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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And Lala's because it's always Christmas there. I can't help but love that place.
2207 Justin Lane, Austin, TX (map)
Larry Miller of Peché
I like to unwind at Second Bar + Kitchen at Congress Austin because their drink menu is very creative. They're perfectionists like we are here. There's a drink on their menu called The Hard Knox. It has Fernet, maraschino, rye whiskey, and Amaro. Balancing a bitter drink like this isn't easy to do.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Brian Rhoads of Parkside
After work, I usually head to Firehouse. It's close, there are good beers on tap, good bourbons, and good classic drinks. I like that it's quiet and I can enjoy my drink without getting bumped into. The Last Word is my go-to.
Beyond downtown bars, I like Perla's. I like their patio and their specialty cocktail list is great. Plus, their staff is very knowledgeable.