Austin Dive Bar Guide

Keeping Austin Boozy

Keeping the city weird is one thing, keeping it well-stocked with dusty dive bars is another (so far so good)
Few cities have seen the kind of relentless growth that Austin has experienced over the past decade or two, the influx of new residents rapidly shifting the landscape of eating, drinking and living in the city. Underneath that growth is the “real” Austin if it can be called that, a network of city originals that very much includes the city’s dive bars. The Little Longhorn Saloon is one such dive, a location that has operated as a bar of some description since World War II and home to a Sunday ritual involving a chicken, a sequence of numbers and wagering on the location of a particular bodily function. Huge crowds are drawn but there’s more to the Austin dive bar than livestock wagering, including a potent live music scene in a building that may as well be the dive bar chapel of the city. North of the city, Lala’s Little Nugget follows in the grand tradition of Christmas-themed dive bars, complete with Santa sleigh on the bar’s roof and a few miles worth of tinsel. In the same part of the city, Buddy’s Place hits the opposite end of the spectrum, a no-nonsense interior with a profound devotion to John Wayne. These types of gems can be found throughout Austin, an important counterpoint to some of the redevelopment that can be seen throughout the city.

Dive Bar Map

Our Austin Dive Bar Recommendations

While we’ve done our fair share of drinking, we haven’t yet hit every Austin Dive Bar. The recommendations below are sorted into tiers to help guide your choices depending on how much time you have to explore Austin. Where we’ve reviewed a location, a score is given.

SFG Reviews

We’ve been lucky enough to visit the locations below in Austin. Each location includes a full review and SFG score to help you decide on how to prioritize your travels.

Deep Eddy Cabaret

SFG Rating: 10 out of 10
Order a mini with a straight face to really start the day right.

Donn's Depot

SFG Rating: 10 out of 10
Impossible to put into words, holiday decorations or not.


SFG Rating: 9 out of 10
Behind the gas station, under the office, nothing but dive bar perfection.

The Hole in the Wall

SFG Rating: 9 out of 10
Witness the wild difference between a day drink and a packed show.

Buddy's Place

SFG Rating: 9 out of 10
Nothing says dive bar like blacked out windows and spray paint John Wayne.

Sam's Town Point

SFG Rating: 9 out of 10
Don't be swayed by the occasional cover charge, the experience inside is worth the outlay.

Lala's Little Nugget

SFG Rating: out of 10

Giddy Ups

SFG Rating: out of 10

Casino South Side

SFG Rating: out of 10

Tier 2: Strong Alternatives

With a bit more time in Austin, the locations below become great options, expanding the set of potential stops on a drinking tour of the city.

Tier 2 Locations Reviewed

Tier 2 Locations Not Yet Reviewed

Google Map

Tier 3: Deep Cuts

For those who manage to exhaust tiers 1 and 2 or are limited to a particular part of Austin, the options below represent the balance of our recommendations.

Tier 3 Locations Reviewed

Tier 3 Locations Not Yet Reviewed

Google Map

What Did We Miss?

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