Austin is known as the "Live Music Capital of the World," so it’s no surprise that you’ll find many great live music venues in this capital city of Texas. Check out this list of the top music venues in Austin.
Welcome to Austin, the capital city of the Lone Star State and the fourth-largest city in the state. But Austin boasts another claim to fame. Known colloquially as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” there are literally hundreds of live performances going on at any given night in this feisty Texas town. From Austin City Limits to the annual South By Southwest music festival and smaller shows in between, Austin’s live music scene truly can’t be beat.
Austin is famous for having many great restaurants that also double as music venues, and Stubb’s is no exception. Barbeque restaurant by day and concert hall by night, Stubb’s is an Austin institution that has been churning out great food and even greater music since the 1970s. Stubb’s, named after Christopher B. Stubblefield, began as a small barbeque restaurant in Lubbock, Texas, and eventually relocated to Austin at 801 Red River St. In the good old days, Stubb’s was a haven for such notable artists as Joe Ely, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Muddy Waters, Willie Nelson and John Lee Hooker. Today, Stubb’s still draws well-known acts to its small indoor music stage and large outdoor stage, such as Eels, Cake, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arctic Monkeys, the Decemberists and many more. In fact, Stubb’s often draws some of the most must-see acts during the annual South By Southwest music festival. Stop in for some of Stubb’s world-famous Texas beef ribs, signature jalapeno brisket or pulled pork, wash it down with an ice cold beer and stay for a show that’s guaranteed to be the best you’ve seen in any barbeque joint.
Another small yet well-loved music venue on Red River, Emo’s sports two stages, a small, intimate indoor stage that offers guests a great view of the show from any angle and a larger outdoor stage for nights featuring more popular bands. And for those who are looking to get away from the crowd, Emo’s also offers a spacious outdoor beer garden. Emo’s is famous for drawing a more alternative crowd, and most nights features indie rock, hardcore, punk, metal and alt-country. Since opening in the early 1990s, this colorful venue has seen its fair share of bands take the stage, from local, hometown Austin bands to big name artists like Johnny Cash.
Antone’s, the first club on 6th Street, has been providing Austinites with top-notch blues performers since 1975. Many a famous musician has graced the stage at Antone’s, including B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and Pinetop Perkins. Now at its current location on 5th Street, this legendary venue also features country and rock artists and has played host to such greats as Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, Bono and The Edge of U2 fame. For those looking for a more interactive experience, the venue also hosts the Austin Blues Society Open Blues Jam. Antone’s is the recipient of countless awards, including being named “Nightclub of the Year” by USA Today. An all-ages venue, Antone’s is one of those true Austin landmarks that fully reinforces the notion of Austin being the live music capital of the world.
Located in the heart of the Warehouse District, locals know the Lucky Lounge by its glowing neon signs casting fluorescent shadows onto 5th Street. Featuring staff members and patrons as diverse as the city itself, the Lucky Lounge is known for its refreshing cocktail offerings, offbeat yet chic 60s décor and vibe and top-notch live performers. People-watching is taken to a new level here, as the Lucky Lounge features a unique raised back bar, offering a great view of the stage. The venue features a wide variety of local music ranging from any music genre imaginable, although performances from electronic and world music artists are particularly notable.
- Margaret Price