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The Most Essential Rooftop Bars in Austin

Thrillist logo Thrillist 5/14/2021 James Wong

a dining room table in front of a building

© Photo courtesy of The Proper
Austin’s skyline is rapidly growing and, luckily for us, so too are the city’s skyhigh drinking dens. Blessed with warm, sunny weather all year round (we’re all agreeing to forget that Ercot-snowstorm collab, right?), Austinites always have an excuse to sip a top notch cocktail from a scenic open-air perch. So when you’re tired of imbibing at ground-level, say cheers atop one of these dazzling rooftops. a large pool of water © Austin Proper Hotel

La Piscina


The Proper’s poolside rooftop restaurant and bar is arguably the most happening place in town at the moment. La Piscina serves fajitas and family-style Tex-Mex platters alongside frozen margaritas, small-batch tequila, and choice mezcal. The crowd is international glam without compromising the relaxed Austin charm (in other words, you won’t get in trouble for wearing flip flops), and summers bring Saturday Sundown Swim sessions with live DJ sets.

How to book: Call 512-628-1415 or reserve online.

a living room filled with furniture and a table in front of a building © Photo courtesy of Hotel Zaza

Group Therapy


The ZaZa’s are beloved in Texas and Group Therapy on rooftop deck seven is where its fans congregate. Both indoor and outdoor poolside seating offer all-day dining, snacks, and drinks—and there’s a lot to love about the beverages here because they are huge (everything’s bigger in Texas, after all). We’re talking full wine glass-sized pours of bubbles and pitchers capable of quenching a thirsty gang of four. Views overlook Republic Square and there’s usually live music on weekends and Wednesdays.

How to book: Call 512-542-9292 or reserve via OpenTable.

a blue bench outside of a building © Photo courtesy of Fairmont Austin

Rules & Regs


For plenty of breeze, music, and sunshine, head up to Rules & Regs on the Fairmont. The restaurant and bar serves brunch, frozen treats, and colorful tropical cocktails. They also have non-alcoholic ‘hangover cures’ teeming with trusted recovery agents like Kombucha and coconut water. Best for when the heat is too much to bear downstairs, Rules & Regs keeps things chill thanks to a cluster of shady palm trees.

How to book: Call 512-600-2000 or reserve via OpenTable.

© El Alma

El Alma

Barton Springs

El Alma’s casual rooftop patio is a summer escape from the city, with prices that make you feel like you’ve been airlifted to a neighborhood cantina in Guadalajara. The menu stars seasonal margaritas and mojitos alongside queso fundido and tangy ceviche, and the happy hour runs daily between 3  and 6 pm with discounts across the board including on the famed Mangorita, a frozen margarita swirled with tequila-marinated mango purée and served with an el chile rim.

How to book: Call 512-609-8923 or reserve via Resy.

Wilderwood Restaurant and Bar

East Austin

Promising to treat you to gluten-free’s lesser-known wild side, Wilderwood is a low-key rooftop situation in hipper-than-thou East Austin. Expect a laid-back atmosphere, bargain happy hour, and delicious wheatless tacos, sandwiches, and other bites. The crew has also been known to hold frequent Open Mic nights (although these are temporarily on pause).

How to book: Call 512-628-0184 or reserve online.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd © Maggie Mae's

Maggie Mae’s


After a long pandemic-fueled closure, Maggie Mae’s is back to hosting legendary live music performances—as it’s been doing since 1978—and serving fun-lovin’ patrons once more across the twinkly rooftop deck, indoor bar, and courtyard (that’s 15,000 square feet of comfortable social-distancing, y’all). The 6th Street location places Maggie Mae’s in the thick of the action and best of all, it’s right by a Voodoo Donuts if you need to satisfy a late night sweet tooth.

How to book: There are no reservations, just walk-ins.

a wooden bench sitting in front of a building © Caroline + Upstairs at Caroline

Upstairs at Caroline


Upstairs at Caroline is a crazy fun urban backyard party overlooking Congress, with picnic benches, astroturf, bar games like foosball, shuffleboard, cornhole, and giant jenga, koozies, and, of course, plenty of cocktails. Weekly specials include $2 Taco Tuesday, Sunday Yappy Hour (bringing along your pup gets you 25% off your bill), and Thirsty Thursday with $7 draft cocktails from 4 to 7 pm.

How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

a man standing in front of a laptop © 77 Degrees Rooftop

77 Degrees Rooftop


This three-story rooftop patio atop The Rose Room is a Vegas-style dance party, complete with dancers and DJs. There’s an outside dance floor and plenty of seating to enjoy tapas, cocktails, and bottle service. Soak up the bright lights, hard beats, and big crowds on weekends—in other words, it’s a post-vaccination celebration.

How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

a chair sitting in front of a building © JW Marriott Austin

The Edge Rooftop Bar


The rooftop of the JW Marriott is open to the public after 5 pm, and features a wide selection of crafty cocktails (the Piña colada is everything), beer, and wine plus a full menu of tacos, salads, and other light bites. The vibe is stylish yet laid-back, with comfy lounge chairs surrounding fire-pits in case the temperature takes a dip. One side has views of Ladybird Lake and the other overlooks the city skyline.

How to book: Call 512-608-4503 or reserve via OpenTable.

a pool next to a building © W Austin

The WET Deck at W Austin


There ain’t no party like a W party. The WET Deck downtown is accessible to non-hotel guests who purchase a day pass on the W Austin’s website. Time it, if you can, to catch the Happy Hour, which runs Monday to Thursday from 12 pm to 4 pm. Slurpy delights include frosé and frozen cola, and cabanas and daybeds are reservable for a fee and minimum spend. DJ Sundays and Drag Brunches are currently in the works, so stay tuned.

How to book: Reserve a day pass online.


Warehouse District

Speakeasy is one of those rare OG downtown spots that's managed to weather the storm over the years and even evolve along the way. Terrace59 is the Miami-esque rooftop lounge upstairs, with white cushioned furniture, DJs, low lights, and epic views. Dedicated bar and cocktail waitresses make this a welcoming destination for the graduated-from-Dirty Sixth crowd, and they even sell cigars if you’re feeling extra swank.

How to book: Reserve online.


Rainey Street

Hotel Van Zandt is home to this upscale restaurant and bar hosting talented live music on select nights. The performers are always top tier (we’ve never witnessed a bad set), and adjacent to the stage is a glittering rooftop pool and fireplace for extra ambience. The bar serves cocktails, beer, and wine, and they’ve also been known to run enticing specials like Whiskey Wednesdays. Keep an eye out for sizzling summer parties with guest DJs.

How to book: Call 512-476-4755 or reserve via OpenTable.

a city at night © Summit Rooftop Lounge

Summit Rooftop Lounge

West Fifth

Transplants missing LA, Vegas, and NYC make a beeline to this open-air, bottle-service-style bar. The swank interior sports a posh feel that, combined with a huge glitzy dance floor, evokes a vibe that is quite literally the opposite of Austin casual—meaning, of course, that guests arrive dressed to impress. The experience is high-energy, with an emphasis on EDM, so plan accordingly.

How to book: Call 702-743-7051 or reserve online.

a bench next to a pool of water © Azul Rooftop Pool Bar + Lounge

Azul Rooftop Pool Bar + Lounge


20 floors above the pavement, Azul Rooftop boasts some of the best views in town alongside a massive selection of cocktails to help enhance the panoramic sights. The deck also has a wading pool, cabanas, fire pits, and plenty of space to snap those coveted sunset selfies.

How to book: Call 512-391-2333 or reserve via OpenTable.

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James Wong is a contributor for Thrillist. 


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