Source: Yelp user: Don R.
Adjacent to UT, Nasty’s has all the necessary elements for a great dive bar: coin-operated pool tables, darts, and an enclosed outside patio—perfect for chilly nights. While the dive has the typical selection of draught beers, they also provide a decent selection of crafts and locals true to Austin style. What separates Nasty’s from the rest of the bars on this list is their hip-hop Monday nights with DJ Mel—a must-see for anyone who ever pines for the days of after-hours dancing at the skating rink.
606 Maiden Lane, Austin, TX 78705
Source: Yelp user Paul D.
So low-key you might have to circle back around the block to find it, G&S Lounge blends right into the South 1st landscape. Walk inside and it’s a whole other story. With as many pinball machines and arcade games as a Celebration Station (remember those?) as well as more grown-up games such as billiards and darts. The bar has a decent selection of whiskey and beer, but you’re definitely going there for the bells and whistles.
2420 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Source: Yelp user Tim Y.
LaLa’s Little Nugget
Famous for its yearlong Christmas décor, LaLa’s is a North Austin staple and the perfect place to grab a whiskey on a cold night. Also enjoy pool tables, foosball, and an old-fashioned jukebox for the dive-y experience beyond the fluorescent atmosphere. A bit reminiscent to New Orleans’s infamous 24 hour dive Snake and Jakes, you’ll be entertained by the variety of characters who roll in and out of this eclectic watering hole.
2207 Justin Ln, Austin, TX 78757
Source: Yelp User Joe P.
You know Side Bar is a dive because no matter how sunny it is on an Austin summer day, you walk in and it’s dark as Hell. On the other hand, Side Bar possibly has the best patio of this list. Large and open with plenty of picnic tables, it’s a great spot to meet up with large groups—or to run into someone you already know. Drink prices are reasonable, so grab a pitcher and catch up.
602 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701
Hole in the Wall
Since 1974, Hole in the Wall has been the heart of live music on the Drag. Somehow, it has survived the Urban Outfitterization of West Campus and still provides cheap drinks in low life with great music. Now with an East Side King trailer, you have no reason not to make this a stop on your tour of Austin’s best dive bars.
2538 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705