86 Rainey, Austin, 78701, 512/391-1566
The only bar on Rainey Street with a full-time dedication to original Austin music, the Blackheart stands apart from its neighbors as the black band-T-shirt alternative to a suit-and-tie-heavy house bar strip. The wood-planked structure, built in 1889 as the home to Austin’s weighmaster Augustus Basnett, now houses rock, folk, country, and occasionally metal on an 75-capacity indoor stage and a 325-capacity outdoor patio stage. The whiskey-specializing drinkery also hosts a defining residency with delta blues trio Mrs. Glass, which has carried on since the bar opened in 2012.
This tiny place serves reasonable small plates such as blistered shishito peppers with miso aioli and pomme frites with truffle aioli and Grana Padano, as well as some of the most inventive cocktails in town.
200 Congress, 512/827-2760
Irish music, excellent pub grub, and Guinness and Smithwick's Ale by the 20-ounce imperial pint make this a great place to watch sports. Check out six 42-inch hi-def plasma TVs and the 65-inch "ScreenZilla" Mitsubishi in back.
204 E. Sixth, 512/494-1335
Some say the sliders here are the best in town. Happy hour draws a crowd, and so do the 31 TVs for the sports set.
214 E. Sixth, 512/469-0001