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Sippin' in the sun: 9 summer-ready rooftop bars in Austin

(Azul Rooftop/Instagram)

It seems like warm weather is here to stay, meaning it is safe to get excited for summer and it is officially rooftop bar season in Austin.

Whether you’re hunting for tiki libations, poolside refreshments, lounge-worthy cabanas, upscale snacks, historical bars, backyard games or views of Austin’s ever-growing skyline, there’s a rooftop bar for you.

Grab your summer garb and head out for a cocktail at one of these rooftop venues.

77° Rooftop Patio Bar | 11500 Rock Rose Ave.

Nestled in the heart of Domain NORTHSIDE, 77° has long hours so you can soak up some sun or gaze over the shopping center while sipping on a Ruby Slipper cocktail. Open from 3 p.m.-2 a.m., 77° has three floors to roam, light bites and refreshments, multiple hookah flavors and of course, a breezy patio overlooking Rock Rose Ave.

Azul Rooftop Bar and Lounge | 310 E 5th St.

Twenty floors up in the air at The Westin Austin Downtown, Azul Rooftop Bar is the highest rooftop bar in the city. With a heated rooftop pool and spectacular skyline views visible through transparent panels, the bar is reserved for hotel guests or those who purchase a day pass.

El Alma Cafe y Cantina | 1025 Barton Springs Rd.

Just south of downtown in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood, El Alma’s rooftop is only on the second floor but still offers breathtaking skyline views. In addition to its Mexican food created by Chef Alma Alcocer-Thomas, the selection of margaritas paired with heaters and mist fans on the patio make it suitable for every season.

P6 at the LINE Austin | 111 E Cesar Chavez St.

With expansive views of Lady Bird Lake, the rooftop terrace at P6 is located in the heart of downtown. Serving upscale Mediterranean snacks like black truffle grilled cheese or pearl onion hummus, cocktails are available in sharable pitchers for larger groups. This is a popular location so reservations are encouraged!

Rules & Regs | 101 Red River St.

Right near the Red River Cultural District, Rules & Regs sits on the seventh floor of the Fairmont Austin. Between rooftop brunches with Latin-inspired bites, cabanas to rent by the pool, cigars for sale, live DJs and panoramic views, the party never stops at Rules & Regs.

Speakeasy | 412 Congress Ave.

A downtown staple for years, Speakeasy’s Terrace59 is named after the 59 steps you have to climb to get there. Lit palm trees, scenic skyline views, a full service bar and live music await upstairs. The inside of Austin’s “swankiest joint” is fittingly roaring ‘20s themed, even selling cigars inside.

Upstairs at Caroline | 621 Congress Ave.

A colorful, urban backyard complete with lawn games and giant Jenga, Upstairs at Caroline serves all-day drinks for soaking up the sun. Get comfy on the walled-in terrace, catch a game on one of the many TVs, grab some tacos and a local brew and stay awhile.

WET Bar | 200 Lavaca St.

Have a day at an adult water park at the W Austin’s WET Bar on the fourth floor of the hotel. Typically reserved for hotel guests, anyone can get access to the rooftop pool and bar with a day pass or a cabana for rent. Stop by for a happy hour frosé from 12-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday or a weekend drag brunch.

Zanzibar | 304 E Cesar Chavez St.

Tucked inside the Austin Marriott hotel downtown, Zanzibar is a tropical oasis seven stories in the air. With its own private entrance and glass elevator to take you up, the vibes start before you even get inside. A tiki cocktail and island-inspired plates will meet you inside while you gaze over the skyline.


‘Like speed dating of cats’ at Purr-fecto Cat Lounge
Purr-fecto Cat Lounge

Lina Martinez with her newly adopted cat, Emmanuel, who she renamed Sullivan.

Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.

As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.

“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”

Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.

“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”

Actually, a purr-fect idea.

Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.

At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”

Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.

“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”

Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.

“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”

Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.

“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”

Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.

“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”

And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.

“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”

Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.

“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”

Austin's 7 Best Indian Restaurants

We all have those cravings for an amazing butter chicken or some authentic dosas with coconut chutney, but when I was thinking about where I wanted to go to satisfy my taste buds I realized that my list of great Indian food around Austin was surprisingly short. After doing some research and asking around, here is your list of the best Indian restaurants around town.

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