Known as the weirdest city in Texas, Austin is also famous as the self-proclaimed "Live Music Capital of the World." The yearly South by Southwest Festival is an absolute must for aspiring musicians seeking that big break, and fans from all over converge in Austin to see-and-be-seen and enjoy a huge range of live performances. Not surprisingly, there are a multitude of live music venues in this city, but we suggest you only check out the best live music venues in Austin for great music and an even better time!
Scoot your boots to C-Boy's in the heart of South Austin and enjoy the very best in blues, soul, R&B, and new country. Touted as "the swankiest club on South Congress," C-Boy's is a classic neighborhood juke joint with live music downstairs, a roomy and relaxing outside patio, and the sexy Jade Room upstairs lounge, inspired by the Japanese GI bars of the 50's. For a real laugh, stop by on a Sunday for the venerated Austin tradition of Dale Watson's Chicken Shit Bingo with live chickens making traditional Bingo much more entertaining.
Founded in 1974, The Hole in the Wall is nestled against the University of Texas campus and just across the street from the legendary KUTX broadcast station. This nitty-gritty bar and music venue is steeped in music history and celebrity sightings. There are fascinating stories galore, from Leonard Cohen enjoying a cheeseburger on stage and David Byrne's disco dancing exploits to Drew Barrymore's hot date in The Hole's quirky beer garden.
Located in the Red River District, the Mohawk is a hip multi-level space with indoor and outdoor stages as well as a delightful rooftop bar with gorgeous views of nighttime Austin. Beloved of locals and visitors alike, this live music venue features daily happy hours where you can enjoy a huge variety of local craft beers and small batch spirits. The Mohawk hosts not only up-and-coming local bands and national tours but also beard competitions, weddings, film events, and much more. As they proudly announce on their website, all are welcome!
Founded in 1871 as a shady mercantile where you could get almost anything and renamed in 1955 as the Scoot Inn, this historic live music venue features two bars, a dog-friendly outside patio, and an eclectic mix of indie music. The Scoot Inn recently celebrated their 145th anniversary and is still going strong as one of the most beloved dive bars in Austin. This Eastside icon has two full-service bars, free street parking, food trucks, and an event calendar full of some of the area's best live music offerings.
A stalwart of Austin's burgeoning Warehouse District, Cedar Street Courtyard serves up live music every day of the week and is one of the favorite venues of the SXSW festival. Featuring a sunken courtyard that's perfect for intimate sets, it also boasts an extensive cigar and wine selection, and their highly skilled bar staff shakes up some of the best martinis in Austin. Check out their events calendar for a smorgasbord of live acts from jazz groups with a big-band style horn section to party-centric 70's and 80's cover bands.
A fixture of the East Chavez drinking scene, Stay Gold offers an extra-long weekday happy hour that ends at 8:00 p.m. and tasty specialty drinks like the El Diablo. Stick around after happy hour to check out the bands and hang out on their expansive patio, both perfect for a night out with friends. Hangry? Get down with Toaster, not your ordinary food truck, offering a delicious new take on comfort foods like French toast and baked mac and cheese.
Whether you're a longtime local or just popping into town for a quick visit, you definitely need to check out Austin's best live music venues!
Cover photo courtesy of Zachrie Friesen on Unsplash