You’ve seen them. Young men roaming the city, with matching t-shirts and an eye for adventure. They touch down in Austin on Thursday or Friday, live their best lives for as long as they can, and then go back to whatever reality they came from.
Bachelor parties are everywhere in Austin, and for good reason. Our city offers the best food, drink, and group activities. Accessibility within the city that makes it easy to navigate from place to place. And of course, the warm weather. If you’re planning a bachelor party in Austin, know you have options and–most importantly–the opportunity to keep it uncomplicated and fun.
So why is The Austinot, a hyperlocal blog that caters to Austin residents, sharing how to have a successful bachelor party in its home city? As I quickly learned after I moved here, living in Austin doesn’t mean your friends won’t plan their parties here. It does mean that when they have said bachelor parties here, you’ll be responsible for most of the planning.
Thus, what follows is a breakdown of the four nightlife districts every Austin bachelor party planner needs to be familiar with.
Austin’s Fab Four Nightlife Districts
Bar hopping is obviously a big part of most bachelor party weekends. The four areas where you’re likely to see these jovial assemblies of dudes are West Sixth, Dirty Sixth, East Sixth, and Rainey Street. Each district offers a unique flavor of nightlife (or daylife, if an early bar crawl is of interest).
The best part is they’re all in the same walkable vicinity, so you don’t have to pigeonhole yourself into one area.
Bachelor Party on West Sixth Street
West Sixth extends west of Congress Avenue. The bar scene here is becoming more and more popular as the city grows. You’ll get the best of all worlds: dance parties, live music, games, and arcades.
The vibe is a little more clubby than other areas, and so are some of the bars like The Ranch, Greenlight Social, and Pop. Buford’s is great for big groups, as there are games and a dance party led by a DJ on stage. Buford’s is also home to a Via 313 trailer, and having the option of this amazing local pizza is never a bad thing.
Rustic Tap is a casual bar worth highlighting. With a large outdoor area and music in the evenings, bachelor party revelers can occupy themselves for hours with games of giant beer pong (trash barrels for cups, volleyballs for ping pong balls).
In general, people are more dressed up than they would be on East Sixth. That said, this isn’t NYC’s Meatpacking District. It’s still Austin. Feel free to go anywhere in a bathing suit, tank top, and flip flops.
If you’re looking for a low-key evening hang, or hoping to watch some games during the day, then bring your group to Star Bar. And don’t sleep on the food trailer, especially if you like interesting bratwurst creations.
And speaking of food, if you’re looking to start the night out with dinner (and great drinks), or the day with brunch (and great drinks), then head over to Irene’s. Other options for brunch include Holy Roller and Wu Chow (known for Sunday dim sum brunch).
One final suggestion for those looking to get (relatively) active between partying. How about going to Spin for some ping pong? Don’t worry, there is a full bar as well as a kitchen serving food. Partying can continue.
➡️ Keep reading: Guide to Austin’s West Sixth Street
Bachelor Party on Dirty Sixth Street
Let’s head east on Sixth Street for the main event, the Bourbon Street of Austin, Dirty Sixth. You’ll want to take out-of-towners here just to experience the bars, energy, and the guy who stands in the middle of the street with a live snake around his neck.
If you want food before the show, then I recommend Easy Tiger for sausage, pretzels, and an extensive beer list. If you think your party can be quiet for an extended period of time, then an Esther’s Follies show is highly recommended. You’ll get song, dance, comedy, and magic. And yes, there’s a bar and intermission.
Once your party is well-fed, start your Dirty Sixth crawl at Cheers Shot Bar. Head to the back of the first floor and order your group some Flaming Dr. Pepper shots. Then get out of the way and watch the show.
From there, lead your group over to Maggie Mae’s, Blind Pig Pub, Shakespeare’s, and whatever else catches your eye. These bars are big and rowdy, and have rooftops ideal for people-watching as you look down at the mob on the street below.
If you’re into craft cocktails and a speakeasy vibe, then try out Firehouse Lounge (it can get rowdy at night with the DJ) or Floppy Disk Repair (try the Lean cocktail). You’ll have to figure out how to get into both speakeasies, but I have faith. Bachelor party-goers are nothing if not resourceful.
As the night winds on and the drinks continue, you may find yourself ready for Barbarella. Whether you’re craving an indoor light show dance party or an outdoor hip-hop one, Barbarella is a great “it’s the end of the night, let’s pretend we’re still in college” experience.
➡️ Keep reading: Guide to Austin’s Dirty Sixth Street
Bachelor Party on East Sixth Street
If you’ve read my articles, then you know East Sixth is my favorite part of town. Still up and coming, but also pretty much there at this point, the once-grungy neighborhood is developing at a rapid clip. It’s the most casual of the four districts featured here, with dive bars and a Brooklyn-type vibe.
Let’s start with feeding your bachelor party. The food trailers on East Sixth are amazing, whether Artessano, Baton Creole, or East Side King. You’re in good shape for food in the early morning, daytime, or late night.
My favorite restaurant in Austin is Kebabalicious, so my visitors always insist we stop for a kebab and K-fries. For group sit-down meals, you can try Licha’s Cantina, Via 313 for pizza, Tamale House East (get the frozen margarita!), or Revelry.
Overwhelming? Yes. The good thing is it’s difficult to go wrong when it comes to feeding your bachelor party on East Sixth.
Let’s assume everyone is fed and ready to start/keep drinking. The options up and down East Sixth Street are plentiful, starting with breweries: Lazarus Brewing Co., Zilker Brewing Company and Taproom, and Hops & Grain Brewing. Choose your favorite and enjoy some “frat colas” while your stomach settles.
After the brewery stop, I recommend taking your crew to Whisler’s for cocktails (try the old fashioned). Don’t forget to go up the stairs to the tiny mezcal room, where you can sip agave-centric concoctions out of tiny clay pots.
After that, show your group what two-stepping looks like and Texas music sounds like at The White Horse, or sit outside and drink a Lone Star on Liberty Bar’s backyard picnic tables. As with all of Austin’s nightlife destinations, walk up and down the street, and just see what’s calling your name.
When “night” turns to “late night,” make your way to Hotel Vegas (probably a band playing) or Volstead (definitely a DJ getting everyone moving). These two bars share a backyard filled with locals and visitors, sitting at picnic tables and solving the problems of the world.
When you’re ready for that late night meal, I recommend Rollin Smoke barbecue or Halal Time across the street. Both can help you end the night right.
➡️ Keep reading: Guide to Austin’s East Sixth Street
Bachelor Party on Rainey Street
Rainey Street’s bustling section of bars and restaurants is located a few blocks south of Sixth Street. I always plan at least one dinner at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden, where bachelor party friends can eat sausage and drink beer to their hearts’ content. Look around and you’ll realize you’re in good company. I’m not the only one with this bachelor party dinner recommendation.
Rainey Street was residential in the not-too-distant past. But these days during peak hours, it can feel like all of Austin is on the same street. My strategy here: choose a bar that feels right, and move on to the next one when you get antsy. I usually end up at Half Step, Lucille’s, and Lustre Pearl at some point.
Looking for a bar with an extensive beer list? Craft Pride is your place. Side note: Via 313 is in the back. Yes, I realize this is the third time I’ve mentioned Via 313 locations. It is a must. My other favorite food trailer on Rainey is Wild Taco, located near the entrance to Bungalow. I recommend the al pastor quesadilla.
Almost every bar on Rainey has cocktails, an outside area, and games. Container Bar is the most notorious dancing bar on the street. And it’s made out of shipyard containers, so there’s that. On a small street like this, if you don’t want to be waiting late into the night, be sure to get your car a bit before the bars close at 2 a.m., when every other partier has the same idea.
Back to Reality
I hope this outline makes the city a little smaller and easier to organize for those of you planning a bachelor party. When it comes to food, drink, and convenience, I don’t think Austin can be beat. Get the most out of these four nightlife areas, and the bachelor and his friends will be forever thankful.
If you ever find yourself at the airport on a Sunday, then look around. Bachelor party revelers on their way out are impossible to miss. Sunglasses on, heads bowed, weekend over. When the party ends, reality hits hard and fast. So be a hospitable Austinite and give them a knowing nod of approval. Hopefully they did it right. Soon it may be you.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What is your go-to spot for bachelor parties in Austin?
This article was originally published July 24, 2018.