While East 6th Street is the primary downtown entertainment district, the part of the street that lies west of Congress Avenue is also dotted with bars. A cluster of fun bars starts at the intersection of West 6th Street and Nueces. The vibe is a little more low-key and parking is much easier to find than it is on the busier part of 6th Street.
A dog-friendly bar with a large outdoor patio, The Dogwood has DJ-selected music on most nights.
You'll face the same risk of douchebaggery you may find at any downtown bar, but the canine patrons help to keep the scene fairly relaxed. During good weather, the bar has the feel of a festive outdoor barbecue. During the blazing summer heat, though, you may want to take a seat inside at the 80-foot bar. 715 West 6th Street; (512) 531-9062
2. Key Bar
One of the more laid-back bars on West 6th, the venue is mostly one big outdoor patio. This is ideal in nice weather but not so ideal if you don’t like sucking in cigarette smoke—smoking is allowed outside. During cool weather, there’s a nice fire pit to gather around. The bar’s specialty is drinks with little popsicles floating in them. The clientele can be a little heavy on the frat bros at times. 617 West 6th Street; (512) 236-9389
Little Woodrow’s is a no-frills sports bar with a large outdoor area and a party vibe. It’s a high-volume joint focused on selling beer, so expect a few eye-rolls (and slow service) if you order any frou-frou drinks.
Beer lovers will find a solid selection of craft and local brews. The age range of the crowd is generally mid-twenties to early thirties. 520 West 6th Street; (512) 477-2337
No, you don’t come here to trade beers. The “exchange” is as in “stock exchange.” The prices of the beer actually change in real time according to how many of that type are being sold.
A ticker shows the ever-fluctuating beer prices. So, if you want to save a little money, you can drink the less popular beers. It’s a fun gimmick, and the bar attracts serious beer nerds who enjoy trying lots of different beers and opining about them. The bar also features three “brew booths,” each equipped with a television and a directional sound dome. Though the booth isn’t completely walled-in, the sound dome allows customers to hear the selected game over the other ambient noise. 706 West 6th Street; (512) 373-3248
5. Star Bar
Once known as the preeminent singles bar for people in their forties, Star Bar has found a second life as a bustling sports bar. Fans of the Green Bay Packers are particularly loyal to the establishment. The bar is also home to one of the most ridiculous “drinks” ever invented. The Hail Mary is a Bloody Mary with a hamburger, shrimp and other large hunks of food perched precariously on top of the glass with skewers. Once you work through the bizarre pile of food, the Bloody Mary is one of the best in town. The crowd is now a mix of ages, but it still skews a little older than most 6th Street bars. 600 West 6th Street; (512) 477-8551
A relaxing spot to play a little ping pong or foosball while enjoying a beer, Parlor & Yard has a large outdoor area and an airy interior with high ceilings.
You can sit on a sofa and canoodle or perch on a high stool to scope out the crowd. Though it gets busy on weekends, it’s still a much calmer scene than most of the nearby bars. 601 West 6th Street; (512) 524-0466