The best bars in Austin when you’re laying off the booze
As a town known for loving its libations (perhaps a little too much), it can be hard to go anywhere in Austin without drinking being a focal point of the experience. So, where does one turn when laying off the booze? We’ve rounded up nine different “bars” where you can have a great time with company or alone, sans the alcohol.
SquareRut Kava Bar
With a location in North Austin and recent move from South Congress Avenue to Barton Springs Road, SquareRut will get you buzzed without the booze. For those unfamiliar, kava is a magical Polynesian root that is most commonly served in the form of a murky brown drink (sounds delish, right?), but is also made into candies and chocolates. Kava is an acquired taste, and contains sedative and anti-anxiety properties, and is also said to promote relaxation, mental clarity, and sociability while reducing depression and stress. At SquareRut, you can enjoy a cup and let its effects take hold while playing a game of Scrabble, reading a book at the bar, or catching up with friends. SqaureRut also serves tea and coffee if you’re not into kava.
Pacha Organic Café
One of our favorite coffeehouses in all of Austin, Pacha is a Burnet Road neighborhood staple. The much talked about pancakes are a must-try menu item, but you can also grab nutritious lunch offerings like the beet and goat cheese sandwich or quinoa and veggie salad. Sip a craft coffee on the shaded patios in front or back, or saddle up at one of the colorful indoor tables with a freshly blended smoothie.
Get a workout high at this premier fitness bar. Pure Barre has four Austin-area locations with convenient classes throughout the week. Each full-body workout is 55 minutes with similar mental benefits to yoga and meditation. Even though barre is low impact, make sure to talk with your instructor prior to class about any injuries or tightness so they can cater the moves to your specific body.
A bar that does the body good, JuiceLand serves smoothies, cold-pressed juices, and build-your-own drinks. Our favorite juices include the Ninja Bachelor Party with pineapple, celery, kale, spinach, and jalapeño and the Moderator with apple, lemon, beet, and ginger. JuiceLand also makes cleanse packages for anyone who wants to detox and reset.
This walk-up bar on Congress Avenue next to JW Marriott supports local Texas farms, ranchers, and creameries and serves one of the best bangs for your buck in the city’s cheeseburger game. At only $6.25, the Big Mouth Burger is a massive double beef patty topped with blistered peppers, candied jalapeños, bacon, and cheddar cheese. Wash it down with an Oreo shake and enjoy your meal at one of Burger Bar’s stand-up tables for prime digestion.
This adorable teahouse on the east side is a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can knock out a bit of work with the shop’s free Wi-Fi or grab a magazine for some leisurely reading. Zhi offers full table service for pots of tea and light snacks like cheese and hummus platters, salads, and fresh-baked pastries from East Austin’s Luxe Sweets. There’s also a dog-friendly patio.
Yahala Hookah Lounge
Airport Boulevard's laid-back gem is made for fans of the hookah. The Mediterranean-style setting of Yahala transports you far from Austin with cozy nooks that will make you want to stay awhile. With myriad hookah flavors like coconut, mint, cappuccino, and strawberry, Yahala also creates its own blends you won’t find anywhere else. To pass the time, throw some bones with dominoes or put on your thinking cap for a chess match.
Blo Blow Dry Bar
Visit this bar to pamper and glamorize. You can walk in or make an appointment online at one of Blo’s three Austin-area locations. While there is no cutting or coloring conducted at this bar, Blo has a wide variety of hair services including blowouts, extensions, up dos, and braiding. The franchise also offers waxing, nail, and makeup services.
Clear your mind at Austin’s latest craze, Meditation Bar. With guided group classes that focus on breath, intention, and focus, this is the perfect introduction to the practice. Signature classes incorporate aromatherapy, fundamentals, mantras, and movement to explore the benefits and traditions of meditation. Opened in late 2015, Meditation Bar also supplies a “happy hour” class, which incorporates breath work, visual techniques, and body scanning “that will leave you feeling happier … without the hangover.”