Whether it’s happy hour after work or a late night out with friends, nothing says relaxation and celebration like time spent on an outdoor patio with a drink in your hand. Next time you feel closed in by the walls around you, step outside to enjoy one of the best outdoor patios in Austin.
Our team of bloggers joined together to create this list. It’s a compilation of their personal favorite patios in town, in no particular order. If you want to see other Austinot Blogger “best of” lists, check out our articles on the Best Taco Stands in Austin and the Best Cocktails in Austin.
Edgar Barguiarena, Austinot Lead Blogger
Since we’re talking about patios, I’d be remiss to leave out East Austin gem, Contigo. Inspired by the South Texas ranch of the same name, Contigo is basically all patio. Most of the restaurant is outdoors with a small seating area under an aluminum roof. The result is a genuinely welcoming atmosphere that was tailor-made for cool summer nights under a Texas moon.
Contigo focuses on “Fresh, Quality Bar Food” with an emphasis on small shareable plates that go well with beer. Don’t-miss dishes include the Ox Tongue Slider made with pickled green tomatoes and dijon, or the Texas Okra mixed with walnuts and jalapeños.
Happy Hour features food and drink specials and runs from Monday-Thursday, 5-7 PM.
2027 Anchor Lane – Website
Eric Highland, Austinot Founder
I’m an urban guy. Give me concrete and steel any day of the week and I’ll take it. For me, a great patio must have two elements: be in an amazing city and be great for people watching.
My pick will come as no surprise to locals, but for those visiting or new to the city, check out Halcyon.
You’ll find this urban patio on the corner of 4th and Lavaca in the Warehouse District. Halcyon perfectly covers both of the elements I look for in a patio. It’s on the sidewalk, raised up to overlook 4th Street. The vibe of the city from this location is fantastic, and people watching here is so much fun. I can’t recall ever being able to pass this place by without snagging a seat on the patio if one can be found. Not to mention that when you combine the location with their scrumptious offerings of desserts and drinks, you’ve simply got yourself the perfect urban patio.
218 W 4th – Website
Manuel’s Great Hills
Leah Nyfeler, Austinot Contributing Blogger
When I need to relax and unwind, I immediately head to the patio at Manuel’s Great Hills. Beneath the spreading branches of a giant live oak tree and under the trellis covered with wisteria, life slows to an easy, friendly pace. Manuel’s has been an Austin dining presence for 30 years, serving high quality interior and coastal Mexican food. They’ve recently revamped their menu, noting many gluten free options. But it’s the north Austin location’s outdoor space that keeps me coming back.
Surrounded by pots of flowers and a gently trickling fountain is a variety of seating (metal patio tables, bench seats with pillows, comfy sofas, tall bar tables), with ample space for large groups or an intimate date. In the summer, natural shade provides a cool respite. In the winter, the space is enclosed, cozy and heated. One of my favorite things to do on a beautiful day, no matter the season, is go early for happy hour (daily, 4-6 PM), savor a Mario’s Maraca, and make a meal of ceviche, queso and nachos. It always feels like a mini-vacation.
10201 Jollyville Rd – Website
Kelli McDonald, Austinot Contributing Blogger
Hula-hoops, kitty cats, fireflies, food, cocktails and mosquito spray: these are a few of my favorite things when it comes to a good Austin porch, and Butterfly Bar has them all.
Butterfly Bar shares a home with The Vortex, a theatre venue that supports experimental and thoughtful performances. During one visit, I unknowingly came across a show by Ballenarca, a troupe of puppeteers with a large whale stage/sculpture. I love that Butterfly Bar hands me artistic surprises along with delicious cocktails. The bartenders are very friendly, and I was pleased to meet Katherine who recommended the Lillet’s Cup, a gin based drink with a fruity and floral kick topped off with Topo Chico. It’s as beautiful as it is tasty.
The resident food trailer, Patrizi’s, is not shy about putting liberal amounts of delicious garlic on their great Italian fare, and I appreciate that completely. Overall, it seems like everyone is always in a good mood hanging out at Butterfly Bar, and that’s part of what makes it feel homey to me. It just feels like Austin.
2307 Manor Road – Website
Adrienne Albregts, Austinot Contributing Blogger
If I’m going to drink in triple digit heat, I have some requirements:
- There must be shade over the patio/outdoor bar area. Direct sunlight and I stopped getting along right after high school.
- There must be an outdoor game to play. NOTE: I cornhole like a ninja, but if a cornhole set is not available, ring toss or giant Jenga will suffice.
- The bartenders MUST be attractive. Wouldn’t you rather be served by a glistening 9 or 10 than a smelly 3 dripping DNA all over your order? That’s what I thought.
Dogwood on W 6th satisfies all of my requirements, and then some. For instance, they have a great happy hour with plenty of $5 food items from 4-7 PM every day. They also have (be still my heart) great burgers that are $3 off every Monday. Get the Slider Trio so you can sample the cheeseburger, pulled pork sandwich and southern crabcake sandwich all at once. Great place with great atmosphere!
715 W 6th St – Website
Central Market North Lamar
Judy Rae Merhar, Austinot Contributing Blogger
Central Market on North Lamar is my go-to patio, for all seasons. I love it for its simplicity. Before heading outside, I grab four essentials from inside: a bottle of wine, crusty baguette, sliced Havarti and a chocolate chip cookie. If you check out at the gelato/coffee bar register, they’ll even uncork your bottle and provide plastic cups at no extra charge.
On nights when our family is looking to fill a deeper hunger, we order from the indoor café. The process is easy and the menu is well rounded, sure to please varying appetites and budgets. Off from the patio is a parent’s dream. A playscape allows rambunctious little ones the opportunity to stretch their legs and make some noise.
The best time to go is Friday or Saturday evening, when you’ll find musicians playing under streams of lights dangling from oak trees. The music is varied and often inspires the young and old onto the dance floor. Cuban, Zydeco, Jazz and Blues are just a few of the melodies my husband and I have enjoyed while washing down our vittles with wine…while listening to our kids in the distance.
4001 N Lamar Blvd – Website
@theAustinot wants to know:
In your opinion, what is the best outdoor patio in Austin?
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