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If Austin-area jazz lovers feel ignored, it is justified; the local music scene, multi-faceted as it may be, has always neglected their genre of choice. However, what the region lacks in quantity, the Elephant Room more than makes up for in quality. It has been deemed as one of the finest venues in the country by none other than Wynton Marsalis (and subsequently honored by a unanimous resolution of the Texas Senate for having earned the jazz legend's admiration). The appeal stems largely from the club's unceasing lineup of regional favorites, touring greats, and, once in a while, plain ol' jam sessions consisting of anyone who cares to take the stage.
Located on the UT campus, this small dark cavern is a singer/songwriter paradise. The venue attracts local artists as well as nationally recognized ones. Acoustic combos also play here. The Cafe is rather small, so the acoustics are great and the audience is filled with both devoted music fans and the university crowd. It can be difficult to find; call ahead for walking directions on campus.
With its little stage having played host to some big names over the decades, Hole in the Wall has long been regarded as one of the city's most storied venues. Today, it mostly serves as a launching pad for local up-and-comers ranging in size and genre from 9-piece bluegrass bands to individual singer-songwriters. And although the nature of the crowd itself is subject to similarly sudden shifts (this often being a function of the performing schedule), the bar's proximity to UT brings in a steady flow of students and associated youngsters, most of whom come in for pitchers of Shiner and Lone Star.
A lively hangout for those in the neighborhood, The White Horse is known for its eclectic music and tasteful drinks. Located at Comal Street, the club lies to the east of downtown and exudes a rustic charm. Serving whiskey on tap, The White Horse hosts several live music shows and gigs. Drop by during the weekend to witness the crowd grooving to country music and reasonably-priced alcohol.
This renowned blues hall showcases a variety of music in the genres of blues and rock. Bands from home and afar play here in hopes of gaining national attention. Stevie Ray Vaughan used to be a regular and Willie Nelson sometimes makes a cameo appearance. This live music venue provides an upbeat atmosphere for all ages and lifestyles. Dance up front to the band or relax in the back with a cold long neck beer.
Broken Spoke is a western honky-tonk that was established in 1964 and rapidly became an Austin favorite for country-western dancing. The “Spoke” is true country in a real dance hall with a real wood-plank floor. Watch cowboys and locals two-step the night away to live bands from around Texas. This dance hall provides an excellent atmosphere for those just learning to two-step or die-hard country fans driving in from the ranch for the weekend. Practice the Polka, Texas Two-Step or the Chicken, and be sure to try the Cotton-Eyed Joe. There is also a restaurant that serves traditional country food like chicken fried steak.
This bar provides multi-level entertainment. The ground floor offers live cover-band music; passers-by can look in and see people dancing to the hits. If dancing is not your thing, sneak next door for a beer in the adjoining beer hall, or head upstairs to the more-than-ample patio overlooking the Sixth Street crowd, which may include a celebrity or two. Maggie's is famous in Austin for their motto T-shirt: "Beer. It's not just for breakfast anymore."
This is an intimate venue for those with sophisticated taste. From jazz to house, from acid rock to rap, from shoegaze to dub, the Parish Room runs the musical gamut. Touring acts such as Smog, Guided By Voices, Autechre and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have graced the stage here. Texas artists Sub Oslo, Lift To Experience, Explosions in the Sky, the Swells and more have also played here. This is the ultimate haven for music lovers and party animals.
A hip concert venue, Emo's is home to regular shows and live music events. Located on East Riverside Drive in East Austin, it draws huge crowds during major events and shows. While showcasing a range of contemporary music concerts, it also rents out its facility for private events like parties and receptions. To see their upcoming schedule, please visit website or call ahead.