get a little rowdy on weekends but manages to keep a steady...Read More

  • 17. Yard Bar

    North Austin

    You don't have to bring a dog to be a patron at Austin's first hybrid restaurant, bar, and dog-park, off Burnet Road. The shaded outdoor...Read More

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