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Tried And-True Austin Favorite Bars

Updated: Feb 29

We’ve lost many longtime Austin staples to rising rent costs, COVID-19 closures, inflation-related issues and big city growth. Even though we’ll miss our once treasured favorites like Threadgill’s, Dry Creek Cafe, Momo’s, One-2-One, Armadillo World Headquarters and more, these still-standing bars bring back that old Austin charm.

Since 1990, the Saxon Pub has entertained countless Austinites and visitors alike. The award-winning listening room has hosted over 22,000 live music performances, launching the careers of several well-known entertainers over the years, including Bob Schneider and Kris Kristofferson. With free weekday happy hour shows and special weekend performances, Saxon is a haven for up-and-coming songwriters and musicians. Stop by to see a show– you could be watching the next big act onstage!

Rockabilly, honky tonk, and western swing combine under the red neon of the Continental Club. The legendary South Congress venue opened its doors in 1955 and hasn’t stopped rockin’ since. Hailed as one of the best clubs in America according to Rolling Stone, the beloved bar serves up live music and mixed drinks nightly. Catch more intimate performances in the upstairs gallery, where jazz, soul and r&b artfully blend together.

Be sure to get your cowboy boots on before heading to this East Austin honky tonk. Patrons pack the dance floor to hear the best in americana, bluegrass and country-western seven nights a week. Feeling a little rusty on your dancing skills? Check their calendar for weekly two-step lessons that will have you country dancing in no time.

Ever wanted to visit a dance hall, honky tonk and piano bar rolled up into a former train depot? You’ve found the right spot. Pianoman Donn Adelman has been twinkling keys since the Depot opened over 50 years ago – he still plays once a week! Music spanning from country, swing, to rock and roll appeases regulars and newcomers alike. Be sure to come for happy hour every weekday from 2-8pm. All aboard!

Photo by Jen Hamilton Hernandez

Named a Texas historical landmark in 2023, the Broken Spoke is a must-visit for country music lovers. The bar and restaurant has been serving up ice cold beer and chicken fried steaks for over 50 years. Opened by James White in 1964, it’s become one of Texas’ definitive dance halls. Better get to two steppin’!

Photo by Camile Garcia

This family-owned dive bar has been a staple on East Sixth since 1973. A tribute to the rich Chicano history in the neighborhood, the bar’s festive lights and Tejano music make it a local favorite. There’s no fancy menu or food here (save the bar peanuts) as the bar only sells beer and wine. Still, be sure to ask for “The Armodelo” – the bar’s signature take on a michelada. 

The speakeasy-inspired bar specializes in handcrafted cocktails in an intimate (yet welcoming) setting. Located on East Sixth, the bar features an expansive outdoor patio and frequent live music. Opened in 2013, the dog friendly space is a great place for a night out with friends. Remember to head upstairs to check out the cozy mezcal bar!

This South Lamar venue is known for karaoke and live music in a high-spirited space. The outdoor lounge and patio provides a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy its delicious food and cocktails. Catch Matchmaker Band for Motown Mondays from 8:30-10:30 pm, as well as weekly karaoke. Tucked inside the Alamo Drafthouse, it's the perfect spot to sip a drink and catch some live music before heading to your movie!

This Rainey Street favorite specializes in handcrafted drinks and cocktails served up in a lively setting. High-energy PDA Band packs the outdoor stage every Sunday from 4-7pm, while party band favorite Love & Happiness performs Wednesdays from 8:30-11pm. Make sure to order their infamous sangria cocktail!

If you’re in the mood for karaoke, you’ve come to the right place. Tucked away in a parking garage on South Congress, the dive hosts nightly karaoke from 8pm until 2am. Even if you don’t hit all the right notes, there’s no judgment at Ego’s. Come try their tasty drinks and belt your heart out!

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