When my fellow Babe and I spotted a cheap flight to Austin, Texas, we bought it and forgot about it. As November—and our flight—neared, we had no real agenda for our trip, so we turned it into a whiskey tour. What better way to travel?
Since we didn’t rent a car, we weren’t able to make it to Garrison Brothers Distillery, which is about an hour out of town. But, this spot was highly recommended to us by many, so add it to your list if you find yourself in ATX.
You may miss it at first, but follow the “Cocktails” sign to the lower level of this parking garage and enter into Garage Bar, a concrete oasis if there ever was one.
While underground, we tried some more Texas whiskey. This time Balcones Baby Blue.
While we are on the topic of nondescript entrances: Tucked away on the bustly and otherwise-bro-y 6th Street, you might miss Midnight Cowboy. But make sure you don’t by booking yourself a reservation and ringing the bell for Harry Craddock. Order a stirred cocktail and the bartender will wheel a bar cart over and make your drink table-side.
The Grackle and its whiskey wall are not to be missed. Located in East Austin, this bar is a haunt for industry folks. In fact, we ran into our bartender from Midnight Cowboy while we were there.
The Roosevelt Room has a cocktail menu that spans the decades, literally. You can pick from The Early Years (pre-1880), Turn of the Century (1880–1919), Prohibition (1920–1933), Post-Volstead (1933–1950s), Tiki (1950s–1970s), The Dark Ages (1950s–1990s) [Ed. note: lollll], and Modern Classics (2000s–Present). But, don’t worry, they have regular whiskey too.
In addition to their stellar cocktails and whiskey selection (which is set against the backdrop of a sliding-ladder bar) Péché offers delicious food. Not usually an adventurous meat eater, I tried rabbit, boar, duck, octopus, and mussels and they were all divine. Check out this spread.
We’ll cheers to that.
There’s often a wait at Odd Duck, but never fear: Their brunch cocktail menu will tide you over until you are seated.
NON-BOOZY BOURBON EXPERIENCES
Austin is known for their hot sauce, but we stumbled upon this Kentucky brand in the Tears of Joy Hot Sauce Shop.
Be sure to poke into Uncommon Objects to peruse all sorts of tchotchkes, including a lot of old school whiskey memorabilia.
- Via 313 Pizza: What can I say? We were in Austin for five days and ate here three times. If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.
- Street Art: Rad murals and other street art abound in Austin. Stroll around at your leisure and see what you stumble upon.
NOT PICTURED, BUT WORTH VISITING
- Firehouse Hostel: Slide the secret bookshelf door and enter into a cozy, hidden bar
- Small Victory: Yet another parking garage bar, though this one with less of a “garage” feel. Head up the nondescript staircase and find your urban sanctuary.
Travel Like a Babe is a series focusing on whiskey travel tips for destinations around the globe.
Been to any of these spots? Have somewhere we need to check out next time we’re in town? Let us know in the comments.