4 Austin Suburbs With Their Own Nightlife Scenes
Austin’s nightlife scene is legendary for good reason: The city takes its unofficial “Live Music Capital of the World” title very seriously, providing a home for countless venues to catch a show.
Enthusiasts of dive bars and upscale cocktail lounges alike will find abundant options throughout ATX, and the Texan capital’s famously impressive restaurant landscape keeps barhoppers and music fans well-fed and happy.
Because Austin’s population is rapidly and steadily growing, the city finds itself experiencing some “urban sprawl,'' with its surrounding suburbs adopting more and more urban characteristics.
Luckily, these characteristics include restaurants and bars located in the Austin suburbs that pack the same cache as their city-proper counterparts. If you’re looking for an Austin suburb with its own impressive nightlife scene, check out these four Central Texas towns.
A small city located to Austin’s northeast, Round Rock counts as part of Austin’s metropolitan area, but it’s a town with plenty of its own individual identity. Therefore, it stands to reason that Round Rock should contain an array of restaurants, cocktail bars, beer halls, and wine boîtes to serve its 125,000-person-strong population.
Locally beloved Urban Eat Drink earns its positive reputation with chic environs, a creative cocktail list, upscale bar bites, and beautiful rooftop deck. Round Rockers in search of locally brewed craft beers will find plenty to choose from at relaxed brewpub The Brass Tap.
As for wine aficionados, they can enjoy their favorite libation at Wine Sensation, a cozy bar with American, Australian, and European varietals and a Mediterranean-inspired food menu.
Round Rock’s restaurant selection features highlights like family-owned (and date-perfect) New American eatery Ajo, lively Latin-American gastropub Fuego Latino, and an outpost of smash-hit Austin burger restaurant and beer pub Hopdoddy Burger Bar.
Dripping Springs has become a haven for craft brewers and distillers, so barhoppers living in this Hill Country town find themselves very well-situated to enjoy libations made locally.
One excellent place to do exactly that can be found at Family Business Beer Company, a microbrewery that hosts food trucks on premises and provides visitors with bar games, regularly scheduled live music, and a comfortable outdoor patio where they can enjoy a bite and a cold pint of beer.
Beer enthusiasts also swarm to Dripping Springs because located on the border between this town and Austin is Jester King, a legendary brewery responsible for some of the most highly acclaimed beers made in the state of Texas. Jester King’s property also includes a restaurant, lawn games, and picnic grounds, making it an ideal day-to-night destination.
If you’re more of an oenophile than a beer enthusiast, head to Sidecar Tasting Room, a quaint wine bar with tasting flights and globally influenced eats like empanadas and cheese and charcuterie platters.
Treaty Oak, a Dripping Springs distillery known for its whiskies, also operates an on-premises restaurant called Alice’s where patrons can enjoy classic Texas barbecue with all the fixings, accompanied by cocktails made with Treaty Oak’s own spirits.
If you’d rather dine at a traditional French bistro, consider Le Vacher, a charming brasserie focused on “country French” cuisine.
Found just south of Dripping Springs, Driftwood’s greatest claim to fame comes in the form of Salt Lick BBQ, an iconic spot for Texas-style barbecue. The Salt Lick team also operates Salt Lick Cellars, a vineyard located next door that serves its vino at its scenic tasting room and also allows shoppers to pick up a bottle to bring to Salt Lick BBQ, which has a BYOB policy.
Another winery with an on-site restaurant (so, an ideal date-night locale), Mandola Estate & Vineyard works closely with the staff at Trattoria Lisina to pair the vineyard’s Italian-style wines with dishes like butternut squash ravioli with sage cream sauce, lasagne alla Bolognese, and veal shank osso buco.
Driftwood beer drinkers speak highly of Hill Country Tasting Room, a picturesque taproom with an all-Texan draft list, an airy outdoor patio, and live music on the docket several times a week.
Pflugerville, a sizable suburb wedged between Austin and Round Rock, is home to a number of casual watering holes, dance venues, and reasonably priced restaurants, making it a popular choice among young professional Austinites seeking a residence outside city limits.
Karaoke lovers in Pflugerville can get their fix at Red Rooster, a relaxed dive with plenty of fried bar snacks and craft beers on draft that hosts karaoke nights six days a week.
The Growler Bar caters to beer drinkers and pizza fans alike, with a regularly rotating tap selection and creatively topped pizzas like The Kitchen Sink (pepperoni, Italian sausage, bell peppers, red onions, mushrooms, black olives) and The GB (chicken, bacon bits, jalapeno, Sriracha BBQ sauce).
Those who prefer wine will enjoy The Three Legged Goat, a bar entirely focused on Texas-made wines (with a few Texan craft beers thrown in for good measure).
One of Pflugerville’s most highly regarded eateries is Taste of Ethiopia, a traditional Ethiopian restaurant famous for its authentic eats, its lunch buffet, and its vegan-friendly menu. For flavorful fried seafood in a laid back atmosphere that’s ideal for a casual first date, try Springhill, a local favorite specializing in catfish.
If the flow of the evening inspires you to slip on your dancing shoes (or, rather, your dancing cowboy boots), then you won’t want to miss Mavericks Dance Hall, a kitschy honky-tonk where the live music is loud and robust, the dancers are enthusiastic, and the beer keeps on flowing.