Austin is a town that wears many hats. Austin is the best food town. Austin is the live music capital of the world. Austin is one of America's fastest growing cities. Austin is this and that. One of the things that Austin truly, truly excels at is excellent alcohol. While other cities may have small distilleries, speakeasies, and the like, we have institutions dedicated to the drink.
South Congress is no different. There are killer bars that you must frequent. If you find yourself on South Congress, then you have to stop into these dives and take a sip of the best thing they've got. If you don't, you're depriving yourself of some of the most delicious ales this side of the Mississippi.
Way off the beaten path, away from all the pandemonium of the main South Congress drag, is a classic bar that boasts no frills except good drinks. The Crow Bar offers an incredibly wide selection of drinks to choose from and boasts one of the best Bloody Mary's in town. If you want a bar that is just a bar, with no music, and it's away from most of the hassle South Congress can offer, then this is the one for you.
Crow Bar: 3116 S. Congress Ave. http://crowbaraustin.com/
Little Barrel & Brown
Let's graduate from the divey to the sophisticated. Little Barrel and Brown has more in common with a European riverside restaurant than anything in Austin. Nevertheless, this erudite slice of heaven provides a wide selection of drinks for your sipping pleasure. From the standard drafts such as Live Oak Hefeweizen to the Fournier "Les Belles Vignes," the choices are plentiful and delicious.
Couple this with the high-end selection of incredible food from the kitchen. Little Barrel and Brown excels in the artistry of food presentation. There are few selections as delectably exquisite as the Gravlax Deviled Eggs. Also, feast on quail, oysters, or, if you're feeling a bit more down to earth, get a burger. The choice is yours.
Little Barrel & Brown: 1716 S. Congress Ave. http://www.littlebarrelandbrown.com/
C-Boy’s Heart & Soul
C-Boys Heart & Soul is named after a mainstay in the Austin Blues scene, C-Boy Parks. Back in the day, the man was a music god, running one of the most popular music venues in the entire city. Parks passed away some time ago, but his legacy lives on in this bar.
Fashioned with a sweet mix of 1950's and New Orleans flair, C-Boy's has become one of the best new bars in not just Austin, but in Texas, too. This dive has a wide selection of music and live Soul bands on the weekends. Also, you get to visit the "Jade Room," a lounge that is fashioned after '50s-era GI bars in Japan, complete with sake and Japanese beers.
The Continental Club is a great dive bar with live music playing every night. The drink of choice here is a Lone Star. The attraction here is the plethora of music. Some of their past performers include John Doe, Dale Watson, and Toni Price. Come for a great time and friendly staff. Established in 1957, The Continental Club has grown in Austin's hearts as one of the best local music venues around.
Come ready, though. The joint will be jumping, as the Continental Club is mandatory Austin viewing. It's bound to be packed after 9 PM. There is also a $10 cover charge. However, you will be seeing classic Austin. We're not just talking about classic Austin as in, "Hey, it's nice." This is from some of the formative years of the weirdness. Check it out now.
Doc's Motorworks Bar & Grill is another great choice. Doc's is a local chain, but its divey atmosphere is the perfect medicine for what ales your need. The location on South Congress has both indoor and outdoor seating, with the option to open up their garage door if it feels particularly lovely outside.
If you find yourself at Doc's, make sure to go on a Thursday. Thursday is "Wings Day," where you can get a basket of 8 wings for $5. Couple that with the transcendent taste of Austin Sipper, which is a mixture of vodka, Fleur Elderflower Liqueur, Mexican Fresca, and a bit of lime juice. This killer combination is sure to rev your engine.