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Austin Nightlife

Broken Spoke
3201 S. Lamar
Austin , Texas
Tel: 512 442 6189

Don't come to the Broken Spoke looking for Kenny Chesney or Shania Twain. This is a gen-u-ine honky-tonk with low ceilings, longnecks, and two-steppers shuffling around the dance floor in tight-fittin' jeans and ten-gallon hats. C&W torchbearers like Bruce Robison, the Derailers, and Dale Watson keep the joint jumping. The restaurant serves burgers, enchiladas, and one of the best chicken-fried steaks in town.

Continental Club
1315 S. Congress Avenue
Austin , Texas
Tel: 512 441 2444

Austin's best live-music venue is also one of its oldest, having opened in 1957. The late, great blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan often unleashed his guitar solos here, and the bands—local mainstays and touring acts alike—are usually rootsy rock. The club exudes retro cool, from the vintage roadsters parked out front to the decked-out couples spinning around the postage-stamp-size dance floor. Every Tuesday, R&B diva Toni Price sings along to a guitarist and fiddle player, as she's done for 15 years.

Driskill Bar
604 Brazos Street
Austin , Texas
Tel: 512 391 7162

This venerable Austin hotel is known for its rooms and its restaurant, but the very best part of it might be the evocative bar, which transports you to the days of the Old West. Everything's done up in cowhide and polished copper, the barmen are genteel, and the crowd is all Texas money. There's live piano music some evenings, and always enough activity to make the place feel lively, even on a weeknight when the rest of downtown Austin's bars are empty. The Scotch selection and small but well-chosen beer list are the highlights drink-wise.

Open Sundays through Thursdays noon to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays noon to 2 am.

Dry Creek Saloon
4812 Mount Bonnell Road
Austin , Texas
Tel: 512 453 9244

A ramshackle dive bar with a million-dollar sunset view. Leaning drunkenly by the side of the road near the top of Mount Bonnell, just west of town, Dry Creek has a rooftop deck that looks out over Lake Austin and the Hill Country. The tables are rickety, the beer is cheap, and the jukebox is always playing Willie or Waylon. It's owned by a cranky old lady who insists if you take a bottle up to the deck you won't get another until you bring the empty down. Don't believe us? Just try her.

Hotel San José Bar
1316 S. Congress Avenue
Austin , Texas
Tel: 512 693 9317

The romantic outdoor garden of this Austin institution is every bit as hip as the hotel itself. It's really only worth it in good weather, when you can sit at the dimly lit tables around the pool, take in the retro vibe of the architecture, and sip from a very basic selection of beer and wine (no liquor is served here). The place closes down fairly early; it's not a party joint, just a great place for a relaxing drink. This is probably the only hotel bar in Austin where you'll find more locals than out-of-towners. So make new friends, then head to the bars along South Congress.

Open Mondays through Thursdays 5 pm to midnight, Fridays through Sundays 3 pm to midnight.

Red River
Red River, between Sixth and Ninth streets
Austin , Texas

An area that was down and out just a few years ago, this three-block strip just north of Sixth now boasts the city's tightest concentration of clubs. Glamorous gals are drawn to the fancy mixed drinks at the Club de Ville lounge; hipster boys are drawn to the gals; everyone loves the setting, a tree-lined patio sitting under a limestone cliff (512-457-0900). Across the street, Stubb's dishes up satisfactory barbecue and doubles as an outdoor venue for up-and-coming touring bands; during South by Southwest, the speakers never seem to get a break (512-480-8341; One more block down, the Red-Eyed Fly gets the punk fans, alterna-chicks, and the bands they love (512-474-1084;

Warehouse District
Austin , Texas

Sixth Street continues to skew younger and bawdier, so festive adults who aren't necessarily in the mood to paaaartay!! are heading to the Warehouse District instead. You can pick your poison from the growing multitude of pubs and restaurants: beer and a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (512-476-1320;; a porterhouse and single-malt scotch at Sullivan's (512-495-6504;; or a top-shelf martini under the stars at Cedar Street Courtyard (512-495-9669; The district starts a block west of Congress Avenue between Third and Sixth streets.

Wink Wine Bar
1014 N. Lamar Boulevard
Austin , Texas
Tel: 512 482 8868

Wink Wine Bar's exterior may not look like much (it's located in a small strip mall), but this darkly lit, sleek wine bar, attached to the perennially packed Wink Restaurant, is a great place to start or end the night—whether you have a reservation at the restaurant or not. There's a consistently impressive list of over 60 reasonably priced wines by the bottle and 50 by the glass, each chosen for its food-friendliness and organized on the menu by flavor rather than by region or varietal, so wine novices can choose with ease. The bar bites are worth a nibble, especially the edamame with sel gris and the mac 'n' cheese with black truffles. But if you're hungry for a larger meal, you can also order from Wink Restaurant's seasonal, locally sourced menu without leaving your comfortable perch.—Carolina Santos-Neves

Open daily 5 pm to midnight.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.