The Best Speakeasies & Secret Bars In Austin (And How To Get In)

From former brothel-turned-bars to rooftop mezcalerias, these are the best secret bars in Austin.
The Best Speakeasies & Secret Bars In Austin (And How To Get In) image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Speakeasies can be a lot of fun. There are usually good cocktails involved, and you’re generally required to enter through some hidden doorway that makes you feel a little bit like an entry-level secret agent. And even though showing up at a modern day speakeasy-inspired bar probably won’t get you into trouble with the law, there’s still a level of secrecy that makes going out for drinks feel like an adventure. From former brothel-turned-bars, to rooftop mezcalerias, these are the best speakeasies in Austin. 

And if you’d rather just check out one of the best bars in Austin, we’ve got a list for that, too. 


photo credit: Richard Casteel


East Austin

$$$$Perfect For:Drinking Good Cocktails
Earn 3x points with your sapphire card

Located behind Shangri-La on East Sixth, The Treasury is a semi-secret, loosely bank-themed bar. And by loosely bank-themed, we mean that it’s located in a tiny room down a flight of stairs that makes us feel like we’re entering an old vault. There are no reservations, so plan accordingly—weekends can get busy—but they’re one of the few speakeasies in town that offers Happy Hour every day from 6-8pm, in case you needed another reason to kick the night off early. They don’t have food of their own, but you can bring down some White Castle-inspired burgers from the Golden Castle food trailer upstairs, and enjoy a fun, unconventional pairing with a couple espresso martinis.

Milonga Room might be one of the best-kept secret speakeasies in Austin. It’s located in the basement of Buenos Aires Cafe on the East Side, through a wooden door that looks like it belongs to a haunted old building. Once inside, post up at the tiny three-seat bar or one of the handful of tables and old couches strewn about the room that looks a bit like an old Victorian parlor. It’s also dimly lit and intimate, complete with cozy corners and low ceilings. This is very much an ideal date night spot, with amaro-focused drinks and a small menu of light bites—like empanadas and macarons—if you didn’t just come from dinner upstairs. 

$$$$Perfect For:Drinking Good Cocktails


Tock logo

This is one of the oldest Austin speakeasies, housed in a former brothel on Dirty Sixth Street downtown. Make a reservation, which will come with a name that you’ll hit on the buzzer located outside of an unmarked door with a little red light overhead. Inside, you’ll see a long room that looks like it was plucked directly out of the Prohibition era, complete with tufted leather booths, dark marble tables, and old wood flooring. Make your way to the back, and you’ll find some larger rooms that we’re guessing is where business took place in Midnight Cowboy’s previous life. The menu is a mix of classic twists and staff creations, with many drinks made tableside off a rolling bar cart.

If you’ve ever wanted to feel like a secret agent, head to Here Nor There. It’s located in a basement under an alleyway in downtown Austin, right next to The Driskill. Make reservations through a dedicated app, which will reveal a secret code before your scheduled time that will let you through the gate. It sounds like a lot of effort, but it’s worth it once you walk through the front door and are greeted by a life-sized stuffed bear holding a tray of champagne, a chill atmosphere, and old school hip hop on the speakers (clean white sneakers, suede chelseas, and tall leather boots all feel equally appropriate here). The cocktails can be pricey, but with things like liquid nitrogen-cooled olives, clarified punches, and hand-stamped ice making their way onto the drink menu, it all feels like part of the show.

Austin may not have asked for a biblical sin-themed cocktail bar, but we got one—and now we’re regulars. This spot feels especially appropriate located in an alleyway right behind Dirty Sixth Street. Just look for the purple door and hope it’s not the back entrance to Voodoo Doughnuts next door. Inside, you’ll see a small, dimly lit room with a bar the size of a large walk-in closet, and order cocktails that follow the theme with names like Fruit of the Forbidden, Naked and Shameless, or Lilith’s Affair. Old wooden floors and brick walls make the whole place feel like it was plucked off the streets of Brooklyn.

Located in a parking garage Downtown, Garage Bar feels like you’re entering the secret lair of a Fast & Furious movie villain. Once you make it into the concrete cave, follow the big cocktail sign over some parked cars and to the main entrance. Inside are a bunch of tables centered around a round, white granite bar. There’s a blend of classic cocktails and in-house creations, but we’ve found the bartenders are also pretty good at coming up with something on the spot. You don’t need a reservation, but we’d recommend grabbing one if you’re coming on a weekend—it can get about as packed as the garage racing scene from Tokyo Drift

In a pretty nondescript building on East 7th topped with a small flickering neon sign is Bosses Office, a speakeasy-style cocktail bar with drinks inspired by iconic figures throughout history, like Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth II, and Paris Hilton. Order the Anthony Bourdain, and watch your drink slowly come into focus as the air clears from a smoke-filled glass cloche. Or get the Charles Darwin that comes topped with a floating cobra made of ice that might give you a cold boop on the nose as you sip on a drink that smells like freshly cut grass. Grab a reservation online, then tell your soon-to-be-confused manager that you need to head out of work early to get to Bosses Office in time. 

In the 170-year-old cellar under the downtown restaurant Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill is a fancy, semi-secret bar and tasting room dedicated to high-end spirits and cocktails. Moonshine has long had one of the best whiskey selections in town, so it’s no surprise that you can taste some pretty great stuff at Kinfolk. The cocktails are organized by style and time period, so you can stick with Prohibition-era classics, or grab a modern take on a Cosmopolitan to pair with some charcuterie and cheese. There are two rooms here—one made up of smaller tables for groups of two to four, and another with a large table for more communal experiences.

Stepping through Trona’s metal gate in an alleyway off 12th and Chicon might as well be a portal to somewhere that looks an awful lot like a speakeasy in Marfa, Texas (there’s even a mocktail called Don’t Judd Me). The smallish bar seats 49 people, inside and out, and it’s full of desert plants, adobe tiles, and the smell of palo santo giving the whole place a warm, cozy feeling. The cocktails feel like they watched a lot of Westerns growing up, from a Rattlesnake Sour, with bourbon, blackberry and sage reduction, to the Mezcal Blossom—a margarita riff made with a blend of agave spirits, dehydrated peppers, and lime juice. Grab a reservation online or through Trona’s semi-secret text-only line, or show up on Monday and Tuesday when the bar is reserved for walk-ins. If the light is green, ring the doorbell. Otherwise, try again later. 

For an intimate, speakeasy-style mezcaleria experience without all the crowds, head to Techo on Manor Road. The ceilings are low, the room is dark—minus the glow of prayer candles that are on each of the small, iron tables—and there’s a cute rooftop patio that looks out over the parking lot and garden of Este next door. As you might expect, the menu is agave-leaning, but in addition to mezcal flights served in clay copitas, you can also grab watermelon mezcal daiquiris and maracuyu margaritas. There’s no food here, but they’ll let you order chips and queso from Tex-Mex spot Mi Madre’s (which they also own) on the ground floor. To get to Techo, enter from the side patio of Schoolhouse Pub.

We know what you’re thinking. “But Infatuation Austin, The Lucky Duck is just a bar on East 6th Street, not a speakeasy,” to which we’ll tell you to head to the back of the patio, behind the basketball arcade games, and make your way through the little wooden gate. There, you’ll find an illuminated walkway guiding you to a cozy little cocktail bar up a flight of stairs, set in an old, remodeled home. It doesn’t have a name, and it’s only open on the weekends—when it’s busy, you’ll be able to scan a QR code at that gate to add yourself to the waitlist—but if you make it inside, you’ll find yourself in a relatively quiet and cozy escape from the busy bar it’s attached to, with cocktails that are a few steps above the average bar in the area. 

Firehouse Lounge is a hostel bar and a speakeasy Downtown, and it serves both purposes equally well. The entrance is right next to the check-in desk for the hostel, hidden behind a very heavy bookshelf that you’ll need to slide open. Small as the entrance is, the space is large and dimly lit. And since there are no reservations or secret codes needed, this place can get crowded on the weekends. But it’s a good kind of crowded—a mix of visitors, off-shift service industry types, and locals looking to escape the madness of Dirty Sixth with a classic cocktail in hand—that makes it feel both lively and fun.

If you’ve been to Whisler’s on a Friday or Saturday night, you’ve probably seen small crowds of people spilling out onto the stairs from a tiny room perched on the roof. And if you’ve ventured up, you’d find yourself in one of the first dedicated mezcal bars in Austin. Don’t come here expecting cocktails—this is primarily a place to come and sip on a variety of mezcals in a casual, candle-lit atmosphere. The space is tiny, and they’re only open on Friday and Saturday nights—so there’s not really an off-hour to pop in—but we’d recommend going shortly after they open if you want to avoid crowds.

Located at the top of a short flight of stairs in a parking garage Downtown, Small Victory is a fairly small cocktail bar with a large selection of spirits, an extensive cocktail menu, and a great list of wines and sherries available by the glass. You can definitely pop in here with a small group, but the majority of the tables are made for two people, so this is more of a spot to grab a pre- or post-dinner drink. You can make reservations ahead of time, or just walk up to the little red gate on East 7th and give them a buzz—we’ve had pretty good luck walking in relatively early in the night.

Visit Floppy Disk Repair Co’s website, and you’ll be met with an old-school landing page describing how to get your floppy disk repaired. The Downtown business is just a cover, obviously (do new computers still come with floppy disk drives?), because once you head to the actual space, you’ll find yourself in a small, lively speakeasy called Red Headed Stepchild. There are chair swings on one side of the bar, exposed brick walls, and a red glow that makes the whole place feel like an exclusive, underground warehouse party. The cocktails lean on the fun side here, with things like milk-based punch served with a side of Trix cereal. The password to get in changes monthly—if you make it in, ask to get on their text list where they’ll send it out, or just ask a bartender at one of the neighboring bars.

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

Suggested Reading

The Austin Bar Hit List: Where To Drink Right Now image

The Austin Bar Hit List: Where To Drink Right Now

Great new bars, speakeasies, breweries, wine bars, and incredibly fun cocktail spots in Austin.

The Best Happy Hours In Austin image

Our favorite Happy Hours that involve both food and drink.

Where To Drink On The East Side image

Our favorite bars in Austin’s best drinking neighborhood.

Infatuation Logo


2024 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The views and opinions expressed on The Infatuation’s site and other platforms are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of (or endorsement by) JPMorgan Chase. The Infatuation and its affiliates assume no responsibility or liability for the content of this site, or any errors or omissions. The Information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.


Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store