A modern music space in a former auto shop (hence the name), Empire is an enormous 15,000 sq ft venue with three stages. A place to chill or rave – both indoors and outdoors – it specialises in warehouse-style dance parties, best served under the hot Texas sun.
“The concept was simple,” say the owners of one of Austin’s most popular music spots. “The kind of bar everyone wants to go to. A nice laid-back place to kick back, maybe bring your dog, hear some live music, and hang out.” Add open mic nights, volleyball and Texan barbecue and you’ll understand why it’s still one of the hottest tickets in town.
If jazz is your thing, look no further than The Elephant Room – an intimate underground barroom on Congress Avenue. It hosts live music seven nights a week, with a choice of more than 20 draft beers to oil your pipes during the trumpet solos.
Nicknamed the “Home of the Blues”, Antone’s on East 5th Street first opened its doors more than 40 years ago, and remains an iconic part of Austin’s soundscape. Over the decades it has played host to blues and R&B royalty like B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed and Buddy Guy, and continues to attract big national and international names today, as well as showcasing the best up-and-coming local talent.
A spectacular modern venue, The Moody Theater is also home to the legendary ACL Live series. With the capacity to hold 2,750 fans, the concert hall/recording studio hosts an estimated 100 concerts and 100 private events a year, as well as the “ACL TV” tapings – the longest-running music series in US television history.
6. The Mohawk
Built and driven by a tribe of local musicians, The Mohawk draws its inspiration from Native American culture. Recently renovated with entirely recycled materials, it boasts two stages, multiple bars and “rooftop rocking capabilities”. Previous performers include Iggy Pop, The Black Keys, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, Moby, Vampire Weekend, Fleet Foxes and Green Day.
Austin’s star all-rounder, the White Horse is popular with everyone from students to hipsters to country music fans, who come here to enjoy everything from conjunto (Latin American music) to country to blues. The saloon is famous for its dangerously cheap house special, the Two-Step, which comprises a shot of whiskey and a Lone Star beer. And while the bar-goers vary wildly, they all have one thing in common: they’re having a darn good time.
SEE ALSO: Essential guide to Austin, Texas
– TEXT BY JONATHAN THOMPSON
PHOTOS: GEOFF DUNCAN, AUSTIN CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU, MOONTOWER SALOON FACEBOOK, ANTONE’S FACEBOOK, THE MOODY THEATER FACEBOOK, THE MOHAWK FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.