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The 11 Best Bars in Waco

From whiskey to wine and cocktails to craft beer, these bars in Waco are always worth visiting

Visiting Waco never disappoints – our vibrant Texas city is full of amazing locations and venues that cater to every mood.

Waco has something for everyone, whether you crave a cup of coffee, a can of craft beer, or a glass of whiskey.

Welcome to Waco’s lively night scene! From historic family-owned bars to modern nightlife spots, it’s time to indulge in the sweet flavors, aromas, and essences of Waco bars.

Let’s check out the best 11 bars in Waco, TX.

Cheers to Waco: Exploring the 11 Best Bars in Waco, TX

There’s always something interesting to see, visit, and explore in Waco, TX.

While some visitors to Waco are drawn to iconic locations like Magnolia Table, owned by Fixer Upper stars, others seek to immerse themselves in the enchanting nightlife scene the city has to offer.

Wacoans, Baylor students, and even Bears returning home for a basketball game are into a wide variety of drink options, such as Texan whisky, craft beer, and cocktails that evoke the warm essence of Southern Texas.

This creates a diverse array of drink establishments in Waco, and now, we are going to fill our glasses with the richness of Waco’s bars.

The following list consists of 11 handpicked bars and nightlife spots to visit in Waco, TX (in no particular order).


1. J.S. Barnett’s Public House

If you are a whiskey enthusiast who also wants some food while enjoying fine drinks, then we have found the perfect place for you: Barnett’s Public House.

Barnett’s Whiskey House, located at 420 Franklin Ave in downtown Waco, is an Irish-Texan bar with the largest whiskey collection in Texas: there are over 1,200 different whiskey varieties to try.

They also offer great food and great service to make your visit to this place even more fun than expected.

From craft beer to whisky varieties and an award-winning brunch menu, it seems like J.S. Barnett’s Public House is one of the most fun, interesting, delicious, and unique places you can visit during your trip to Waco, TX.


2. Putters Mini Golf and Sports Bar

Putters is more than a bar – it’s an entertainment venue where everyone can have fun and nice drinks!

Putters, located a couple of blocks away from the downtown area, offers the best bar games to play with your friends and family. There is indoor mini-golf courses, arcade games, fairly good drinks, and more.

Keep in mind that kid-friendly experiences are available until 9:00 PM, but Putters remains open to for adults until 2:00 AM. All in all, the staff is super friendly, and the drinks are great.

If you want to go to a sports bar to have fun with your friends but don’t feel like dancing or sitting for hours, then Putters is certainly one of the best alternatives to try in Waco, TX.


3. Waco Ale Company

Waco Ale Company is a family-owned brewery focused on showcasing the essence of Waco through their own delicious beers.

The Waco Ale Company offers some of the best local craft beers around, including Pearly Gates, a pale ale with notes of guava, passionfruit, mango, blueberry, and pine.

However, the beer menu is incredibly varied and full of delicious flavors that vary from orange notes to traditional Mexican spices.

Waco Ale Company is located a few steps away from the iconic Waco Hippodrome Theatre, so you can kill two birds with one stone by going to this widely-known bar spot. 

Moreover, the friendly staff will make you feel like a Waco local, even if you are a tourist exploring the city for the first time. If you are looking to try award-winning craft beer varieties, then the Waco Ale Company will not disappoint you.


4. Valley Mills Vineyards

Are you ready for an enchanting road trip through Central Texas for some award-winning wine? Valley Mills Vineyard is located around 30 minutes from downtown Waco, and it offers some of the best wines in this area of Texas.

Plus, the wonderful staff at Valley Mills Vineyards offer not only amazing wines and charcuteries, but also private tours of their wine-making process (reservations are required).

The wine tasting, educational experience costs $20 per guest, and it includes a small tour around the vineyard to learn the procedure followed to craft some of the most delicious wine varieties that cater to Texans, Wacoans, and tourists alike.

The wait staff is friendly and ready to assist you, so don’t hesitate to plan a short trip to this relaxing, interesting, and renowned location.


5. Dichotomy Coffee and Spirits

Dichotomy Coffee and Spirits offers coffee, spirits, and a wide variety of cocktails recognized as some of the best in Waco.

Dichotomy is located in the downtown area of Waco (508 Austin Ave), and the coffeeshop-plus-bar is open to the public all day long.

Feeling like tasting uniquely brewed coffee options? Go to Dichotomy! Wish to try unique and hard-to-find cocktails and spirits? Dichotomy has got you covered.

Dichotomy is open every day of the week, so don’t miss out on some of the best drinks that Waco has to offer. The food menu is great for morning snacks, but we are here for the drinks – try the Arakasa Tower (house specialty) or Sakura Spritz if you want to get the full Wacoan bar experience!


6. The Backyard Bar Stage and Grill

The Backyard Bar Stage and Grill, also known as the Backyard Waco, is a massive outdoor bar, restaurant, and nightlife spot where locals and tourists can get a wide variety of drinks while also experiencing exciting live entertainment shows.

The Backyard Bar Stage, located in the downtown section of Waco (near the Magnolia Market), offers great outdoor seating spots, bar games, specialty drinks, and some of the most delicious BBQs around.

This place, with its great atmosphere, fire pits, and live music at night, is a vibrant spot for memorable moments in Waco.


7. Truelove Bar

Truelove Bar is a full-service bar with indoor and outdoor seating areas located at 414 Franklin Ave.

This spot is renowned for its frequent live entertainment, with free performances taking place almost every weekend.

However, Truelove Bar also offers vibrant karaoke nights and a varied food menu based on traditional Mexican dishes.

They say clubs and bars aren’t the best places to find love, but who knows? You might inadvertently meet your “true love” during your Waco trip! Truelove Bar is open until 1:00 AM every day of the week, so there’s no reason to miss out on this wonderful place in Waco, TX.


8. Balcones Distilling

Balcones emerged from a passionate desire to create an original and authentic whisky right in the Heart of Texas, and now, this place has turned into a must-visit location for whisky lovers who visit Waco.

Balcones Distilling, located on 11th Street, specializes in uniquely crafted spirits and whisky varieties that range from annual releases to commonly known drinks, such as Texan Rum.

You can visit this spot on a Saturday afternoon and learn about Texan flavors in the tasting room, but you may also drop by Balcones any day of the week (except Sundays) to try their drinks.

Keep in mind that kids are not allowed during distillery tours, so this is an adult-only location that caters to visitors looking to indulge in the uniquely Waco notes of these whiskey drinks.


9. Bare Arms Brewing

Bare Arms Brewing has a title that no other place in Waco can claim – they are the oldest continuously operating brewery in Waco, TX.

As soon as you enter Bare Arms Brewing, you will notice how this veteran-owned bar has some of the most amazing local brews around.

Located on La Salle Ave, Bare Arms Brewing is easily accessible and provides visitors with seasonal, special, and commonly known brews that Wacoans enjoy all year long.

The variety of flavors at Bare Arms is interesting and delicious, including their newest offering, the Habanero Valhalla IPA, which combines classic IPA flavors with spicy habanero pepper notes.

There are tens of brews like this one at Bare Arms, so if you are a beer enthusiast, you’ll certainly want to pay a visit to this widely-known bar in Waco, TX.


10. One Day Bar

Great environment, simple yet captivating flavors, and darn good drinks that’s the motto of One Day Bar, a place that pays attention to every detail to offer a cozy, elegant, and attractive drinking experience in Waco, TX.

One Day Bar is a great place to meet friends for a chill drink after work or end your night of exploring the Waco bar scene scene to its fullest. Their small yet premium cocktail menu is sure to impress all visitors.

One Day Bar is nestled in the heart of Columbus Ave – good food, an aesthetic environment, and nice drink options are waiting for you here; “see you one day!


11. Wine Shoppe

A unique, elegant, and oh so friendly environment full of natural wines. Wine Shoppe, located just on the edge of downtown Waco (at 18th St. and Austin Ave.), is a must if your wish is to try wines one can’t find anywhere else.

An importer of natural wines, Wine Shoppe prides itself on its friendly, helpful staff, wide selection, and tasty options. While this shop is not for those looking for a sweet Moscato, it is the definitive location in Waco for those in search of wine offers that can’t be beat and a bartender who knows what they are talking about. Any wine question you have, the Wine Shoppe staff can answer!

Open Tuesday through Saturday for afternoon and evening drinks, this is a unique destination sure to leave a lasting mark on the adventurous, experience, elegant, and curious wine drinker alike.

Summary: Best Drinking Spots in Watco, TX

As night descends upon Waco, this Texan city will always have something special to offer visitors and locals: from delicious restaurant locations to vibrant bars with tasty drinks, Waco is a cool place with a night scene that never fails to captivate our senses.

Whether you are eager to try the unique flavors of Texan drinks or simply are looking for a place to relax, Waco’s bar essence will always deliver. This is a summary of the best 11 drinking spots in Waco, TX:

  1. J.S. Barnett’s Public House – Texan-Irish bar focused on whiskey drinks. 
  2. Putters Mini Golf and Sports Bar – Vibrant entertainment venue with bar games and standard drinks. 
  3. Waco Ale Company – Popular local brewery with diverse and unique beer offerings.
  4. Valley Mills Vineyard – Remote vineyard with taste tours, premium staff, and picturesque landscapes.
  5. Dichotomy Coffee and Spirits – Trendy and recognized spot with unique coffee offerings and specialty cocktails.
  6. The Backyard Bar Stage and Grill – BBQ spot with outdoor entertainment and classic drinks to enjoy with friends. 
  7. Truelove Bar – Full-service bar with karaoke nights and frequent entertainment options.
  8. Balcones Distilling – Perfect distillery for whiskey enthusiasts who visit the Lone Star State.
  9. Bare Arms Brewing – Oldest brewery in Waco with varied, unique, and interesting beer flavors.
  10. One Day Bar – Cozy and elegant spot with a limited yet highly premium cocktail menu.
  11. Wine Shoppe – Unique, elegant, and oh so friendly, this natural wine shop offers tasty bottles you won’t find anywhere else.

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