Try explaining Rainey Street to someone who’s never been, and they’ll have a hard time believing what you’re describing is true: An adorable, neighborhood-y street, filled with craftsman houses that are all actually bars, string-light covered patios, food trucks, craft cocktails, and a constant stream of both locals and not-locals looking to party.
That can’t be real, right? That’s like Disneyland for adults. Or a grown-up frat row, minus the assholes.
Yep, it’s real. And while it’s true that Rainey has become a pretty big tourist destination, we’re here to remind you it’s still awesome for locals too. Unlike other cities where crosswalks and rules apply, if you’re not jaywalking your way down this street, you’re doing it wrong. The cocktail crawl starts now.
Probably better than any other bar on Rainey Street, Parlor Room recognizes the value of attractive aesthetics. From the hot pink living room, to the black and white tile bar, to the giant sign out on the patio screaming DRINK UP at you, this bar was made for your Instagram/Snapchat. You’ll probably be lured in by the front yard, but the side deck is the primest real estate here.
Tiny bar, giant patio. Half Step is the kind of place you should either use for a date or a small group hang, or be prepared to get your drinks and head outdoors right away. But unlike a lot of places on Rainey doing “specialty cocktails” that are actually just lots of sweet syrups and crushed fruits with vodka (no judgment, we like those too), the drinks here are expertly made, and really high quality. If you’re lucky, you’ll find your way to Half Step when they have live music inside that you can hear on the front porch.
A popular starting point for a night on Rainey, Bar 96 is your best bet for watching the game before moving things into party mode. With TVs in every room and backyard games like corn hole and the ring & hook (that’s the official name for that, right?) - there’s plenty to do here even if you aren’t into sports. Grab a drink, sit outside, and get some tacos from the truck in the back if you’re hungry.
The ultimate Sunday Funday destination on Rainey Street (besides Bangers of course), Icenhauer’s makes great cocktails, including their highly popular sangria in a jar. They also come through with live bands and a crazy dance party on Sundays. Bring your dog and stay a while, this is as close as you’ll get to a backyard BBQ feel minus the meat sweats.
Lots of bars on Rainey are good for dates, but if you’re trying to seal the deal we’d suggest you try your luck at Lucille first. The wood-framed house is a beautiful spot complete with candlelight, fancy drinks, hammocks, tons of outdoor seating, and cozy indoor booths. Plus, there are two bar options, which makes the push-and-shove for a drink game much less intense. Come for the low-key vibe, stay for the El Jefe (it’s a spicy green drink, and you’re going to want to order it).
No, you didn’t step onto a dystopian movie set - you’re just at Container Bar. Constructed entirely out of shipping containers, this industrial space is one of the most unique in town. People mostly hang out in the outdoor space below and behind the containers, but if it’s really hot keep the indoor space in mind as an escape to cool down.
The original Rainey Street Lustre Pearl might be gone, but the new location of the bar is better than ever - it’s the kind of place where it’s easy to hang out for hours without realizing it. There are games, frozen drinks, and a very prime upstairs deck for hanging checking out part of the skyline. Perfect for day and night drinking, once you post up here you probably won’t want to leave.
Located in an older house that looks like it should be in Alabama, The Blackheart is where you come for a whiskey cocktail, live music, and a divier vibe than the rest of Rainey.
Mezcal is the name of the game at Clive Bar. The main Clive Bar space is perfectly enjoyable, and the back patio is nice and spacious, but you’ll want to head straight for the semi-secret mezcal pop-up bar in a small room just out back.
Everyone loves Bungalow. The drinks are great, the music is bumpin’, and the glass walls make it very easy to people watch. The inside bar gets pretty crowded, so if you’re in a rush to be not-sober head out back to grab your first drink. There’s usually a taco truck in the back as well, so if you’re hungry, a stop here is ideal. Probably best known for the “I hate you so much” wall conveniently placed between the bathrooms, but that gimmick actually doesn’t do the rest of the place justice.