ATXReview

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Murray’s Tavern image
8.3

Murray’s Tavern

WebsiteDirections

Bar FoodAmerican

East Austin

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

Included In

There aren’t many words that can cast a net quite as wide as the word “tavern.” On one end of the Tavern Fanciness Spectrum (TFS for short), you have centuries-old neighborhood pubs like the aptly named Tavern in Austin, and on the other end, you have fancy restaurants with tasting menus, like New York’s Gramercy Tavern. At times incredibly casual, and at others just a little bit bougie, Murray’s in East Austin falls somewhere in the middle. This is probably the only place in Austin where you can order a half-dozen oysters and sliced-to-order prime rib at a long, communal bar table with open seating. 

Murray’s Tavern image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Burgers and goulash share a playing field with prime rib and beef tartare—you decide how fancy you want to be—and we’d gladly send Murray’s versions of each into an arena to battle it out for the best with other contenders in Austin. You’ll find classic cocktails like Cosmos and Rob Roys, but Murray’s isn’t afraid to get a little weird—an olive oil-infused gin Negroni and a sherry and banana daiquiri are also on the cocktail menu, just to show you it can still hang with new-school spots. 

Murray’s Tavern image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Murray’s Tavern image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Murray’s Tavern image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Murray’s Tavern image
Murray’s Tavern image
Murray’s Tavern image

The interior is an homage to old-school taverns in New York City—it’s dimly lit with wooden walls and a carpeted back room that feels like a place where mob bosses discuss “family” things. But when you look closer, Murray’s actually feels “weathered” in the way that Abercrombie jeans arrive pre-distressed. And snagging a table can be tricky. Seating is first come, first served—much of it at communal tables—which means you may find yourself awkwardly hovering around diners finishing up the last few drops of their Rob Roy, calling dibs by proximity. 

The most confusing thing about Murray’s is what kind of occasion you should save it for. If we removed price from the equation, we’d be here daily. But unless you know a genie that can grant monetary wishes, you’ll probably find everything here is just a few dollars more than you’re normally comfortable paying. 

Murray’s Tavern image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

This is the type of place you should go to when you don’t want to make a big deal about dinner, but you actually kind of do. So until we finally fulfill our childhood dreams of being incredibly rich, you’ll find us there on Mondays when burgers are half-priced, on Wednesdays for the weekly steak night special, or even occasionally on a Thursday when the craving for prime rib gets too great to hold back and we inevitably cave.

Food Rundown

Murray’s Tavern image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Cocktails

The bar program is run by the team from Nickel City—one of the best bars in Austin—and the drinks here are just as solid. Murray’s is more focused on the East Coast classics. Think Rob Roys, Cosmos, and New York Sours. Make sure to check out a few of the house cocktails as well. We love the “dirty” Negroni made with olive oil-infused gin.

Murray’s Tavern image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Oysters Rockefeller

If you’ve ever had oysters Rockefeller, you’ll know exactly what these taste like. Don’t expect any wildcards here, just a really well-executed take on a classic.

Murray’s Tavern image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Burger

You can get this “tavern-style” with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, or with “goop” on top. And as gross as goop sounds, it should absolutely be the way you order it. It’s basically French onion soup that’s been reduced down to a gravy and spooned over a thick, seared patty cooked to a perfect medium.

Prime Rib

Austin isn’t really a prime rib city, so if you ever find yourself craving a plate of it, Murray’s is one of the few spots you can go. And fortunately, it doesn’t disappoint. Perfectly pink and tender throughout and served with a side of horseradish, it’s exactly what you want when you think of prime rib.

Murray’s Tavern image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Fish & Chips

We kind of wish this came in two pieces, just so it would be a little bit easier to eat. But that’s about our only complaint. The batter is shatteringly crisp, the fish is thick-cut and well-seasoned, and the bed of fries rounds it all out.

Included In

FOOD RUNDOWN