Slideshow: Where Bartenders Drink in Austin, Texas

Jason Stevens of Bar Congress
Jason Stevens of Bar Congress
The place in Austin I find myself drinking at after work is East Side Show Room. ESSR has an incredible cocktail program, expertly executed food, and incredible decor, but that's not why I go there. I go for the people that work and frequent there. After work I tend to be anti-social for an hour or so, I like a bit of time to think about the day and new projects, and I always find that I can go in to ESSR alone and never feel awkward about it. I can sit at that beautiful bar, chat with the awesome bartenders, servers, kitchen staff, and managers, and drink whatever new rum or amaro they have followed by a local draft beer. It's my own personal Cheers.

1100 East 6th Street, Austin, TX (map) 512-467-4280

Steven Robbins of Midnight Cowboy
Steven Robbins of Midnight Cowboy

I'm a fan of Weather Up. I like the set up; the patio reminds me of being in the South where we'd sit outside and drink a lot. It's a great thing that they know how to make a proper drink.

1808 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX 78702 (map)

Oh, and Fino. So many people think of their hummus but the fact that they have 1 dollar sherries and a great paella at happy hour is awesome.

2905 San Gabriel Street Austin, TX 78705 (map) 512-474-2905; finoaustin.com

I like Workhorse too—I like the fact that they have beer knowledge. When I want a shot of whiskey and a beer, they execute that well.

100 N Loop Boulevard East, Austin, TX (map) 512-323-5700; workhorsebar.com

Julianna Fry of The Tigress Pub
Julianna Fry of The Tigress Pub

My go-to would be East Side Showroom because the bartenders there are passionate and super creative. (I do wait tables there one night a week but don't call me biased!) They make gorgeous drinks. They're always working on something new to push new boundaries and that's encouraging to me as a bartender.

1100 East 6th Street, Austin, TX (map) 512-467-4280; eastsideshowroom.com

But Bar Congress is my favorite bar in town. It has an urban feel, kind of like if I went to a hole in the wall in New York. Jason Stevens is like the the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain. He always has something new to show me that I wouldn't have thought of.

200 Congress Avenue, Austin, TX (map) 512-827-2760; congressaustin.com/bar-congress

Bar Fly's is the best dive bar around. I only order beer there. Lone Star, Lone Star, Lone Star. It's a great hangout.

5420 Airport Boulevard, Austin, TX (map) 512-452-6455; barflysaustin.com

And Lala's because it's always Christmas there. I can't help but love that place.

2207 Justin Lane, Austin, TX (map) 512-453-2521

Houston Eaves of Contigo
Houston Eaves of Contigo

I love coffee, so I spend a lot of time at Houndstooth. I had their Coffee Julep for the first time last week and it was pretty tasty. I'm more of a pour over coffee guy. When I lived in Costa Rica, I got into the coffee culture.

4200 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX (map) 512-531-9417; houndstoothcoffee.com

I like the Grackle for their selection of beers and spirits. I drink just about anything. Most of the time I want to try something new so this is a good place for that.

1700 East 6th Street, Austin, TX (map) 512-520-8148

If I really want to enjoy a cocktail I'd go to Midnight Cowboy. I like that I can walk in the door and feel a sense of decompression. It's nice to have a place where I can have a conversation.

313 E. 6th Street, Austin, TX (map) 512-843-2715; midnightcowboymodeling.com

Nate Wales of La Condesa
Nate Wales of La Condesa

I go to Bar Congress because they're awesome and it's close to work. I sometimes get in a Negroni mood and I know it'll be great there. I love their house gin and tonic too.

200 Congress Avenue, Austin, TX (map) 512-827-2760; congressaustin.com/bar-congress

The Ginger Man is my place for beer. They have a huge beer selection and I can get a shandy on hot day or a porter on cold day.

301 Lavaca Street, Austin, TX (map) 512-473-8801; aus.gingermanpub.com

I have to plan ahead for cocktail days. I get excited and can drink one too many. I like that Peché puts an emphasis on classic cocktails. Cedar Street used to be loud and dirty but Rob Pate had the foresight to do a classic cocktail bar there. It took time for people to get comfortable with that. When I'm there, I let the bartender choose or tell them my mood and let them run with it.

208 West 4th Street, Austin, TX (map) 512-494-4011; pecheaustin.com

Amber Billiard of Drink. Well.
Amber Billiard of Drink. Well.

I don't drink out often but I love Contigo's brunch on Sunday. They have a killer Bloody Mary and amazing pastries. The Bitter Myle made with gin, Campari, Velvet Falernum, and grapefruit is also a great apéritif to get my stomach going.

2027 Anchor Lane, Austin, TX (map) 512-614-2260; contigotexas.com/austin

Of course, I love The Tigress Pub because they're in our North Loop family. It feels like home there. The bartenders make us comfortable and are very welcoming. Order the Moulin Rose (absinthe, maraschino, watermelon, lime).

100 West North Loop Boulevard, Austin, TX 78751 (map) 512-600-3232; thetigresspub.com