Austin’s Best Music Venues To Visit With Friends

From crowded dive bars to upscale music halls, these venues consistently offer Austin music at its most fun. Austin’s downtown music scene is thriving, but a number of the great Austin bar places are a little further out in east and south Austin.

1. ACL Live in the Moody Theater

This 2,750-seat place is home to the long-running Austin City Limits series on PBS. For tapings of this TV series, free tickets are available by lottery.

National-level acts hold concerts here year-round that is not on the TV show. With comfortable seating, superb sightlines, 14 restrooms, and 12 bars, the Moody Theater is worth the often-pricey tickets.

(512) 225-7999

310 Willie Nelson Boulevard


2. Antone’s

After many relocations, Antone’s has got a new home in downtown Austin music. New blues star Gary Clark Jr. is part-owner of the club, which will be continuing the late Clifford Antone’s dedication to the blues.

The ground floor has a straightforward layout with a bar on one side and the band at the back. The second floor is kept for special occasions. 305 E. Fifth Street.

3. Cactus Cafe

Situated on the University of Texas campus, the Cactus Cafe is an ideal place to see big stars and new artists in an intimate setting. The cafe is simple to miss if you have never been there.

It’s within the Texas Union building near 24th and Guadalupe. Singer/songwriters like Sara Hickman and Darden Smith dominate the program here.

(512) 475-6515 2247

Guadalupe Street

4. Continental Club

Toni Price’s “The Tuesday Night Hippie Hour” includes a cult-like following, but it is the friendliest cult you encounter. Many fans sing along to her country-blues songs and dancing (often badly) on the small dance floor.

Lots of the acts in the Continental Club are mashups of rock, blues, and country, but they are always top-notch bands, all nights in a week. Show up first if you want a seat. They go quick, even on weeknights.

1315 South Congress Avenue

(512) 441-2444


5. Elephant Room

Austin’s jazz headquarters, The Elephant Room has the required ingredients for a superb jazz club: a private basement space, respectful fans, and beautiful music. Showing regular acts like the Jon Blondell Trio and Elias Haslanger Quintet, the bar also brings touring acts from throughout the nation.

The Jazz Jam on Monday nights is an excellent way to find” sampler platter” of some of Austin’s finest jazz musicians. Bands like The Brew add a Latin flair, transforming the basement bar into one large dance floor.

315 Congress Avenue

(512) 473-2279

6. Emo’s

When Emo’s went from downtown to East Riverside Drive, several loyal customers challenged the sense of this move. Anyway, Emo’s is going to be powerful at this 1,700-capacity venue.

Emo’s former location on 6th Street has been famous for its gritty beauty, but this edition of Emo’s could be on to something: It is truly possible to present hard-rocking shows in a clean setting with working bathrooms. The club books a mixture of up-and-coming bands and significant touring performances.

2015 East Riverside Drive

(888) 512-7469

7. Mohawk

People who desire their music with a little more of an edge, Mohawk offers everything from rap to huge metal, also several bands that can’t be classified. Assume a densely bearded crowd and unique events like wrestling and drunken spelling bees.

The multilevel design is at its greatest during mild climate, even when there’s tons of space to roam outdoors at its best.

912 Red River Street

(512) 666-0877

8. Parish

Brooding artist representations tend to congregate at Parish, who books a few of the unconventional and most outrageous bands in the nation. The brick walls often interfere with audio quality, but the technicians usually get the audio correctly set by showtime.

While the club gets crowded on weekends, the bathrooms somehow stay fairly clean at all times.

(512) 473-8381

214 East 6th Street

9. Saxon Pub

Offering a mix of roots rock and country, the Saxon Pub is the gifted soul of south Austin music. The pub attracts music lovers of all ages, and a couple of them are popular.

Bonnie Raitt often pops in when she is in town. Bob Schneider portrays a packed show almost every Monday night, and The Resentments anchor the Sunday night lineup. Curmudgeonly regulars dominate happy hour.

This pub could have inspired these words of wisdom from 30 Rock: “Never go with a hippie to a second location.”

(512) 448-2552

1320 South Lamar Boulevard

10. Skylark Lounge

A dive bar with consistently excellent music, Skylark lounge books regional and local acts well-known acts such as Blues Boy Hubbard and Miss Lavelle White. Lots of the bands are soul and blues, but there is also a smattering of state on the schedule.

This Austin bar serves above-average pizza and hamburgers, and there’s even free popcorn.

2039 Airport Boulevard

(512) 730-0759

11. Stubb’s Bar-B-Q

For an unbeatable combo of music and barbecue, move directly to Stubb’s. The multilevel structure has a relaxing, natural feel, with exposed-brick walls and high ceilings.

The outdoor amphitheater brings major musical acts, while the indoor stage usually confers local artists. Stubb’s pulled-pork sandwich is also a job of art.

(512) 480-8341

801 Red River Street

12. The White Horse

On any present night, the White Horse might include country, bluegrass, conjunto or cajun music. Irrespective of the musical style, the dance floor at this hipster honky-tonk is buzzing with activity.

House bands comprise Rosie Conjunto Los Pinkys & the Ramblers and Two Hoots & a Holler. Dance lessons are given before some weeknight programs.

(512) 553-6756

500 Comal Street