Guides

Nightlife & Entertainment in Austin

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‘Keep Austin Weird’ is the Texas capital’s unofficial motto, and the city revels in its countercultural credentials. As such, you’ll find all the staples of hipster culture in abundance, such as grungy dive bars, artfully disheveled cafés, and cutting-edge galleries and arthouse cinemas. But there are also thumping dance clubs and elegant cocktail bars aplenty, so whatever your idea of a great night out may be, you’ll find it here.

 

Dive bars

 

Austin’s dive bar scene is legendary. The city is awash with dimly-lit, atmospheric joints serving up cheap, strong drinks, lip-smacking food, and very loud music – a tried-and-tested formula for a great night out, if ever there was one.

 

Ego's

 

This hidden gem of a basement bar is a little tricky to find, but well worth the effort. Drinks are strong, which is just as well, as you’ll most likely want to knock back a few before taking to the brightly-lit karaoke stage that serves as its main focal point.

 

510 S Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78704. Tel: +1 512 474 7091

 

Lala’s

 

It’s Christmas all year round at this delightfully eccentric retro-themed bar. Its jukebox is packed with old school festive favorites, fairy lights twinkle in the shadows, and the fantastically friendly staff whip up mean classic cocktails for a crowd of quirky regulars and happily bemused visitors.

 

2207 Justin Lane, Austin TX 78757. Tel: +1 512 453 2521

 

Nightclubs

 

The city isn’t just about scruffy basement bars and bottled beer. There’s also an array of altogether more refined nightspots, where you can quaff cocktails with well-heeled locals, and get your groove on to sounds spun by top international DJs.
Kingdom

 

Located in the heart of Downtown, Kingdom is a strong contender for Austin’s premier dance club. Boasting a state-of-the-art sound system and a stylish, minimalist interior, it regularly plays host to some of the biggest names in house, trance, techno, and EDM.

 

103 E 5th Street, Austin TX 78701. Tel: +1 512 653 2546

 

Kingdom website

 

 

Lanai

 

This elegant rooftop terrace club is where glamorous Austinites come to strut their stuff and be seen. Dancing to world-famous DJs under an open sky, with incredible panoramic views of the cities below, makes for an unforgettable night out.

 

422 Congress Avenue, Austin TX 78701. Tel: +1 512 479 6600

 

Lanai website

 

Cinemas

 

The world-famous Austin Film Festival is just one highlight in a diverse calendar of incredible movie events – throughout the year there are festivals devoted to everything from Latin American to LGBT cinema, and there's a good range of theaters to kick back and take in blockbusters and indies alike.

 

Alamo Drafthouse

 

Alamo Drafthouse was the brainchild of local film fanatics, and even though it's long since expanded and shows all the biggest Hollywood movies, it's still a mecca for serious lovers of the art form. Its South Lamar branch is one of the best, being decked out with movie memorabilia, and boasting several screens and even its very own karaoke lounge.

 

1120 S Lamar Blvd Austin, TX 78704 . Tel: +1 512 861 7040

 

Alamo Drafthouse website

 

Retro fun

 

Aficionados of old school Americana will be in their element in Austin. If you’re looking for alternatives to the standard bars and clubs, you can enjoy a nostalgic evening at a drive-in movie theater, authentic bowling alley, retro video arcade, or even a late-night mini-golf course.Pinballz Arcade

 

This cavernous temple of classic gaming boasts over 100 beautifully-preserved classic pinball tables, and more than 200 arcade games from across the years. Every Friday and Saturday evening, this family-friendly attraction transforms into a lively adults-only night spot, with a generous bring your own booze policy and a 2am closing time.

 

8940 Research Blvd, Austin TX 78758. Tel: +1 512 420 8458

 

Pinballz Arcade website