One of the best outdoor activities in Austin involves drinking—just take a look around on a sunny day and you'll find plenty of people enjoying cocktails on Austin's best rooftop bars. To help you find the perfect sipping spot, we've rounded up our favorite bars with a view that boast thirst-quenching cocktails and al fresco drinking almost every night of the week. Because although visiting the best dive bars in Austin or hitting up the city's top comedy clubs might turn into a memorable night, there's something to be said about the breeze ruffling your hair while sipping on a martini outdoors. Cheers, Austin!
Best Austin rooftop bars
Sharing a block with Saxon Pub and Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Backbeat has a menu of cleverly named cocktails, a robust wine list and a gourmet selection of bar snacks. It’s a spot that has a little something for everyone. Sit atop the covered rooftop patio, and enjoy the view of downtown Austin while snacking on a cheese plate and sipping on The Quiet Man (Tullamore Dew, Lustau Oloroso Sherry, Licor 43, Nux Alpina, lemon, Krupnik bitters).
Techo is the only rooftop bar in the Cherrywood area and, though it’s quite small, it packs a punch. Located above the iconic Mi Madre's, the intimate bar heavily (but not exclusively) focuses on mezcal while also serving agave- and beer-based cocktails. The space is littered 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.
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 daily. Just order one of the very creative margaritas—like the Flaquita, made with watermelon purée—to understand why.
Referencing both the full mustache momentum and the ubiquitous bike part, HandleBar became a hit as soon as it opened. Breeze through the cramped shotgun-style downstairs and head directly upstairs to the rooftop patio (featuring much more elbow room). A giant Jenga game, two bars and metal playground horses on springs all lends themselves to top photo ops.
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, albeit alongside a beautiful pool. Grab a cocktail, take a sip and fo for a dip—don’t miss the Aviation made with Sipsmith Gin, luxardo maraschino, lemon and crème de violette.
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 from beverage manager Andrew Grenz populate the menu, which you can sip on while lounging in groups at 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.
Originally the home of Austin’s power plant, the Seaholm area is now a massive mixed use development with restaurants, bars and businesses. Boiler Nine, one of the many eateries in the area, features an incredible Observatory Bar complete with a viewfinder. Head to the basement for a cocktail, eat dinner in the main dining room and proceed to the rooftop bar for a special beverage accompanied by a remarkable view.
Located in the west Sixth street district, Green Light Social boasts a large interior and an adjoining roof 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 throwback childhood favorite. A cozy but modern vibe and a regular DJ make this a must-visit spot on weekend nights.
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 or the unique “The Conquistador,” made with rum and Mexican Coke and chilled with red wine ice cubes. If you’re not lounging in your private cabana, the shallow pool is designed for sunny hangs. Azul is open to the public Mon-Thu from 2 to 11pm, Fri and Sat from 6pm to midnight, and Sun from noon to 11pm.
This casual rooftop patio features wicker chaises with modern white cushions, giant fans and a pretty killer view of downtown. It sits atop a double decker bar that includes a basement and a main lounge. Kick back on the deck and watch the sunset, hobnob with pretty people or bust out your dancing shoes during live music night. Don’t forget to check the venue’s calendar as networking and singles events are often held here.
This flight-lounge themed bar in the Warehouse District caters to a mod clientele, and clusters of cute ’50s-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.
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.