Austin's Top 10 Bars and Clubs of 2009

While there are many beloved spots in which to have a few drinks or see a few bands, this year has been busy for new venues carving out their niche in Austin's already overflowing watering hole scene. While looking back it is impossible to ignore the many venues that freshly opened have sustained a loyal crowd right off the bat. With best wishes to the older, best-of, classic bars and clubs in town (we love you, Beerland!), here's a list of the top ten new bars and clubs (as of 2009) in Austin. Here's hoping they make it past the first year to become old standbys.

Updated: March 02, 2010

Raising the Bar


Back Alley Social

303 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78701

This slick-looking place has a not-so-secret entrance (hint: it's in the back), supports local music rabidly, and blatantly encourages dancing to b-sides and rare tunes. One of Austin's most likely spots to book a sitar player.


Bender Bar and Grill

321 W Ben White Blvd, Ste 300, Austin, TX 78704

Metalheads South of Ben White will find solace--a loud, pounding solace--in this comfy bar which slings pub grub, shows sports and movies on its TVs, and has lots of crunchy tunes in its jukebox.


Black Sheep Lodge

2108 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

Metalheads South of Ben White will find solace - a loud, pounding solace - in this comfy bar which slings pub grub, shows sports and movies on its TVs, and has lots of crunchy tunes in its jukebox.


Clive Bar

609 Davis St, Austin, TX 78701

This bar lives in a teeny house in a sweet neighborhood with a great view of downtown's skyscrapers. A The only rule is, the bar has no milk, so please don't ask for a White Russian.


Chupacabra Bar

400 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

This is one bar in which its orange walls are not meant to provoke rah-rah, go UT type sentiments. The orange walls represent a devilish fire, which comes across strongly on the drink menu, which is heavy on tequila.


The Ghost Room

304 W 4th St, Austin, TX 78701

This new venue books bands that come from the old school (like the legendary Redd Volkhart) to bands that are just starting out, but already have a rabid fan base - they call it, "buzz."


The Highball

1142 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

What was formerly a dingy thrift store starkly lit by florescent bulbs has been transformed to a super-cool and inviting bowling alley, lounge, karaoke spot, and event venue. With a full bar and menu of tasty, diner-esque foods, this place had an instant following the day it opened - and is a great waiting room for a movie at the Alamo right next door.


The Liberty Bar

1618 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702

This instantly lovable joint has been blessed with pool and bocce ball, a sweet, huge back patio, and an excellent jukebox. Its proximity to other East Side watering holes make this a key destination among partiers.


Lustre Pearl

97 Rainey St, Austin, TX 78701

This was the first bar to present itself in a lovingly restored old bungalow on the East Side (the second is the Clive Bar, also on this list), and it instantly felt like it had been there forever, and yet why had no one thought of this before? Getting langorously tanked in a de factor grandma's parlor feels strangely natural.