People underestimate how stressful it is to plan a wedding. You’ve finally landed a partner who can pass your Aunt Linda’s background check and interrogation, and now you have to put together a party that’ll look just as good in person as it does on Instagram. It’s enough to make some people decide to elope.
That’s why the bachelorette party needs to be stress-free. It’s the bride’s only retreat from wedding planning, and as her friend, it’s your job to take the lead and give her the break she needs. Since said bride is likely in peak research shape from all of her vendor comparisons, though, you still need to plan something that will pass her Google test. So use our guide for a bachelorette party that will impress her, entertain her, and most of all, free her up to focus on deciding between 40 subtly different wedding hashtags.
Start your weekend just west of downtown at this elegant little house in Clarksville with picture-perfect scenery and baked goods. Dishes like the heirloom rice bowl and avocado toast will make you feel at least slightly healthy, and if you want something sweet, be sure to order the kouign amann or Nutella morning bun.
Tiny Boxwoods is another place you’ll want to visit early in your bachelorette odyssey, while everyone is still excited to look presentable and before anyone’s busted out any potentially inappropriate props. This place looks like a cross between a miniature country club and a fancy pool house, and is a great option for sitting outside with some sangria. Food-wise, they serve everything from chia seed pudding and açai bowls to migas and a solid burger, along with the kind of chocolate chip cookies you’ll wish you had the recipe for.
Magnolia Cafe is a classic 24-hour diner that has something for every member of your group, regardless of what they’re not eating this month. There are salads for those trying to be healthy, and things like the eggscape - a cheesy pile of potatoes with fried eggs - for the girl who may or may not still be drunk from last night. Get some cornmeal or gingerbread pancakes for the table, too. There’s usually a long line to get in, but it moves fairly quickly and you can recount the night before in the meantime.
Renting a boat on Lake Austin is the best semi-outdoorsy thing your group can do in town. Before you put on your matching captains’ hats, though, eat some tacos and enchiladas at this lakeside Mexican restaurant - the convenience of being able to eat with a party of 12 and then walk to your boat is incomparable. Plus, they are very generous with the chips and queso here.
If your bride is more of a book club than a country club type, try Hillside Farmacy, an East Side brunch spot that’s a little more low-key. You can sit inside and feel like you’re at a small French bistro, or opt for one of the big picnic tables on the patio, which is probably better for a group. The fried egg sandwich or the big brekkie will give everyone the protein power they need to get through the afternoon’s schedule of walking around town. Make sure to order some mac and cheese to share, too.
If there’s one restaurant in Austin that’s designed for a laid-back bachelorette party, it’s Launderette. There’s a big patio, plus a few large indoor tables, and nothing is overly pricey. The menu rotates, but always includes a wide range of shareable plates, like fried oysters, burrata with focaccia, and pork spare ribs. Besides the food, Launderette also has one of the best wine and cocktail selections in the city, which is great for kicking off or reflecting on the weekend.
Wu Chow is an upscale Chinese place that’s a short walk from most downtown hotels, and it’s a great option for dinner before heading to nearby Dirty Sixth or Rainey Street. The hip hop music and tiki drinks will get everyone in the party mood, and if those don’t do the trick, the soup dumplings should. The large entrees, like scallions hugging beef and seafood fried rice, are great for sharing, and there’s a big patio that’s perfect for a pre-dinner drink if there’s a wait.
Another downtown option, but this time it’s Italian food. Red Ash gets pretty loud, so you won’t have to worry about anyone overhearing your stories from previous bachelorettes. Everyone can order solo, or you can just split some pastas and more shareable dishes, like pappardelle bolognese and the white prawns.
If your group doesn’t want to be jammed into a restaurant with every other bachelorette party, head to Contigo, a little farther away from downtown. It has a big patio and fire pit, which is ideal for people who have never been to Texas and were maybe hoping for some kind of a ranch experience. Food-wise, the burger, daily sausage, and charcuterie are all good bets, as are some vegetables on the side. Grab a few cocktails and enjoy feeling like you’re out in the country while only being a few miles from downtown.
Two issues that tend to come up when you plan a bachelorette dinner are seating (i.e., making sure there’s enough of it) and how much everyone wants to pay. Luckily, Sway is here to help with both of those. This Thai restaurant has large tables both inside and on the patio, and offers multiple set menus to avoid any awkward conversations over splitting the check. Expect everything from tom kha gai and pad thai to dishes like the Tiger Cry (hanger steak with chile) and the Son in Law (pork shoulder with an egg on top).
Lustre Pearl is located in a multi-story house on Rainey Street, so your group can take over the front yard, backyard, or balcony - whichever appeals. As the night progresses, this place does get super packed, so plan on coming here to party (and maybe hula-hoop in the backyard) rather than chill out.
Also on Rainey, Lucille is slightly more low-key than other places on the street, and it’s perfect for day drinking when everyone is going at their own pace after a long night. The backyard has hammocks and is usually full of dogs, so you’ll feel like you’re hanging at a friend’s house rather than the overcrowded bar this place becomes at night.
If your group is hoping to see some live music, and maybe even semi-learn to two-step, head to this place on the East Side. It’s a divey honky-tonk where you shouldn’t be surprised if someone in cowboy boots orders you a shot and asks how you ended up at The White Horse in the first place. If you want to make a night out of it, check out The Liberty or Hotel Vegas afterwards.
If half of your group wants to go to a club and the other half just wants to go to a bar, Kung Fu on West Sixth is a great compromise for both sides. It’s the kind of place where the bar area can suddenly become a dance floor, which gets annoying when you’re ordering drinks, but is great the rest of the time. Get some shots, bang the gong hanging on the wall, and try out some of the old arcade games inside. Before you know it, you’ll have been here all night.
Sure, go ahead and give Dirty Sixth a try. You’ll inevitably lose track of each other on the walk over, since the street is so packed with people - but once you’ve made it, head to The Blind Pig. You’ll find four bars, two different stages for live music, and the biggest rooftop patio on the street. While you’ll undoubtedly run into more than a few UT students, The Blind Pig is the best option on the street if you don’t want to have to fight your way through a crowd every time you need a drink.