If you look hard enough you can find a “holiday” celebrating almost anything you can imagine. So when we saw that September is International Square Dancing Month we figured we’d mark the occasion by making a list of Austin’s best honky-tonks, country & western bars and boot-kicking dance halls. Some are well known even outside of Austin while others are local favorites worth a visit:
1) Giddy Ups
12010 Manchaca Rd
After 25 years in business, Giddy Ups is hardly up-and-coming but its location on the edge of town in far South Austin makes it a classic honky-tonk that may be easily overlooked. Besides the friendly staff and regulars you’ll find shuffleboard, outdoor beer garden, game room and one of the best jukeboxes in town.
2) The White Horse
500 Comal St
Located in a rapidly-changing East Austin, The White Horse is relatively new and quickly becoming one of the most popular honky-tonks in central Texas. Beloved by the younger crowd it offers: live music 7-days-a-week, full service bar, outdoor patio, pool tables, taco trailer, dance lessons and of course a dance floor.
3) Blackheart Bar
86 Rainey St
Part of a growing trend of new, upscale hony-tonks popping up around the country, Blackheart Bar is located in a restored Victorian home in the heart of historic Rainey St. A wide selection of whiskey, unique décor, outside patio and live music await you at this hip modern bar with old-school charm.
1) Broken Spoke
3201 S. Lamar Blvd
This classic Texas honky-tonk bar, restaurant and dance hall is an Austin landmark and for good reason: it’s been around since 1964 and bills itself as “last of the true Texas dance halls.” Located in South Austin just a few miles from downtown, the Broken Spoke has been the launching pad for country and western musicians such as Bob Willis and His Texas Playboys, Tex Ritter, Earnest Tubb, Willie Nelson, The Dixie Chicks, and George Strait. It was inducted into theTexas Western Swing Hall of Fame in 2010 and features live music, Tuesday-Saturday.
2) Donn’s Depot
1600 W 5th St
All aboard! One of Austin’s most unique nightspots is housed in an old Missouri-Pacific train depot. Real train cars serve as seating areas, and the ladies restroom is a real caboose! Featuring live music six nights a week, Donn’s Depot is the venue of some of Austin’s most talented musicians. Also offers a full service bar, two dance floors, and a just-for-fun blackjack table. Donn’s Depot is a haven of culture and diversity with an eclectic crowd ranging from students to retirees.
3) Dance Across Texas
2201 E Ben White Blvd
As the name states, Dance Across Texas is primarily a dance hall/warehouse with a MASSIVE dance floor and full-service bar. Featuring mostly modern country music provided by a DJ with occasional live bands. It’s open Thursday-Saturday and also offers free dance lessons.
4) The Little Longhorn Saloon
5434 Burnet Rd
For more than two decades, The Little Longhorn Saloon has served as the center of Austin’s honky-tonk country music scene. Have a cold, fresh draft beer for a dollar or two. Happy Hour six-days a week and then on Sunday it’s the you-gotta-see-it-to-believe-it Chicken %@#& Bingo (if you don’t know, Google it). On another night the band might be Dale Watson, Two Hoots and a Holler or Redd Volkeart. Great music and never a cover. All ages are welcome, especially on Sundays– yes, you can bring your kids!