Planning a bachelor party is a balancing act. There will undoubtedly be some strange combination of the groom’s college friends who want to show you they can still out-party you, work friends who vowed they won’t share the most embarrassing moments on the company Slack channel, high school friends who are still telling decade-old inside jokes, and the bride’s brother who has asked one too many times about the strip club agenda.
You need options for the weekend that will impress, entertain, and satisfy this group’s complicated demands. So use our guide to plan an Austin bachelor party that everyone will enjoy - the guy in the linen shirt, the guy in the Space Jam jersey, and even the dude who tends to end up shirtless after three beers.
This is a Texas Hill Country barbecue legend that opened a downtown Austin location exactly for situations like this: you came to Texas with a bunch of other people, you all want “real barbecue,” but you don’t want to drive hours or wait in long lines. Instead, Cooper’s setup involves a fast-moving line where you pick out your favorites from the beef, pork, and chicken options on display. Get a healthy portion of brisket with some burnt ends and don’t spend much time on the sides. Focus on what you came for - the meat sweats.
This place was built for big groups who want lunch with their day drinks. Sit outside at picnic tables and drink giant mimosas served in beer steins (a man-mosa, as the menu puts it). As for food, they serve lots of sausages, ranging from a classic hot dog to smoked boar. The poutine is great for sharing, as is the jalapeno mac and cheese. If you’re here on a Sunday, they have a special brunch menu with steak, eggs, and fries, as well as other more breakfast-y options.
At some point in your weekend, there will inevitably be a game happening that someone in the group needs to watch. Lavaca Street Bar has wall-to-wall TVs showing every game anyone would ever need or want to watch. Turf’N’Surf is located inside the bar and serves po’boys, tacos, and other great bar food. If someone is getting cranky about eating indoors when it’s sunny out, just order them the blackened chicken nachos and they’ll forget they were ever unhappy. These are the kind of nachos you come all the way back to Austin for.
For that moment in the weekend when you just need hangover sustenance, Counter Cafe and its diner food are waiting for you. Get the breakfast tacos or biscuits and gravy, or, if you’re really struggling after last night, the burger with a fried egg on it. This place has two locations, but we’d recommend the East Side one if you have a big group.
The odds are high you’ll see someone having a full conversation with a brick wall on Dirty Sixth, which is why we’re consistently surprised by Parkside, located right in the heart of downtown. There’s a raw bar selection if you’re part of a bachelor party that likes to start the night at a high point and then take it downhill fast. There are things like pork chops and steaks on the regular menu, but there’s also a bar menu (that you can order from in the main dining room) with a burger. Make sure to get a real cocktail before you head somewhere nearby to drink like you and the groom did when you first met in college.
Wu Chow is an upscale, farm-to-table Chinese restaurant that’s always packed with people looking for a scene (and a lazy susan full of food). The spicy Gong Bao chicken and the fried rice are great, but if we had to pick a single favorite thing from the menu, it would be the soup dumplings. The drinks come in tiki glasses, and there’s usually loud hip-hop music playing. Just note, you’ll definitely need a reservation here.
If your group is looking for a quick and easy dinner spot, Via 313 (a food truck in the back of a craft beer bar on Rainey Street) isn’t just efficient - it’s the best pizza in Austin. The Detroit-style (a.k.a square and thick) pizza will also shut up the New Yorkers and/or Chicagoans in the group who won’t stop talking about how their city’s is the best pizza. This is a more affordable dinner option, if you’d rather spend your money on drinking later on.
Guero’s is a classic Austin spot that’s great for margaritas and your maiden Tex-Mex voyage. Or your millionth Tex-Mex voyage. But any meal at Guero’s starts with an aggressive trip to the salsa bar to accompany your unlimited free chips. This place is located in the heart of South Congress and tends to attract a big crowd on the weekends, so be sure to put your name down on the early side.
Another great option for the bachelor party that wants a solid meal, but doesn’t want to get stuck at a table for two hours. Native is a hostel with a big bar scene (including a DJ), and plenty of people who are just there to drink. But the food is good, too - there are burgers, waffle fries, and even plenty of vegetarian options for that person who just watched a Netflix food documentary he’s still haunted by.
This is not your authentic Texas barbecue spot where meats are served on wax paper with a side of Wonder Bread. Lambert’s is on the nicer side - though not as stuffy as a steakhouse - but it serves equally awesome cuts of meat. The fried green tomatoes and classic wedge are great starters, and we recommend ordering a variety of brisket, ribs, and steak for everyone to try. Check out the music upstairs after your meal.
If a steakhouse is what you’re looking for, skip the chains in town and go with a local place serving Texas-sourced cuts of beef. Austin Land & Cattle has great steak, and you can’t go wrong with the shrimp or a side of green chile creamed corn, either. While you don’t have to wear a sportcoat here, we’d suggest at least dressing up a little. It’s a white tablecloth kind of place - but still on the casual side, because it’s Austin.
Whether you’re part of a bachelor party of three or 30, Buford’s is the place to get your night started. You can rotate through the indoor, outdoor, and rooftop bar areas to see which bartender is willing to spray the bachelor with the water gun, and there’s pop-a-shot, cornhole, and digital beer pong for the former high school athletes of the group who have something to prove. It’s pretty easy to get a drink, so those coworkers that somehow managed to get an invite will loosen up enough to start professing their true feelings about the Rock pretty fast.
Bachelor parties don’t need a theme. Texas tuxedos are played out, the 1998 Dream Team is dated, and Austin just doesn’t have the right weather for 10 guys dressed as Harry Potter. But if you feel strongly about a unifying idea, make it mezcal and start at Las Perlas. They have a huge selection, as well as tequila and plenty of beers for your friend who says that “mezcal tastes like bandaids.” And if you need something else to convince people to come here, there’s a food truck in the back with grilled tacos that will have you asking for extra tortillas to shove into your pockets for later.
The drinking destination that is West 6th Street was seemingly built for bachelor parties. And there is no more quintessential bachelor party bar than Kung Fu. This place has loud music, quick bar service, and big groups everywhere. Just beware of the pickleback shots. Things will accelerate quickly if you order those.
The East Side is not for every bachelor party. Rihanna’s greatest hits aren’t playing on a loop, there may not be any bachelorette parties to hang out with, and there is definitely no bottle service. That said, Whisler’s serves great cocktails and has a mezcal bar hidden upstairs. It’s a nice option for the group that wants a more low-key night.
Dirty 6th Street is Austin’s Bourbon Street, but with our own twist of weird. They block off the street to cars on the weekend, so it’s always full of people. And Maggie Mae’s is where we’ll always send you first. It’s an indoor and outdoor spot with five different bars. You can expect a cover band playing in one room and a DJ playing all the hits in another. Post up on the balcony so you can watch the action on 6th Street below.
This is one of the few bars in town that offers bottle service and cabanas by a small pool on a rooftop. (The pool is more of a look-but-don’t-touch kind of situation.) It feels a little Vegas-y, if that’s what you’re after.
Rainey Street used to be a quiet street near the lake. Then it became a quiet street where a few houses were flipped into bars with rocking chairs and ping pong tables. Today, every house is a bar, and this street is absolute bachelor party gold. Lustre Pearl has one of the bigger footprints in the area, with multiple levels and bars inside. But you could easily spend a whole night drinking in different bars on Rainey.
HandleBar, just a block off Dirty 6th, is another great spot with a rooftop, and it’s a particularly good choice if your group can get behind the mustache theme. They do have a vending machine where you can get a fake mustache, if necessary.
Somebody in the group really wants to see live music, other people need to eat something, and the rest are just ready for shots. Stay Gold will help everyone get what they want. Live bands play inside every weekend, and you’ll find good, cheap drinks here, too. Plus, you’ll be in a prime spot on Cesar Chavez if you want to check out other East Side bars after the only guy in the group from Texas starts attempting to two-step.
Inside Hotel Vegas, you’ll usually find a DJ or band playing, as well as some people having a sweaty dance party. The backyard connects to the equally awesome Volstead Bar, so you have a built-in backup option for cooling off outside with some cheap beers. If you’ve done all this planning, you deserve it.