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Royale 75 at Green Light Social
Photograph: Courtesy Green Light Social

The best rooftop bars in Austin

Take in stunning views and enjoy a stiff drink at one of the best rooftop bars in Austin

By Lori A May and Kelly Stocker

Locals will tell you that they love Austin's rooftop views and tasty brews equally. And there's no shortage of either in Bat City. After all, soaking up the sun on a breezy deck is one of the best outdoor activities in Austin. But you’ll also find cozy firepits and swing seating to enjoy while the sun sets and day turns to nightlife. To help you find the perfect sipping spot, we’ve rounded up our favorite rooftop bars in Austin with a view that also boast thirst-quenching cocktails and a variety of vibes to suit your mood. From happy hours to late night dance offs, you’ll find it hopping around Austin’s best rooftop bars.

RECOMMENDED: THe best bars in Austin

Best rooftop bars in Austin

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Techo Mezcaleria & Agave Bar

1. Techo

Bars Blackland

Located above the iconic Mi Madre’s, this intimate bar focuses on mezcal while also serving agave- and beer-based cocktails. Slide up to the bar for a guided mezcal tasting; After, be sure to order their frozen margarita with a homemade chili salted rim for the ultimate flavor combo. The casual space is sprinkled with specialty commissioned art from Mexico and touches like scalloped metal chairs and succulents. If you find yourself waiting for a table, grab a taco downstairs.

Upstairs at Caroline
Photograph: Courtesy Upstairs at Caroline

2. Upstairs at Caroline

Restaurants Cafés Congress Ave District

The vibrant décor at Caroline’s outdoor deck is perfect for sunny days lounging with friends. There’s also a serious happy hour menu with $2 tacos on Tuesdays and budget beverages all week. Try a signature sangria or key lime fizz. Caroline’s rooftop is casual chic with fun games like shuffleboard, cornhole and checkers. 

Westin Austin
Photograph: Courtesy Westin Austin

3. Azul

Bars Hotel bars Greater Austin

Enjoy drinks with a view at Azul, the pool and bar located on the roof of the Westin Austin Downtown with one of the best views in the city. Sip on raspberry frosé lounging in your private cabana or go for happy hour cocktails alongside the shallow pool. Azul is open to the public Sunday through Thursday from 1–10pm and Friday and Saturday from 1pm to midnight.

El Alma
Photograph: Courtesy El Alma

4. El Alma

Restaurants Mexican Bouldin

Head to El Alma’s rooftop and you’ll feel isolated from the rest of the town in the best way possible. White stucco and giant umbrellas adorn the space, which is a popular happy hour destination every day of the week. Just order one of the very creative margaritas—like the Flaquita, made with watermelon purée—to understand why. Or kick back on the weekend combining a brunch drink special with an avocado and fried egg torta.

Photograph: Courtesy Handlebar

5. HandleBar

Bars Greater Austin

HandleBar considers itself an adult playground, so you’re in for a fun time at this wacky wonderland home to mustache-themed cocktails. Breeze through the cramped shotgun-style bar downstairs and head directly upstairs to the rooftop patio (featuring much more elbow room). A giant Jenga game, two bars and metal horse seesaws all lend themselves to top photo ops.

Willie's Cup at Geraldine's
Photograph: Courtesy Geraldine's/Richard Casteel

6. Geraldine's

Restaurants Town Lake

Geraldine’s is located midway up the Van Zandt hotel; named after a late, great guinea fowl that used to roam Rainey Street, this upscale bar and restaurant is anything but provincial. The rooftop bar serves the same swanky cocktails as the inside bar, but alongside a beautiful pool. Grab a cocktail, take a sip and go for a dip—don’t miss the Layover made with Waterloo no. 9 gin, crème de violette, luxardo maraschino and lemon juice.

Rules and Regs
Photograph: Courtesy Fairmont Austin

7. Rules and Regs

Bars Hotel bars Convention Center District

Take an elevator ride up to the seventh floor of the Fairmont Austin and you’ll find yourself at Rules and Regs, a sleek cocktail bar that spills out onto a patio offering stunning views of the Austin skyline. Well-balanced cocktails populate the menu, which you can sip on while lounging on the deck or at the moody indoor bar. The adjacent pool will have you longing for a dip—but be warned, it’s just for guests.

77 Degrees Rooftop
Photograph: Courtesy 77 Degrees

8. 77 Degrees

Restaurants Tapas North Burnet

Catch a breeze in swing seats or settle into modern lounge chairs at this relaxed triple decker rooftop bar. Nibble on tacos or pineapple poppers while sampling signature cocktails like the Ruby Slipper—a satisfying mix of Bombay Gin, Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka, blood orange, lime and agave. This hookah friendly lounge occasionally features fire dancers during hot summer nights.

Royale 75 at Green Light Social
Photograph: Courtesy Green Light Social

9. Green Light Social

Bars Market District

Located in the west Sixth street district, Green Light Social boasts a large interior and an adjoining rooftop deck overlooking the street. The bar carries local craft beers and liquors in addition to offering a creative cocktail menu that includes an interesting twist on a childhood lunchbox favorite. A cozy but modern vibe and a regular DJ make this a must-visit spot on weekend nights.

Hangar Lounge
Photograph: Courtesy Hangar Lounge

10. Hangar Lounge

Bars Warehouse District

This flight-lounge themed bar in the Warehouse District caters to a mod clientele, and clusters of cute 1950s-style deck furniture make this an ideal date spot. The full bar carries spirits, beers, wines and a small-ish bites menu consisting of mostly paninis and snacks. Weekends can be pretty busy—especially on DJ nights—and Sunday is especially popular.

Speakeasy, Terrace 59
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Fickr/dianaconnolly101

11. Terrace 59 at Speakeasy

Nightlife Clubs Warehouse District

This bar, smack in the middle of downtown, is comprised of four distinct sections: the live music stage area that hosts a variety of bands, the swanky lounge area, the mezzanine (with a bowling alley) and the upstairs bar Terrace59. The rooftop is a lovely place to get a drink on a cool night. The cushioned patio furniture, bottle service and DJ nights are eerily reminiscent of Miami—which we certainly don’t mind.

12. Summit Rooftop Lounge

Nightlife Downtown

This rooftop nightclub focuses on the late night dance crowd Fridays and Saturdays. Doors open around 10pm and there may be a line, but the party atmosphere and guest DJs make it worth your patience. The drink menu is fairly standard and somewhat overpriced, but the draw at Summit is the energetic vibe as a place to see and be seen.

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