South Austin has a new hub for local music and fun at The Far Out Lounge & Stage. When I first saw the groovy, ’70s-style signage and marquee announcing live music at the familiar brick building in far south Austin, I immediately made a U-turn and rubbed my eyes to make sure I wasn’t imagining things.
It’s real! It’s really happening! The Far Out seemingly sprung up overnight at “the old Red Shed,” as south Austinites have called it since the dive bar shuttered last year. After the venue’s brief stint as Nicolaza’s, owners Pedro Carvalho and Bae Anthon hired booking agent and Austin music scene insider Lawrence Boone.
With Boone on board, Carvalho and Anthon set their sights on music and reinvented the space as The Far Out. If the crowds are any indication, they made the right call. South Austin was ready for a new groove.
I personally couldn’t be more excited about The Far Out! Sure, we all love Sam’s Town Point and Giddy Ups, but both the variety and quality of music here has Austinites taking notice.
My heart jumped for joy when I saw one of my favorites, Tomar and the FCs, would be playing at The Far Out. The always delightful Peterson Brothers packed the house during a Wednesday night residency in October 2019. And Black Fret 2019 nominees The Watters are holding down the Wednesday night residency through November 2019 (minus the day before Thanksgiving).
The local darlings of Wild Child, fest favorite Calliope Musicals, a string quartet, a blues band, and a punk rock band have all graced the stage at The Far Out. The bar is putting finishing touches on the indoor stage because, yep, winter is coming.
The Far Out has already held a few shows indoors, due to our fall cold snaps. Boone tells me they’re working on perfecting the sound and experience indoors, too. Recent shows by Wild Child and Calliope Musicals had to be hurriedly moved indoors, making for a more intimate atmosphere.
The Far Out transformed the barn structure in its large back yard into a stage. The team hired local SpraTX artists Erk Ross and Skele to paint the right colors, put in a top-notch sound system, and hired savvy sound dude Secret Steve. Speaking with Carvalho and Boone gave me the sense of excitement about the place and its south Austin feel. I dig the good juju.
Boone and Carvalho both live in the neighborhood and wanted a super welcoming place where everyone (and their families and dogs) could feel at home. The front room has been set up like a living room, and the place certainly has a homey feel. The back yard at The Far Out has never looked better, with cheerful yellow paint, old growth prickly pear cacti, assorted chairs and tables, and a food truck (opening soon).
Like another south Austin success story, The Little Darlin’, The Far Out Lounge & Stage seems to “just get” south Austin. The ’70s aesthetic, diverse music programming and drink menu, and casual feel of the place seem right.
The vibe should sit well with both long-time south Austin locals and newly initiated southies. It’s definitely a whole mood, if you know what I mean. The kind of mood involving lots of smiling.
Carvalho and Boone chatted with me about their vision and how they’re building that dream. Both are long-time south Austin residents. The Far Out is in far south Austin, as the area south of Ben White is known. We all know Austin’s changing rapidly, though far south Austin is holding onto its weird, local, community feeling for dear life.
The Far Out respects that. Carvalho explained, “Having a super welcoming, inclusive space in south Austin was real important to us. We didn’t want to drive out anyone out with the price of cocktails or the feel. We want to keep the spirit of the space.”
With that in mind, The Far Out has an extensive menu ranging from your inexpensive standards, such as Lone Star and Jack Daniels, to a selection of hard-to-find mezcals and rotating menu of craft cocktails. Music is at the heart of The Far Out in more ways than one. Carvalho himself moved to Austin with a band, “years and years and years ago,” and immediately put down stakes in the neighborhood.
He continued, ” The music focus at The Far Out is huge. South Austin felt like home because I feel like that’s where a lot of us musicians live, where we can afford to be.” Boone got on board early on, and his extensive experience in music booking helped The Far Out’s music program level up quickly.
Boone worked at many of Austin’s well-known stages, such as Hotel Vegas, The Scoot Inn, Mohawk, and even UTOPiAfest. I get the feeling he knows every musician in town. It’s fun to talk music with him. He’s clearly in the know, yet truly a fan of all these singers and musicians, and their bands.
Boone and Carvalho together, along with Anthon, are building a solid foundation for music at The Far Out. They’re already booking strong local favorites who have their own fan bases, which has to be a good thing for bringing new blood into the bar. They’re also booking some interesting bands coming through on tour.
The Far Out has music from Wednesday to Saturday nights, and it’s usually free. Look out for special events on the horizon, too:
- They’ve held a couple of local vendor/artisan markets and plan to have more.
- They hosted a Neil Young Tribute showcase recently and a Sofar Sounds “secret” show.
- They’re putting on a day party/artisan market on Nov. 23, 2019. Local bands Wild Bill and the Lost Knobs, The Rubilators, and The Sideshow Tragedy will all play at that one.
The Far Out has a pool table in the front room and large screen TVs for movie or game nights. There’s a food truck in the back yard called Far Out Food that is currently undergoing a facelift. It’s run by local BMX and skateboarding legend Scotty Mescal, formerly from Austin Land and Cattle. Look for reasonably priced classic bar food, such as burgers, but also a few fun, inventive dishes. We’ll update you when it opens.
The Far Out is open Sunday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to midnight, and Friday and Saturday from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. The bar is updating its website, so for now its social media pages are your best resources for schedules and such.
I’m so happy to have such a cool south Austin music venue in my neighborhood. They’ll be seeing a lot of me in the near future–and beyond!
8504 S. Congress Ave. – Facebook
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