Austin, the Live Music Capital of the World, has been rocking the rafters with live music performances since long before most of us were born. Professed to have more than 250 music venues, no surprise as everything is big in Texas, there are a few with truly historic roots.
Check out some of our favorite spots below that you should definitely put on your radar. Also, the team at The Austin Chronicle puts out a daily calendar of live music that can be found here: www.austinchronicle.com/events/music
The Broken Spoke
photo credit to Yelp user Jennifer Y.
3201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 P: (512) 442-6189
Established in 1964, the Broken Spoke is the quintessential Texas dancehall with all varieties of country music represented. Live music and boot-scootin’ plus beer and chicken-fried steak will satisfy saddle worn wranglers, new age cowboys and cowgirls as well as one night want-a-bees. The Broken Spoke is said to be a favorite of Willie Nelson and who can argue with that.
SAVVY TIP: Don’t forget to sign up for the two-step lessons.
1315 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704 P: (512) 441-2444
The Continental Club has been rocking south Austin since 1955 and is one of the oldest continuously running clubs in all of Austin. It opened during the Eisenhower administration as a swanky supper club, converted to become Austin’s first burlesque club and subsequently became a working man’s blue collar bar on South Congress that opened at 7am. Over time, it transitioned into its current form as one of the premier live music venues in Austin featuring rock, country, jazz and blues acts performed by local and national talents. Frequented by out-of-town guests, the crowd is diverse by all measures.
SAVVY TIP: Check out the no-cover early shows at 6:30 most nights.
photo credit to Yelp user Will P.
801 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701 P: (512) 480-8341
Christopher “Stubb” Stubblefield opened a barbecue and music joint in Lubbock in 1968 after sharpening his culinary skills in the military supervising daily meal preparation for as many as 10,000 soldiers. Stubb’s brought his winning combination of beer, brisket and music to Austin in 1986. The small inside stage gives an intimate vibe which is complemented and contrasted by the large exuberant outdoor stage and amphitheater. Stubb’s falling off the bone TTexas-style barbeque pairs well with all styles of music.
SAVVY TIP: Make reservations early for the renowned Sunday Gospel Brunch.
Antone’s Night Club
305 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 814-0361
During 1975, the Vietnam War ends, inflation in the US drops, yes drops, to a staggering 9.2%, Bill Gates and Paul Allen create Microsoft and Antone’s opens at its original location on 6th street. Opened by 25 year old former UT student Clifford Antone as one of the first music venues downtown, Antone’s is an iconic blues establishment having featured legends like Muddy Waters, B B King, Ray Charles and Jimmy Reed.
SAVVY TIP: You can carry in food from the many great restaurants within walking distance from the east 5th street location.
1320 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 512-448-2552
The Saxon Pub opened in 1990 and has hosted over 22,000 musical performances. Beyond it’s live concert roots it has also been the stage for films, music videos and numerous live recordings. As if the live music isn’t enough, they also offer a great local beer selection that highlights another one of Austin’s great industries, delicious craft beer.
SAVVY TIP: They often offer free weekday happy hour that are not to be missed on Monday-Friday from 6:00 to 7:30. If you are in the area and looking to enjoy some free live music in a historic spot you can’t go wrong. Plus they run happy hour till 7pm!
301 W Riverside Dr, Austin, TX 78704 P: (512) 472-9304
6416 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78752 P: (512) 451-5440
Kenneth Threadgill, a bootlegger and music lover, became the first person to own a beer license in the USA following the end of prohibition with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment. He opened a Gulf gas station just north of Austin in 1933 when Hubert Hoover was President. His mixture of petrol, beer, food and live music kept patrons coming in. Some say Threadgill’s was the beginning of the “Keep Austin Weird” movement. The walls are covered with photos of music legends with Janis Joplin pictures outnumbering all others.
SAVVY TIP: Both locations serve hearty southern style comfort food guaranteed to sooth the soul.