Spring is in the air, and that means it’s time to get out in that Austin sunshine and enjoy the nice weather. It will be hot soon enough. Sometimes, though, you don’t just want to hang around your neighborhood. For those times when you have the urge to go out and about, make sure you’re heading straight for a patio. Here are 13 of the best in town.
Bar, Craft Ale Bar, Pub Grub, Street Food, $$$
Housed in a refurbished bungalow in the heart of East Austin, Craftsman is a neighborhood bar with a cozy interior and a wraparound porch ideal for meeting with friends or saying hello to the neighbors after work. Although the front yard is nothing to write home about, walking through the stained-glass door to a sumptuous interior filled with craft drinks and brews from Texas and beyond is pretty great. The backyard, however, is the real attraction. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Craftsman opens its Tiki Bar and the Alley Cat food truck, so patrons can enjoy Hawaiian soul food.
Mozart's Coffee Roasters
Cafe, American, $$$
The view alone makes Mozart’s Coffee worthy of an Instagram photo shoot. With an expansive double-decker deck that leans out over the lake, it’s one of the best places in Austin to relax and live the lake life. And though the interior is often underrated, you’re immediately met with a clear glass display of its desserts, scattered brick and a wall of windows. But it doesn’t stop at aesthetics. Mozart’s roasts its coffee in-house, creating a truly unique taste, and the ambiance will make you feel like you’re on vacation in a remote destination where you can enjoy a coffee and pastry waterside.
Bar, Restaurant, Wine Bar, American, $$$
Dining at Mattie’s (formerly Green Pastures) in Austin is almost like stepping back in time. Built in the late 19th century, the Victorian home was transformed into a restaurant and wedding venue over 60 years ago and has been operating as such ever since. Guests can choose to dine in a number of different sections of the estate, including a family dining room, a music room, an upstairs wine bar and a wraparound sun porch. The grounds, however, are what make this place spectacular. While strolling the manicured grounds outside, one may encounter a peacock lazily strutting about their territory. At Mattie’s, time seems to move slower than usual, bringing the notion of relaxation back to dinner, so nibble on a toasted brie sandwich with a glass of champagne and take it all in.
The Oasis on Lake Travis
Restaurant, Mexican, American, $$$
The Oasis on Lake Travis, a multilevel restaurant, is a lovely way to relish a drink while taking in the picturesque surrounds as nearly all seating provides customers with great scenes of the lake. The most popular time to enjoy a meal is during sunset when the scenery proves to be the most beautiful; therefore, you can spend the day swimming or boating on the lake before heading over to The Oasis to enjoy the sunset and a margarita. While there’s typically a lengthy wait for sunset dining, don’t be afraid to visit during other times of the day because the view is bound to be spectacular at any time.
Brasserie, French, $$$
Justine’s Brasserie is a one-stop shop for both great wine and a great atmosphere. Stationed in an antique house in East Austin, Justine’s offers the perfect environment for sampling one of its 45 listed wines. The owner also has an impressive vinyl record collection to match. Grab a glass of Domaine de Fontsainte and relax under the outdoor string lights while listening to the best in vinyl. While you’re there, wander around the yard and see what’s going on. Often there is a market in the back where you can shop while you sip your wine.
Bakery, Cafe, Pub Grub, German, American, $$$
After spending the day in downtown Austin, Easy Tiger is a great place to relax and kick back. This hip cafe is part bakery and part beer garden, and allows you the chance to enjoy some food and drink next to a gorgeous creek. Whether you need a cup of locally roasted coffee and some homemade bread or a local brew and board of cheese and sausage, Easy Tiger has you covered. Its snacks will keep you going, no matter what you need. Oh, and there’s also several ping-pong tables if you feel more like playing than chatting.
Perla’s Seafood and Oyster Bar
Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
Courtesy of McGuire Moorman Hospitality
With fresh fish and oysters flown in daily from the coasts, an expansive drink list with coastal cocktails and a laid-back atmosphere, it is no wonder that Perla’s is a seafood favorite in Austin. Centrally located on South Congress, Perla’s offers some of the best oysters in town. Enjoy a dish of grilled octopus and papas bravas while sitting outside on the prettiest oak-shaded patio in the area. With a menu that changes daily, it’s nearly impossible to not return to Perla’s again and again.
Bar, Cafe, Pub Grub, Tapas, $$$
Spider House is the coolest place for specialty cocktails and live music. The outside patio bar is complete with a garden and table tops for hanging out. The furniture is vintage, and at night, the place lights up with sparkly Christmas lights. It also holds events, film-screenings and rents the space out for private parties.
Yellow Jacket Social Club
Bar, Gastropub, American, $$$
The thing that makes the Yellow Jacket stand out from other bars in the area is that it’s a popular hangout during all hours of the day. The social club is especially bustling during weekend brunch, where visitors are known to enjoy frittata, French toast, mimosas and Bloody Marys. The patio is very inviting: you’re surrounded by bamboo while twinkle lights are strewn between the languishing branches of the hovering trees. Though this has a classic vibe to it, other parts of Yellow Jacket are a little edgier; the bathrooms are known for their funky graffiti. If you’re searching for good food, good prices and good drinks, the Yellow Jacket Social Club is definitely a must-visit.
Rules & Regs
Bar, Tapas, Contemporary, $$$
Brand-new and waiting for you to try it out is Rules & Regs. Located on the seventh floor of the super-luxe Fairmont Austin hotel, the view alone is worth the journey. Of course, the cocktails are top notch, but be careful when you start drinking. The bar food is on the lighter side, so drink at a reasonable pace, since you’re on a rooftop and all. Of course, if the booze really gets flowing you can still order a cheeseburger to keep yourself grounded.
Gastropub, Pub, Pub Grub, American, $$$
Technically ABGB stands for Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co., but locals just call it the ABGB. This South Austin staple is known for its two-stepping, live music and outdoor space. Whether you’re just wanting to relax in the shade and play some cornhole or you want to cut a rug after a few beers, at the ABGB you can do it all. Plus, you can bring the whole family and the dog. Everyone is welcome. Just be sure to be prepared to search for parking.