Austin is abuzz with fabulous new bars. To toast the end of the year, we've rounded up 14 of the best new bars of 2016, from swanky lounges to funky dives.
Ah Sing Den
East Side Show Room owners Trudy and Mickie Spencer shuttered the East Austin favorite this summer, replacing it with Ah Sing Den in August. The new bar offers a mix of unique and classic cocktails alongside beer, wine, sake, and an Asian-influenced food lineup.
Backbeat is a laid-back lounge from drink.well. owners Jessica and Michael Sanders. In addition to cocktails, the hangout offers a curated wine list, craft beer on draft, and a unique champagne program highlighting different producers. These can be enjoyed inside an intimate Jamie Chioco-designed space or on the stunning rooftop patio with views of South Lamar Boulevard.
Boiler Nine Bar + Grill
This massive four-story bar and restaurant at the Seaholm development features three unique concepts and a beverage program helmed by expert barman Jason Stevens. Expect boozy, old-school drinks in underground tavern the Boiler Room and pick-your-booze cocktails on Deck Nine, the rooftop patio.
The star of Cedar Tavern, the classy bar inside newcomer Eberly on South Lamar Boulevard, is the legendary mahogany bar straight from the historic Cedar Tavern in New York City. The drinks, curated by Kelon Bryant, focus on craft cocktails and beer to go along with a menu of elevated bar food.
This sexy little number on Webberville Road broke the east side dive bar mold when it opened with refreshing cocktails, funky 1970s vibes, and a gorgeous patio and pool. In addition to beer, wine, and sake, the beverage program includes sweet concoctions designed to be sipped throughout the day. Standouts are the citrusy, gin-based Key Party and the Roman Holiday wine spritzer.
The Little Darlin'
The Little Darlin' could be your new favorite South Austin dive. The bar has a small but solid selection of local craft beers on tap, and the frozen margaritas are a big hit among regulars. You'll find a large lawn with picnic bench seating, yard games, and comfortable vibes.
Underneath Buenos Aires Cafe on East Sixth Street is Milonga Room, a sultry speakeasy specializing in Argentinean wines and tapas. A cocktail selection relies heavily on bitters and Fernet, both popular in the home country. Reservations — with accompanying passwords — are highly recommended.
Perhaps the most buzzed about opening of the year, Moloko is A Clockwork Orange-themed dive bar on the east side. The bar's name refers to the blend of milk and designer drugs served to characters in the book and Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film adaptation. While there won't be any illicit substances on tap at Moloko, patrons can enjoy craft cocktails and other adult beverages.
Parlor & Yard
Parlor & Yard, a "Sinatra-esque" sports and game lounge, took over the former Arro space on West Sixth early this year. Classic cocktails and a small selection of beers on tap are complemented by bar bites and brunch offerings. Our favorite part? The old-school games scattered around the space.
A drink-and-dessert destination, Prohibition Creamery on East Seventh Street serves cocktails, wine, beer, and alcoholic ice cream. Boozy desserts are available in sorbet, shake, and float form, with plenty of alternatives for those who prefer dairy- or alcohol-free sweets.
Revelry Kitchen + Bar
This new bar/restaurant combo on the east side features a shaded front patio and a large space with fun yard games. The beverage program features craft cocktails alongside canned and bottled brews and a rotating wine selection. A second Revelry location on North Lamar Boulevard is slated to open next spring.
Rusty Cannon Pub
Chill out with some burgers and beers and catch the game on one of the many televisions that Rusty Cannon has to offer. This Texas pub on Stassney Lane delivers on its promise of a good time with delicious food, an awesome beer lineup, and fun bar games.
This swanky cocktail space from the team behind Rainey Street hot spot Icenhauer's just opened in the Warehouse District. The atmosphere and the drinks take inspiration from the '70s, which means funky designs and craft cocktails named after iconic films of the decade.
Tucked away downtown, this cozy hangout is a mixture of dark accents and bright Tiffany lamps. Bar veteran Josh Loving's interesting selection of beer and wine is topped only by the cocktail list, which reads as an instruction manual to some of your favorite craft drinks.