Austin’s 6th Street and 4th Street areas are home to the majority of the city's rooftop bars, but there are also a few others scattered around the city.
If you're looking for relaxed vibe and amusing people-watching, the Bling Pig's rooftop bar is your best bet on 6th Street. Your vantage point from the roof is only one story above the street, so you'll have an excellent view of the shenanigans. Plus, there's usually live music on the roof. Two more bar areas downstairs maintain the laid-back neighborhood pub atmosphere. 317 East 6th Street, (512) 369-3358
One of the oldest bars on 6th Street, Maggie Mae’s has been in business since 1978. That’s no small task on 6th Street, where some bars change names and ownership every few months. The rooftop bar is huge, raucous and wild. Don’t go here for a quiet date, but if you’re looking to blow off some steam and get a little crazy, this is the place to be. It’s an excellent spot for uninhibited dancing and watching the drunken crowds below on 6th Street. In addition to the rooftop bar, there are several other bars and cubbyholes of varying sizes in the same building. There’s even a semi-intimate pub on the first floor. 323 East 6th Street; (512) 478-8541
It takes a little work to get to this rooftop bar, but it’s worth the effort. You have to climb a long stairway from the first floor to the third floor/roof. On top, you’ll find cozy couches and a close-up view of the downtown skyline. Bands often play on the roof, and there is usually another band on the ground floor. The second floor has a small bowling alley. 412-D Congress Avenue; (512) 476-8017
One of the best places to view a sunset in Austin, Red’s Porch overlooks the hills of west Austin. It’s also an above-average place to get dumped, which I can attest to (but I digress). I’m a big fan of the Border Burger, which gets its spice from serrano peppers and pepper jack cheese. As suggested by the name, there’s a super-relaxed vibe here. There’s an outdoor area on the ground floor where you can play corn-hole or horseshoes. 3508 South Lamar Boulevard; (512) 440-7337
You can play giant Jenga or ride on a seesaw at this small, quirky bar. The handlebar mustache theme is strong; some might say obnoxious. It appears that the bartenders are pretty much required to have an over-the-top ’stache. A massive TV screen attached to a brick wall looms over the outdoor seating area on the second floor. Old horror movies are often featured. Since the bar is not right on 6th Street, it’s a little less crazy here, and you can hear yourself drink, I mean, think. 121 East 5th Street; (512) 344-9571
People either love or hate the 1950s airport theme, but the open-air rooftop bar is hard to beat. The DJ plays mostly thumping dance music, but if you want to shake your booty, and your taste in music is not too snooty, this is a good place to cut loose. 318 Colorado Street; (512) 474-4264
You should also check out the best bars in Austin.