Since May 1st, Texas restaurants have officially been allowed to reopen their dining rooms at a limited capacity, with bars and breweries following on May 22nd. And the question we’ve been asked the most so far is which places have outdoor seating. Fortunately, Austin is a city of patios, and this guide highlights a few of our favorite breweries around town where you can have a beer outside. Many of these are by reservation only, so you may want to move quickly to secure a spot for your next outdoor hang.
Update 6/26: Following a surge of COVID-19 cases, Governor Greg Abbott ordered all bars closed (takeout is still allowed). There are breweries and bars that technically qualify as restaurants - so some remain open. Others, however, are to-go only. We’ve separated out the list below. Before heading out, however, it is still best to call ahead.
The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company - better known as ABGB - puts out consistently high-quality beers out of South Austin, even earning “Brewpub Of The Year” for three consecutive years at the Great American Beer Festival. They have really solid food as well, from pizza to muffalettas, and a nice, big patio. Tables are currently available by reservation in two-hour windows.
The Brewtorium, the Central Austin brewery/restaurant, has an enormous indoor beer hall and two spacious beer gardens with picnic tables. They're known for their German-style beers like pilsners, lagers, and Kölsch. There's basic pub fare like burgers and reuben sandwiches, but there's also Flammkuchen and "Brat Stickers" (dumplings stuffed with sauerkraut and ground bratwurst).
The beers at Central Machine Works are fine, but we usually find ourselves there for the huge outdoor space and the large warehouse that was previously used to build WWII airplane parts. Now it functions as a beer garden, art gallery, and event space, though events are on hold for the time being. The patio is even larger than the building itself, with abundant picnic tables, fire pits, and benches. They also have a kitchen, selling bar staples like pizza and burgers. Reservations are currently available online for three-hour time slots, in addition to a limited number of walk-ins.
From the folks that brought you Better Half, Little Brother, and Brew & Brew, Hold Out Brewing offers a variety of beer styles, from hazy IPAs to to dry-hopped porters. They also make a really tasty smash burger if you want to give your beer a little company. While the taproom remains closed, patio tables are currently available by online reservation for parties of six or fewer.
This small brewery on the East Side has become a hot spot for lunch, dinner, and everything in between, in large part due to their large patio. By day, they operate as almost equal parts coffee shop and brewery. Their kitchen serves some surprisingly good tacos and tortas, as well as smaller snacks like fried chickpeas and queso fundido. Their taproom remains closed for now, but their patio has lots of picnic tables under light cover from the sun.
In addition to offering up some pretty solid pizza, Pinthouse operates as a brewery, now with three locations around Austin. They brew a variety of styles, but are probably best known for the Electric Jellyfish - a hazy, NEIPA that until recently you could only get on site. Now it’s available in cans, but you can still make a visit to eat some pizza and drink on one of their patios.
With a history spanning nearly a decade, Adelbert’s in North Austin has established itself as one of Austin’s essential breweries. They’re best-known for their Belgian-style ales, staying as true to tradition as possible, even sourcing the majority of their materials and ingredients directly from Europe. Their patio is currently open, as well as the taproom at limited capacity. There’s also a food truck on-premise - Hot Box Diner - with things like wings, queso, and popcorn.
Austin Beerworks is one of the most popular breweries in Austin, with a huge variety of beer styles and an equally large taproom and patio. Their mainstays are pretty widely distributed around town, but they also do a lot of experimental brewery-only releases. While the interior is closed for the time being, their patio is open and available by reservation. Their on-site food truck is currently closed as well, but you’re welcome to bring your own food.
As Austin’s first dedicated sour brewery, Blue Owl brews just about every style of beer with a distinct tart finish. That means sour pale ales, IPAs, lagers, and even stouts. They’re located on East Cesar Chavez and are currently selling beer for takeout or to enjoy on their patio.
Hops & Grain is another brewery on the East Side, with a large indoor taproom and adjoining patio, along with a rotating food truck that changes out most weekends. They brew a variety of styles, but are probably best known for their IPAs and lagers, including the popular River Beer lager. The patio is currently open, and inside tables can be reserved by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opening their doors just a few days before the start of 2020, Hopsquad in North Austin is a relative newcomer. It’s also home to Tsuke Honten - a new food truck that’s currently offering a menu of Japanese-style bites, like garlic chicken wings and chili prawns, but they’re expected to go back to their reservations-only omakase in July. Hopsquad’s taproom is currently closed but they’ve extended their patio out into the parking lot, providing plenty of outdoor seating.
Jester King makes some of the most uniquely-Texas beers in the state, in large part due to their open-air fermentation that collects wild yeast from their sprawling property out in the Hill Country. As a result, no two batches are ever the same, and many border on the edge of sour. The space feels more like a park than a brewery, with walking trails, free-roaming goats, canopies of trees, and picnic tables spread all across the grounds. They have a kitchen as well, with things like pizza and sourdough bread. The taproom remains closed, but the outside tables are available by online reservation, with two seatings daily.
Live Oak is one of Austin’s oldest breweries and probably known best for its hefeweizen - which has consistently been ranked as among the best in the world - but they also make a really fantastic pilsner. They’re currently accepting reservations for seating in the taproom and on the patio for parties of five or fewer. They have a disc golf course that’s currently open on a first-come, first-served basis, and there’s a German food truck for when you inevitably get hungry.
This small brewery near Mueller makes a lot of different beers, but Oddwood really excels with their pilsners, IPAs, and saisons. It’s a fairly quiet neighborhood spot with plenty of comfortable seating and during normal operations, they even have video games available. Currently, the inside is closed, and there’s limited seating on the patio. The food here is simple, but complements the beers well, with things like calzones and bar pizzas.
St. Elmo is one of our favorite breweries in South Austin, excelling at just about every style that they try, from hazy IPAs to raspberry sours. It’s also home to the very popular Soursop food truck, specializing in things like sambal wings and char siu pork belly sliders. They’re currently seating on their patio as well as in their taproom at limited capacity by online reservation.
Zilker is another craft brewery on East 6th that’s become almost as popular as any of the nearby bars. They make a lot of great beers but their hazy IPAs are among the best in town. They’re also home to the Spicy Boys food truck - sister trailer to Soursop at St. Elmo - specializing in fried chicken sandwiches and wings with Asian-inspired flavors. The taproom is currently closed but their patio is open to guests.