The Happiest Hour: Ranch 616

Though its fried-and-true Southwestern menu is typically too indulgent for my liking, when it comes to work happy hours or football weekends, Ranch 616 is usually part of the equation. To be fair, one hardly needs to twist my arm to sip on one of the restaurant’s famed Ranch Waters. Consisting of Hornitos Reposado, Citronge and lime juice on the rocks and a Topo Chico on the side, the heady cocktail is both strong and delicious.

Ranch 616 Ranch Water - $10

Ranch 616 Ranch Water – $10

Ranch 616 recently updated its drink menu to include a drink similar to the legendary Texas Chili Parlor Drew Drink. The ‘Autumn Water’, consisting of Kettle One, Topo Chico, cranberry and lime, is a refreshing alternative to the Ranch Water for tequila adverse happy hour attendees. Not sure exactly what makes this cocktail autumn-esque, but there is usually falling involved after too many of the aforementioned Drew Drinks, so we’ll go with it.

Ranch 616 Autumn Water - $11

Ranch 616 Autumn Water – $11

Moving from drinks to eats, it’s hard to go wrong with the house favorite ‘The Don Combo’. The hearty plate of fried calamari and fried Gulf oysters served with chipotle tartar sauce and green goddess dressing is a perfect partner in crime to the salty Ranch Water. While the calamari is always crispy and flavorful, it pales in comparison to Ranch 616’s juicy, crunchy Gulf oysters.

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Ranch 616 The Don Combo $12

My main issues with the West 6th Street establishment come when trying to decide what to order next. For the most part, Ranch 616’s entire menu is equally as decadent as the Don Combo, which makes for a gut check of a happy hour in the sweltering Texas heat. With dinner and lunch specialties including fried quail, chicken fried tenderloin, and the daily stuffed ‘framed’ burger, Ranch 616’s is the quintessential Texas guy’s restaurant, and I’m just drinking in it.

And, speaking of cocktails, Ranch 616 unfortunately does not have happy hour drink specials, but it makes up for it with its relaxing patio, intoxicating concoctions, and overall crowd appeal. However, buyer beware; at $10 a pop, the only thing as dangerous as alcohol effects in drinking one too many Ranch Waters is the accompanying bill.

Ranch 616, 616 Nueces Street, Austin, TX 78701. 512.479.7616. http://theranch616.com

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