In recent years, the popularity of mezcal has skyrocketed the world over, and Austin is no exception. Thanks to our roots and love for all things Mexican, our city is home to many watering holes and restaurants that specialize in the iconic agave spirit. Whether you are a novice looking for guidance or a seasoned expert seeking the geekiest of bottles, we’ve got you covered.
TECHO MEZCALERIA & AGAVE BAR
While clearing the rooftop storage room of his family’s restaurant, the legendary Mi Madre’s, Chef Edgar Torres and his wife Christina Millan decided to repurpose the space into a tiny but super cute mezcalería. Techo offers a concise selection of agave spirits and expertly made cocktails in a romantic yet laid back atmosphere. Get there early to nab a table on the patio, or sit at the bar and watch the staff prepare their delicious agave-based concoctions. Happy hour Wednesday to Friday features discounts on their amazing signature guava margaritas and micheladas.
Inspired by the old school cantinas of Oaxaca, this low-lit downtown locale boasts a selection of over 400 mezcales and other agave spirits, with a knowledgeable staff that will gladly guide you to pick a favorite or a flight of three. They also shake good cocktails to sip on the back patio while enjoying street tacos from local food truck Asador. And since this is Austin, Las Perlas features a live music program on Friday and Saturday nights, with bands performing reggaeton, cumbia, Latin dub, and chicha.
This bright and comfortable East Austin cantina features a fantastic selection of mezcales and other agave spirits like sotol and raicilla, plus ice cold beers to chase them down. The knowledgeable staff at La Holly is happy to help you choose the mezcal that best fits your taste profile, or they can shake you an excellent cocktail if you prefer. Don’t miss the ample beer garden and a bite from the adorable Taco Flats airstream trailer.
The small space above famed craft cocktail bar Whisler’s turns into an intimate mezcalería—named after a variety of agave from which mezcal is made—on Friday and Saturday nights after 7 pm. The rustic ambiance at Mezcaleria Tobalá will transport you to a rural Mexican cantina while you sip from the expertly curated selection of wild varietal mezcales, served in traditional veladora glassware. Ask the staff for recommendations or pick a flight if you can’t decide on a single choice. Mezcal cocktails are also on the menu, of course.
A longtime downtown favorite, this playful Mexican restaurant features an incredible selection of agave spirits, including tequila, sotol, raicilla, and of course, a huge range of mezcales from many different regions and species, including rare and limited production bottles. Happy hour at La Condesa features half-off all alcoholic beverages Wednesday-Saturday from 4pm-6pm, and Sundays from 11am-2pm with half-off signature cocktails.
A newcomer to the busy South Congress strip, this Oaxaca-themed cantina from the owners of next door Vespaio (and little sister to Licha’s Cantina) is as colorful and vibrant as the mezcal-based cocktails shaken and stirred by the friendly bar staff. The menu at Chapulin features high end regional Mexican dishes from chefs Ryan Samson and Daniel Brooks to complement the ample selection of mezcales and agave spirits.
Fun and funky East Austin shack Licha's Cantina is home to a lively cantina serving Mexico City-style street fare like sopes de lengua and tlacoyos de nopal, accompanied by agave-based cocktails and a changing selection of tequilas, mezcales, and sotoles. Pull up a bar stool and let the friendly staff offer suggestions of their favorite spirits, or grab a table in the colorful patio—the perfect place to gather with friends over drinks and snacks.
This swanky downtown modern Mexican restaurant features a bustling bar well stocked with agave spirits and over 70 mezcales, from well-known labels to rare limited-edition bottles. Drop in for happy hour and sample their signature Pequeño Lorenzo, made with mezcal, Bourbon, roasted pineapple shrub, and fresh lime juice. Pair it with ATX Cocina's tasty bites like a refreshing aguachile and the best guacamole the city has to offer.
This South Lamar restaurant specializes in traditional Mexican home cooking and regional cuisines from Mexico City native chef Marisela Godinez, who curated a small but thoughtful selection of agave spirits including many from women producers. Aside from her talents in the kitchen, she has also created all specialty cocktails - try La Oaxaqueña, her take on a mezcal Old Fashioned, or the knowledgeable El Mesón staff to pick out a mezcal flight for you.
Contributed by Claudia Alarcón
Mexican by birth, Austinite by choice, Claudia has been immersed in the city’s food and beverage scene since her arrival in 1984. After years of working in restaurants she started writing about them in 2000, and has seen the growth transformation of the dining scene from the beginning. In her sparse spare time, she watches futbol, tends her garden, and is an active dog rescue advocate. She lives in South Austin with her fur babies, Benji and Eddie.