As much as you might enjoy gathering your crew for dinner, let’s be honest - it’s stressful planning a solid girls night out (that almost nobody can commit to anyway). So to make things easier, we’ve narrowed down our favorite places for the occasion. Armed with one of these plans, we can almost guarantee everyone will show up, and no one will complain. Almost.
Getting together to celebrate a birthday or a promotion (or just Thursday night, because you can)? Most popular between the hours of 5 and 6:30PM for a surprisingly affordable “social hour” (during which there’s a selection of sake and sushi bites all for under $7), Uchiko is where you want to be for a fancy-ish night out. You’re obviously coming here for sushi, but if there’s a picky eater amongst you, there are plenty of not-raw-fish options as well. Also, tell your friend to live a little.
Bread, cheese, and wine: the three food groups of Girls Night Out. With a modern feel and really fresh ingredients (that somehow make you feel a lot better about sticking your face in a giant bowl of pasta), you and your friends are bound to become regulars here if you aren’t already.
Does your crew fall somewhere in between medium and “I only eat white foods” levels of maintenance? This big, bright, airy space already has girls night written all over it, and the menu should help things go smoothly as well. It’s split up into sections ranging from “leaves & roots” to “hooves,” so the vegetarians, pescatarians, and red-meat-eating people can all easily find their respective happy places. Gather the troops on a Monday for half off all wines, or come during the weekend for excellent cocktails and bites to start out your night out.
Sure, you want to get everyone together because you enjoy seeing their faces. But there’s also the perk of a real throw-down meal, especially at a place like Sway - where family style is how you do this Thai menu right. Your ideal setup is to snag one of the giant communal-style tables - but if don’t need the entire thing you’ll probably end up making friends with your tablemates anyway. Get there early, as they don’t take reservations and this place is never not busy.
You’ll come to The Grove for its warm, welcoming interior (or if it’s not too hot, its big light-covered patio), but you’ll stay for the never-ending wine list. Our move here is always wine flights, aka the next-best thing to a weekend in Napa. You’re going to need some carbs to soak up all that Pinot - order the bruschetta in multiples.
Some nights, girls’ night out requires “something light.” Other times, girls’ night requires comfort food, and for those times, we advise Fixe and stretchy pants. Despite the self-control you’re going to try to have, you will start with a basket of biscuits. A few of you may even attempt to split the fried chicken, but fighting over who gets the last wing never ends well - so just order a few. You wore comfy pants for a reason, go ahead and embrace it.
Been a rough week? You can already sense people trying to bail on your girls night plan in favor of a night in front of Netflix. But here’s the better idea: go somewhere just as relaxing, with much better food than pizza delivery. Jacoby’s might be a bit farther east, but the drive is worth it for the vibe that makes you feel like you might be on a farm. The backyard picnic tables are where you want to be for a laid-back meal revolving around Southern comfort food. Get a chicken fried steak for the table and be grateful you live in a state where that is possible.
It’s 5pm on a Tuesday, you look at your phone, and you have 37 unread messages on your group chat. Everyone wants to do something, but no one can decide where to go. Be the hero and direct everyone to Parlor and Yard. With a slightly upscale take on your typical bar food and an upbeat patio, this place is just right for a casual, last-minute get-together.
Looking to mix things up? Feeling like if you see one more fancy toast-covered menu you might scream? Wu Chow is here for you with its modern take on authentic, fresh Chinese food. Being the only place of its kind in Austin, it’s a tough spot to get into without a reservation, so definitely plan ahead. This is the kind of place where you’ll want to order as a group so you can sample everything (don’t miss the soup dumplings) - and if the conversation turns awkward when someone brings up that night Courtney got a little too drunk, you can always change the subject by talking about the food instead.
Not in the mood to take on the madness downtown? Thai-Kun’s new space is a solid choice for a night out up north. You’re going to want to go heavy on the appetizers (they’re the best part of the menu), but definitely save room for the crab fried rice. Thanks to its Rock Rose location, you have the option to continue the night at one of the many new bar spots if you haven’t gotten sick of each other yet.
Somehow, it always seems to be happy hour at this reliable sushi spot (it’s actually Monday-Friday 3pm -close, Sat/Sun 5-close), which makes it perfect for a group of hungry people also trying to not spend a ton of money. Also, this place makes a killer Sake White Cheddar Mac and Cheese. We have no idea what Sake actually has to do with it, but you should order it.
Want to feel like you’re in the middle of one of those travel Instagrams you’re fairly certain is not actually a real place, and was just staged for the perfect photo? Welcome to Josephine House. Everything about this place is perfect, starting with its insanely adorable craftsman house location to the striped straws they put in all their cocktails. The food and service are also both excellent - we’re never not excited about a night on the patio here that should always start out with their house-made bread and cheese plate. As an added bonus for anyone trying to be kind of healthy (aka everyone), many of their dishes are fairly light.
Is Launderette the most girls’ night-approved spot on the East Side? That would be a hard yes. Whether you’re just here to share a few small things and cocktails on the patio or doing a full-on dinner, it never disappoints. The residential location makes it ideal for a lower-key night, but don’t let it’s removed location fool you - there is usually a wait. Get there early or make sure to invite your roster because unless you have seven or more they won’t accept reservations.
Austin has no shortage of patio scenes, but Justine’s might just be the best. The crowd here is always in a good mood, which makes this spot ideal if your girls’ night ambitions involve possibly meeting new people too. Plus, with the high probability you’ll be eating escargot, Justine’s is great when you’re in the mood for something different than just your usual downtown/6th street routine.
God bless Texas. But also, god bless places that feel like we’re on vacation from Texas. Like Perla’s, which is as close to a night in the Hamptons as you’ll get - while still enjoying the perks of being on South Congress. Come here for excellent fish, excellent cocktails, and excellent people-watching.