ATXGuide

The Best Patios & Backyards In Austin

Where to eat and drink outside.
The Best Patios & Backyards In Austin image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Austin is a city that’s at its best outdoors. We have a world-famous swimming pool, we make up reasons to have music festivals (Eeyore’s Birthday Party should be on your radar), and we congregate anywhere there’s shade to sip cold drinks. And there’s no better way to combat the triple-digit heat and catastrophic traffic than by hanging out on a patio. But not all of them are created equal. This guide highlights a few of our favorites around town.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Taylor Hannan

Bar

South Congress

$$$$Perfect For:Outdoor/Patio SituationDay DrinkingBreakfastCasual Weeknight DinnerCheap EatsCoffee & A Light Bite
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It might be called Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden, but there’s a lot more going on here than just what’s on the sign. Cosmic also has wine and cocktails (and even cocktail flights). And then there’s the extensive outdoor space, shaded by oak trees. It’s also home to some of the city’s best food trucks, including Pueblo Viejo for tacos, Leroy & Lewis, a super non-traditional barbecue truck that we really like, and an outpost of Tommy Want Wingy, serving lollipop-style chicken wings that can get very spicy (if you want).

With three full acres, a massive bar, and more activities than you can count, it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon at Armadillo Den in South Austin without even realizing it. Drinks here tend to lean into “refreshing” territory and come with the added bonus of a 10% discount if you arrive via rideshare. In the evenings, there’s live music, plus a ton of fire pits for the colder months. And if you want to let out some microaggressions, there are even a few lanes in the back for ax throwing. Like we said, Armadillo Den is set on three acres. If there’s an activity and you can think of it, you can probably do it here.  

Set on a sprawling 64 acres off Springdale Valley in Northeast Austin, the second location of Austin Beerworks dwarfs the original taproom in North Austin by roughly 63 acres, most of which is patio/backyard. There’s an indoor taproom with all the beer, wine, and cider you could reasonably want—plus board games—but outside is a massive, shaded patio with an uncountable number of picnic tables and the Yellow Bell Tacos food truck selling smoked meat tacos. When the weather is nice, this is the type of place you’ll want to spend an entire afternoon. And thanks to coffee, beer, food, shelter, games, and more coffee, you can. 

photo credit: Holly Dirks

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Perla’s has one of the most recognizable patios in Austin—in large part from being in the middle of South Congress, where it practically bleeds onto the sidewalk. Make a reservation or put your name on the waitlist, do some people-watching, and get ready to enjoy some of the best seafood in town. But also be ready to drop $38 on a lobster roll.

The team behind Drinks Lounge and Little Drinks Lounge have created a tiny empire of incredibly laid-back neighborhood bars here in Austin, and Drinks Backyard is no exception. It’s a little south of the airport on 183, so you probably won’t stumble upon it by mistake, but once you make over, you’ll find a small indoor bar connected to a massive backyard with more picnic tables than you can count and a giant 20-foot screen. The cocktails are cheap, and it’s home to a couple of different food trucks, making it that much harder to find a reason to leave.

Sour Duck is the more casual, sister-restaurant of Odd Duck, so you can expect the same level of quality and expertise, with a bit more of a focus on baked goods. Where they differ from Odd Duck is in the amount of outdoor space—most of the restaurant is open-air, on a well-spaced patio.

Like the original on the East Side, the second location of the popular brewery Lazarus near I-35 and Airport Boulevard has a large list of beers brewed in-house, plus espresso-based drinks, tacos, and tortas. Both locations have excellent patios, but we especially like the one on Airport for the sheer size of it all—plus, it’s covered to help protect against rain, sun, and very tiny meteorites (probably).

These two East Side dive bars often have live music, and they share one enormous backyard filled with picnic tables and cheap drinks. There’s a great Happy Hour, and there are multiple food trucks on-site.

The Meteor is one of our favorite places in town for drinking wine—and it only gets better during Happy Hour with half price glasses of wine (and cheeseburgers). It’s located far enough away from the busy part of South Congress to make it a welcome escape from all the action, or just as a bookend on either part of your long day out shopping for new sunglasses and boots. And with a nice, big patio in the back, you’ll always have somewhere perfect to show off your shiny new purchases.

Modeled after classic Irish pubs, B.D. Riley’s is a dark, cozy escape from a sunny afternoon at Mueller Lake Park. Outside there’s a large patio sprawls out onto the sidewalks and walkways, while the largest fan we’ve ever seen spins overhead and provides a light breeze for all 365 days of the year that it’s open. It’s a relaxed place on most evenings, but both the inside and the patio become pretty lively during soccer matches and football games (they’re a Patriots bar).

LoLo is a natural wine bar located on the East Side with a spacious patio. In addition to wine, they have a small, but well-curated selection of snacks, with things like pretzels, tinned fish, and a baguette with some of the best butter we’ve ever had. Wines are available by the bottle, with a limited daily selection of wines by the glass.

Hidden under a bunch of trees between some new-ish condo buildings, Yellow Jacket Social Club continues to be one of our favorite East Side spots to sit, drink, and snack. They also serve a surprisingly great brunch, which will undoubtedly include some shrimp and grits, a frozen mimosa, and/or plenty of Champagne. Start the day off here and discuss with your friends how this place used to host mechanical bull tournaments. We miss those.

The Little Darlin’ is right off William Cannon and South Congress, and it’s a great place to unwind or spend a chill Sunday afternoon on the picnic tables in the huge patio out back. There are craft beer and cocktails, outdoor games like horseshoes, a covered patio with darts, pool tables inside, and a stage for live music. As far as food, stick with the basics, like the burger or the carnitas sliders.

Better Half is an all-day operation with a big patio, tasty cheeseburgers, and cauliflower tots that'll make you reconsider your relationship with potatoes. They also have a great Happy Hour.

Celis Brewery in North Austin brews a variety of beer styles, including Celis White, a  Belgian-style witbier. There’s a spacious taproom, a second indoor bar area, and an enormous beer garden/live music venue that’s home to Con Todo—a trailer making some of the best tacos in Austin.

Radio Coffee & Beer sells, as the name suggests, coffee and beer. The outside seating area is large and well spread out, but the best part might be the two food trucks parked alongside the patio. With Veracruz serving some of the best breakfast tacos in town, and Dee Dee dishing out excellent Thai food, you may find yourself in the tricky (and possibly sticky) situation of deciding between one more migas tacos or an order of mango sticky rice.

With over 200 beers on draft, Banger’s on Rainey Street boasts one of the largest tap lists in the state, and definitely the largest in Austin. There are multiple buildings with multiple levels and menus, making it almost feel more like a compound than a single restaurant these days. But with a large outdoor beer garden and live music on the weekends, it’s a great place to enjoy some house-made bratwurst and pretzels.

This Rosedale brewpub is home to one of the best craft beer collections in Austin, a few of which they brew on-site. Their patio stretches around the building and takes up most of the parking lot, and there’s also a semi-permanent food truck, making it a great place to grab dinner as well.

Scholz Garten isn’t just the oldest bar in Austin, it’s the oldest operating business in Texas. Which also makes it the oldest operating patio in Texas (probably, don’t fact check us on that). And that just means that they’ve had more time to perfect things. With some of the best German food in town, a great beer list, and a central location right near UT, it’s a welcome escape from most of the campus-area bars.

Meanwhile Brewing is a large brewery off of Ben White that really takes the outdoors seriously. There’s a stage, a large patio, a playground, and even a soccer field. Stock up on coffee and beers inside, then head out to grab food from one of the excellent food trailers out back (Distant Relatives, Pueblo Viejo, and Side Eye Pie).

This converted old house not only serves some of our favorite Mexican food in Austin—they also have one of the best outdoor areas in which to eat it. The front yard is covered by a giant string-light-covered tree, and lined with charming little tables for sharing bowls of queso fundido and fajitas. If it’s crowded, the mural-covered backyard patio is no slouch either.

photo credit: Raphael Brion

The Far Out Lounge & Stage image

The Far Out Lounge & Stage

$$$$

Down in South Austin, The Far Out Lounge is a large music venue and bar that also plays host to a few great food trucks and trailers. And with shows going on almost every night, it’s a great spot to listen to some live music and enjoy some bites.

Kinda Tropical feels, as you might have guessed, kind of tropical, with pulled jackfruit sandwiches, yuca fries, and tamari-glazed chicken wings, alongside things like avocado toast. The back patio has bunch of spread out tables.

The ABGB has one of the best patios in South Austin, live music, great pizza, and even better beer. Make sure to grab a glass of the Hell Yes helles or the Rocket 100 pilsner while you’re there.

Dining on Olive & June’s patio is probably the closest thing we’ve experienced to eating in an upscale treehouse, with three stories of spacious patio wrapping around a giant 200-year-old oak tree near 35th and MoPac. We enjoy just about all of their Italian specialties, but their house-made pasta and wine list are where they really shine.

The French invented neighborhood bistros with prime sidewalk seating (we think), and Justine’s is the Austin version. Inside, this place feels like Paris in Austin; an intimate date night dinner spot. Step onto their patio and the vibe shifts into a see-and-be-seen backyard. Justine’s is located away from the hubbub of downtown, which makes the entire experience feel more exclusive and better suited for conversation with a group.

Over the years, Guero’s has become an Austin postcard-establishment—their strong margaritas have made it a favorite entry point for out-of-towners who have no idea what Austin is (and just as fun for people who live here). Their patio is probably the only spot in town where you can sip margaritas, eat queso, listen to live music, and people watch, all while sitting in an oak tree-shaded garden facing South Congress.

The South First location of Fresa’s has a great patio with beautiful trees providing shade, and a spread of brightly-colored picnic tables that will help you forget the boring beige walls of your living room. All of their wood-grilled meats are great, but we’re partial to the achiote and citrus chicken, served with charro beans, rice, grilled onions and jalapenos, and corn tortillas. And we’ve found that the aguas frescas really hit the spot, especially on the warm afternoons when we need to change shirts every five minutes.

Lazarus has a great patio on the East Side, with lots of picnic tables in and around the bar. The tacos and tortas are surprisingly good, and the fried chickpeas are a nice snack while you’re waiting around. And of course, it’s a brewery, so the beers are all pretty solid.

If you don’t want to drive out to The Oasis, but still want to sit by a large body of water while you eat and drink, Hula Hut is where you should go. The patio is right on the lake, brightly painted, and covered in palm fronds that make it look like a very large cabana—and almost makes us feel like we’re on vacation. Almost. Split a pu pu platter and some tacos and order a drink with a tiny umbrella in it.

On the corner of South Lamar and Oltorf is Bouldin Acres, an enormous beer garden in what used to be a two-acre car dealership. It’s basically an adult amusement park with pickleball courts, corn hole, and loads of TV screens. Bouldin Acres is also home to the very good barbecue trailer CM Smokehouse.

Hanging out with dogs is a whole lot cheaper and more fun than therapy, so here’s your chance to do so even if your landlord doesn’t allow pets. The entire “patio” at Yard Bar off Burnet is an enormous fenced-in dog park/playground, with a full bar. Sometimes you just need a cocktail after a long day at work—but most other times adding hounds into the mix cures all ails.

Doc's Backyard Bar & Grill image

Doc's Backyard Bar & Grill

$$$$

Doc’s in South Austin has multiple TVs inside and out for sports, but it’s the spacious dog-friendly patio where it really shines. There are tons of picnic tables shaded by multiple enormous oak trees and patio umbrellas, and it’s kept cool by misting fans. Do watch out for the very hungry grackles that will try to steal your french fries if you’re not looking. This is the kind of place that will give you a koozie to keep your tallboy of Lone Star cold.

Bar Peached is the bar-focused sister-restaurant of The Peached Tortilla, serving cocktails, tacos, and Asian-inspired comfort food. They have a nice, shaded patio, over in a fairly quiet part of Clarksville, near 5th and Lamar. They also have a pretty good Happy Hour.

Housed in a historic warehouse space, Central Machine Works is a massive beer hall, brewery, and live music venue in East Austin. There’s also an enormous outdoor kid-friendly beer garden and a full bar. The kitchen is turning out simple and solid beer-friendly food like pretzels, cheeseburgers, reubens, and pizza.

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