Welcome to Downtown Austin’s favorite speakeasy bar. // Photo Courtesy Garage

The RundownAustin

The Insider’s Guide to Garage Cocktail Bar

By

Garage

4.8 · Cocktail Bar · $

Downtown

Book Now

Before you go to a restaurant, what do you want — or need — to know most? Welcome to The Rundown, a new series in which we share all the essentials about newly opened (as well as favorite) Resy restaurants.

This week, we’re taking a look at Garage, one of Austin’s best (and worst-kept) speakeasy bars, which has been delighting locals and out-of-towners since 2014. Consider the following your cheat sheet to this lauded cocktail destination, whether you’re a first timer or a regular due for a revisit.

 


How hard-to-find are we talking?

If you’ve never been, here’s the drill: Head to the parking lot on Colorado between Fifth and Sixth and keep your eyes peeled — you’ll see the regular “Enter” and “Exit” parking signs, before coming across “Cocktails” painted in all caps. Step in, let your eyes adjust to the dimmed setting, and you’ll spot the speakeasy’s glowing neon sign. And just like that, you’re here.


Look for the neon sign. // Photo Courtesy Garage

Fun Fact:

Garage (the cocktail bar) is housed inside the old valet ticketing office of what was once the garage (the parking lot) of the National American Bank, built in 1964.


What you should order.

The perennial favorite, the Indian paintbrush. // Photo Courtesy Garage.

If it’s your first time, general manager Paul Finn recommends getting the most-ordered drink on the menu: the Indian Paintbrush. Named after Texas’ famous wildflower, it’s made with vodka, grapefruit juice, lime, and rosemary. “It’s the definition of balance,” he says, “You want to return to it over and over.”

His personal favorite, however, is the Old Fashioned. “It’s a classic that has withstood the test of time and you can get a lot of variation with subtle changes,” he explains. Plus, the drink pairs beautifully with the candied pecans (“to die for”), which are part of Philip Speer’s snacks menu.

Finn’s go-to: the Old Fashioned. // Photo Courtesy Garage

Finally, Finn says to look out for a new drink, the Sans Seraph, a twist on a classic Sazerac, featuring high proof bourbon and green chartreuse.


When to stop by for a drink?

According to Finn (who’s been on the team since opening day in March 2014), if you drop by Wednesday, you’re almost guaranteed a more intimate vibe. Otherwise, Friday night’s the time to go, “if you like it more lively and don’t mind a wait,” he says, live music sometimes included.


Pro Tip:

Make that Resy (unless you like waiting)! Old-timers will remember lining up at 5 p.m. on the dot for a chance to get first dibs at the bar.


Best seat in the house?

It goes without saying: One of the 10-or-so stools parked along the curved and tiled white granite bar. Even better if Chris Simpson is around — Finn says Garage’s bar manager brings years of cocktail experience to the bar.

A lineup of drinks at the bar. // Photo Credit: Julie Cope

Garage is open for indoor and outdoor seating Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Friday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Discover More


New on Resy

New on Resy: Mia Italian Tapas, Drop Kick, Small Victory, and More

Photo courtesy of Texas French Bread

The Hit List

The September Hit List: Gin Bar, Texas French Bread, Distant Relatives, and More

Plenty of room at County Line for doggos and people alike.

Guides

The Resy Guide to Dog-Friendly Patios in Austin

Photo courtesy of Small Victory

The Hit List

The August Hit List: Small Victory, Paperboy, Odd Duck, and More

Photo courtesy Shore Raw Bar & Grill

The Hit List

The July Hit List: Lenoir, Hestia, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, and More

Photo courtesy of Summer House on Music Lane

Guides

The Resy Guide to Patio Drinking in Austin

Courtesy of Tiny Boxwoods

The Hit List

The June Hit List: Mattie’s, Tiny Boxwoods, La Barbecue, and More

New on Resy

New on Resy: Arlo Grey, Gin Bar, Ramen Tatsu-Ya, and More

Courtesy of Vixen's Wedding

The Hit List

The May Hit List: Lenoir, Vixen’s Wedding, Golden Castle, and More

The bone-marrow tacos at Comedor.

The Hit List

The April Hit List: Lin Asian, Comedor, Distant Relatives, and More

New on Resy

New on Resy: Garage, Ramen Tatsu-ya Comal, Paperboy, and More

All the pizzas, at Shortie's.

The Hit List

The January Hit List: Arlo Grey, Odd Duck, Shortie’s, Tejas Birria and More

DipDipDip Tatsu-ya is back and ready for winter.

The Hit List

The December Hit List: La Joie, DipDipDip Tatsu-ya, Big Nonna’s, and More

Courtesy Kalimotxo

Guides

The Resy Guide to Holiday Desserts and Pastries in Austin