While the world’s still wrestling with the realities of COVID-19, our music community is still a great place to experience live music in Austin. Whether it’s classic joints or new, hip locations, music is best enjoyed with a crowd of people. Here’s ten of our favorites.
NOTE: In light of the ongoing pandemic, it’s important to note not every venue has a firm mask policy in place. Restrictions can change show to show at the behest of the artist, so be sure to call ahead before attending any performance and PLEASE stay safe.
Best Live Music Places in Austin, Texas
My favorite Red River club never disappoints. With a unique multi-tiered amphitheater outside and a more intimate stage inside, Mohawk is great for multiple band showcases. It also has solid cocktails and great craft beer, a rarity in many rock clubs. And their lineup is a wonderful mix of local favorites and national acts. A must visit venue.
Located: 912 Red River, Austin, Texas
2/ The Parish
From the layout to the sound to the location, The Parish always manages to impress, especially during busy events like SXSW. Striking a delicate balance of intimate and roomy, there’s ample space to navigate, grab a drink at the bar, and check out some live music.
And while its location smack dab in the middle of Sixth Street may be a turn-off for some, I’d still recommend braving the crazy to check out some exceptional shows.
Located: 214 E. 6th Street Austin, TX 78701
3/ Empire Control Room & Garage
Another multi-stage live music venue in Austin, Empire Control Room & Garage’s sweet location and exceptional selection of artists make it a fine place to visit for the evening, and get barraged by awesome music. This is where I was first introduced to Quiet Company and CAPYAC, among others, so it holds a special place in my heart. Even the relatively tiny Control Room puts on great shows with high-quality sound. Highly recommended.
Located: 606 E. 7th Street Austin, TX 78701
4/ Continental Club
Old school Austin is rapidly deteriorating in the face of urban sprawl and gentrification. The small yet sensational Continental club is one of our enduring musical landmarks. More than a time machine to the days of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Joe Ely, The Continental Club’s intimate layout brings the music close to the listener, providing an experience like none other.
Located: 1315 South Congress Avenue – Austin, Texas
5/ Swan Dive
A lovely blend of dive bar snarl with an elegant smirk, Swan Dive produces great shows with a laid back vibe. During SXSW, this is one of my go-to’s to discover new acts and dig exciting music. Add to the mix a spacious backyard second stage and there’s no reason to avoid this Red River mainstay.
Located: 615 Red River St. Austin, TX 78701
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Best Live Music Places in Austin – Continued
6/ Hotel Vegas
Never mind the punk rock aesthetic, the eclectic schedule, or the incredible sound. Hotel Vegas just feels like an Austin venue. One of the spots I’d sob over if it ever went under, Hotel Vegas is another “must visit” if you need to check out an East Austin show. TC Superstar at Hotel Vegas during SXSW 2019 was a highlight of my festival experience that year and it wouldn’t have been the same at any other venue.
Located: 1502 E. 6th Street Austin, TX 78702
7/ Cheer Up Charlies
Another perennial live music favorite in Austin, Cheer Up Charlies has a heart for local talent. From midnight performance by Moving Panoramas to Mobley’s label signing celebration, Cheer Up lifts up ATX artists in a major way. Just last week, Mamaduke, Melat, Felt Out, Van Mary, and CAPYAC graced their stages. Proof enough Cheer Up Charlies loves locals!
Located: 900 Red River St. Austin, TX 78701
8/ Broken Spoke
Call me basic all you like, The Broken Spoke kinda rules. One of the few legit dance halls left in our fair town, The Spoke may feel like a tourist trap, but spend an evening dancing with the regulars, and your tune will change. At the center of the documentaries, the museum, and the chicken fried steak, are kind hearted people who love the art and connection of a good two-step. And if I didn’t convince you, check out The White Horse.
Located: 3201 S. Lamar Blvd. Austin, Texas 78704
Now in it’s 6th iteration, the modern day Antone’s carries the legacy of its former locations with an awesome blend of blues club cool and ATX weird. Surprising for what’s essentially a rectangular room, the acoustics are astounding. And while most of the shows are ticketed, it’s worth popping in after work to check out their amazing house band. Legend for a reason!
Located: 305 E 5th Street Austin, TX 78701
10/ ACL Live at The Moody Theater
Another live music Austin pick that feels like cheating. Checking out an ACL Live taping is an experience and much of that vibe is thanks to the venue. The acoustics are unrivaled, every seat is a good one, and the artists are first rate. It’s considered an honor to play the Moody and the fact we have an iconic venue on our backyard is something to be respected and appreciated.
Located: 310 W Willie Nelson Blvd, Austin, TX 78701
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