Travel + Leisure bestowed the honor of being one of “America’s Best Outdoor Bars” to two equally popular but distinct watering holes in Austin.
First up is the sprawling, glittering Lustre Pearl. Known for its hula hoops, table tennis and charming (un)restored (I’m not being facetious, the paint peeling off the walls truly is party of the appeal) interior aesthetic, social butterflies arrive in droves to sit under the stars and, if things go well, meet a mate.
Bypass Austin’s better-known 6th Street, nicknamed “Dirty Sixth.” You’ll find this pearl-in-the-rough on Rainey Street in a wonderfully dilapidated house. With an old jukebox, Ping-Pong tables, and lounge chairs on a spacious gravel patio, it’s a laid-back place to get a Black Eye — the drink, that is (Shiner Bock, a Texas beer, with a shot of Jack Daniels). The outdoor front porch is for people-watching and provides easy access to a food truck selling tacos, nachos, and other comfort foods for when the munchies set in.
The magazine’s second selection is the courtyard nestled within Hotel San Jose’s grounds. The understated patio (small, quiet, private) is frequented by the creative, artist type seeking asylum from the Texas heat with, quite possibly, the most refreshing sangria in town. You can be confident that anything hotelier Liz Lambert is behind will exude a certain brand of minimalistic cool.
A small pool, vintage reclining chairs, and tall plants make this intimate courtyard bar an easy, breezy space to while away a few hours in Austin’s South Congress neighborhood. If a drink makes you so inclined, grab a Polaroid camera or antique typewriter — available on loan from the hotel — and start recording some memories. Just be sure someone holds your spot because seats are hard to come by after 6 p.m.