It’s the time of year when you just want to gather with friends and family – and drink holiday beer! But with COVID-19 determined to ruin the entire year, it can be hard to find safe places to gather, even in small groups. Luckily, the weather in Austin stays mild enough that you can dine outdoors comfortably with a couple of patio heaters and maybe a blanket. Here are 5 of the best restaurants in Austin with outdoor seating and excellent drafts!
1. Easy Tiger
This Austin bakery just opened up a beer garden location on South Lamar (in the location of the old Red’s Porch). They serve up their own delicious breads by themselves, or as sandwiches and hot dogs for a cheap and delicious lunch or dinner. For a vegan option, try the plant-based sausage with sauerkraut and mustard. The beer list is local, extensive, and constantly changing!
Although this location just opened up, Easy Tiger is already one of my go-to best restaurants in Austin for beer because of their beautiful outdoor area. Tables are spaced out, and they do a fantastic job of providing good service with very little contact.
This might be one of the best restaurants in Austin, period! Loro is a partnership between the masterminds behind Franklin’s BBQ and Uchi, so it’s no wonder it has become a hit. And the food is exactly what you would expect from such a partnership: unique asian-inspired bbq. For a vegan option, try the smoked tofu. It’s one of my favorite meals in Austin. The wonton chips with dip are also unique and delicious!
For drinks, Loro serves up plenty of signature cocktails and boozy slushies. But my favorite is their beer list, which is a real who’s who of local Austin breweries. Jester King, St. Elmo, The ABGB, Pinthouse, Blue Owl…they have it all!
3. The ABGB
One of central Austin’s best breweries is also one of the best restaurants in Austin for drinking outdoors! The ABGB makes it onto the restaurant list because they have a wide variety of excellent food – they are so much more than just a brewery. The menu is always changing and always delicious. For a vegan option, try a vegan cheese pizza.
The outdoor area is spacious and cozy. And of course, the ABGB served up their own house-brewed beers! Rocket 100 (a pre-prohibition style German lager) is one of my favorite lagers of all time, and I never pass up the Citrus Stimulus basil sour when they have it. You also can’t go wrong with the Superliner IPA.
4. The Tillery
Every restaurant on this list has something uniquely special that makes it one of the best restaurants in Austin for outdoor drinking. For the Tillery, that special something is the view. This East Austin restaurant is located right on the Colorado River, but far out enough that it seems secluded. If someone asks me for a restaurant with a good view, this is always where I take them! It is unexpected, and cheaper than the gimmicky downtown “good view” spots.
The Tillery makes simple food on a rotating menu, so I’ve never had the same thing twice, but it has always been good. The beer menu is not the most extensive on this list, but they do offer up solid local drafts like Austion Beerworks and Eastciders.
5. The Beer Plant
I’ll make a controversial statement: The Beer Plant is the best restaurant in Austin. It’s definitely my favorite! This entirely vegan gastropub has a rotating menu of seasonal specials that are always amazing. It’s comfort food that doesn’t make you feel greasy. Try the cauliflower wings, the eggplant parmesan, or my all-time favorite: seitan chicken and waffles. And don’t forget about their heavenly desserts!
The beer list is extensive and features plenty of local drafts. The Beer Plant was my introduction to several local breweries, like Blue Owl (now one of my favorites). And you can’t beat their beautiful and festive outdoor breezeway for ambience. It is supplied with heating lamps for winter comfort.