McNeil Drive acts as the dividing line between Austin and Cedar Park, and The Water Tank sits on the Austin side. You can sit on the front porch of this welcoming neighborhood bar and throw a Shiner bottle into the next county.
Not that I’d recommend that, of course. But that’s The Water Tank’s vibe: the last frontier of Austin’s relaxed and friendly bar culture.
Last Bar Before WilCo
The Water Tank is northwest Austin’s own watering hole. The surrounding neighborhood is a brackish mixture of old and new Austin. The Apple campus is just down the road, but it’s still a family area. The Water Tank is an oasis where the tech nerds rub shoulders with karaoke fiends and hardcore bikers. And the drinks are cheap.
This is a big place. You could fit six downtown bars into it. Inside, there are small corners with pool tables and arcade games where regulars meet. The long bar stretches across the middle of the space like it’s ready for a constant party.
That doesn’t even touch on the huge outdoor area, known as the Backyard, complete with a stage and outdoor bar. If it’s cool outside, you don’t even have to open a door to get your drink on.
Local Bar for Local Folks
What type of people love The Water Tank? Let’s take a look at the inside of the bar to figure that out. When you walk in, you’ll see no fewer than nine Bud Light signs, so is it a cheap dive?
Maybe at one point it was, but today you’ll also see ads and flair for the trendiest blood orange beer and plenty of cider. To me, those are signs that The Water Tank isn’t only for the hard drinking nine-to-fivers.
Having said that, it is the comfy type of bar where you can pull up a stool and catch up with the bartender. Classic rock music plays softly over the speakers as draft beer is poured into large glasses.
The drinks at The Water Tank are 90’s-era cheap. While the rest of Austin is paying double digits for cocktails, you can pick up a Maker’s Mark old fashioned for less than that. One of the local favorites is the six dollar martini (the price of a draft beer downtown). If that says anything about the place.
Do as the Locals Do at The Water Tank
The Water Tank consistently hosts karaoke competitions where locals cheer each other on. The atmosphere is friendly and Cheers-like. This is a place where everybody knows your name, no matter how poorly you sing that Alanis Morissette song.
This bar has more to offer than Wednesday night karaoke crooners, though. Every night, the staff updates the chalkboard with the names of upcoming live musicians who will be visiting to play the bar’s back stage. The musicians are mostly local because the vibe at The Water Tank is local. The back stage is the type of venue that your buddy would set up in his backyard if he had the cash.
The standard huge TVs, pool tables, dartboard, and half-price burgers round out what The Water Tank offers the northwest Austin community.
7309 McNeil Dr. – Website
@DustyVegas wants to know:
What is your regular neighborhood bar in Austin?