We're called the "Live Music Capital of the World" for a reason!
Any night of the week, at any time, you can catch an open mic, cover band, or truly one a kind band playing. You can walk the streets of Red River, 6th Street, 5th Street, South Congress, or even in the burbs and find live music just around the corner from your door step. Live music runs deep, it's a HUGE part of the culture in this great city I call home.
Before I begin this post, I have to pre-face it with the fact at one time early in my real estate career I invested in a music venue/restaurant off 6th Street. I learned a great deal about the business and my competitors. I spent countless nights in downtown Austin looking over my "investment". The reason I mention this is because I think I can give you a very accurate and detailed portrait of the music and social scene in downtown Austin Texas.
We're host to some of the biggest and largest music festivals in the country. South by Southwest and Austin City Limits, two of the biggest. Heck, we have a festival for just about anything in Austin Texas including Eeyore's birthday from Winnie the Pooh.
Here is a run down of where you can hear some great tunes or enjoy a great evening no matter what your taste and style while visiting Austin Texas!
Sixth Street: Formerly known as Pecan Street, probably the most well known street in Texas. The stretch of bars, restaurants, music venues, dance clubs, tattoo parlors, and gift shops that people refer to when they say they are going to "6th Street", means anywhere between Congress and Red River. At night there is a diverse group of people walking the streets including Tourists, College Students, street walkers like "leslie", and the homeless.
In recent years, 6th Street has become divided, the demographic and social scene changed quiet dramatically from the East side of 6th Street and the West side of 6th Street. The dividing line being Congress. Many residents refer to East 6th Street between Congress and Red River as "Dirty Sixth". However, it's the infamous part of Sixth Street.
On East 6th Street at almost any pub on any given night of the week your sure to hear live music. Some of the big name music venues include The Parish, Flamingo Cantina, Thirsty Nickel, Bling Pig, Maggie Mae's, and the Gibson Room. Don't get confused though, Sixth street is also where you go and get wild and crazy. Although there are some great music venues and restaurants, 6th street is a lot like Bourbon Street in New Orleans. It's one shot bar after another. Needless to say, there are a lot of careless and free spirited people running around. If you're a people watcher you would be entertained at 2:00AM when the bars close. Just watch out for the typical street brawls that occur from all of the heavily intoxicated patrons.
West 6th Street which is everything west of Congress, however, has more of the sophisticated feel to it. The drinks cost more and the crowd is comprised of primarily working business professionals. The socialites are usually at places such as J Black's, Union Park, Molotov, The Ranch, Annie's West, and Key Bar. For the musically sound you can catch them at MoMo's, a long time established music venue in downtown Austin Texas.
5th Street: What many Austinites and socialites call the Warehouse District. Some of the popular night spots and clubs located on 5th Street include; The Hudson, Madison, Beso Cantina, Gruv, and The Marq to name a few. If your looking to hear live music you'll want to be sure and check out Lucky Lounge (Tuesdays are best w/ Boombox!), Red Fez, Antones (Infamous Music Venue), One 2 One bar, and Beso Cantina just to name a few. The demographic of the warehouse district is primarily working business professionals. Although in recent years it has started to draw the younger mid 20's crowd.
4th Street: Also considered part of the warehouse district, the popular music venues to look out for are La Zona Rosa, Ghost Room (new to the Austin Texas music scene), and Cedar Street. 4th Street has more of the sophisticated feel to it. Martini, wine, and coffee bars are more the setting on 4th Street. If your looking to do it big, check out the ultra upscale night club Qua, it has a dance floor over a massive shark tank! Bottle prices start at $300.00. Yikes! 4th Street is made up of more the
affluent crowd. Drink prices are a little too high for most, prices start at $4.50 vs. $2.00 on East Sixth Street.
Red River District: Located on "Red River" between East 6th and East Ninth. These are your hard rock and punk rock music venues. The Red River district has a bit of a tough exterior. At one time it was populated by crack heads and the homeless. Much like time square once was in New York City. But don't judge a book by its cover, right? Well, the Red River District is no stranger to some of the best bands in the country. One of the biggest and most popular venues that has an array of musicians outside of punk rock is Stubbs. During South by South West in 2009 they hosted Metallica for a sold out show. The other big names on Red River include, "Red Eyed Fly", owned by a local Austnite, musician, and good friend of mine. Red Eyed Fly was one of the first venues to have Ghostland Observatory, showcased before they made it big.
Here is a list of the venues in the Red River District: Emo's, Beer Land Texas, Club Deville, The Beauty Bar, Elysium Nightclub, Mowhawk, Headhunters, Plush, Red Eye Fly, Stubbs, The Side Bar, and Creek Side Lounge.
If your into the music scene and hard rock or want to hear a nationally recognized band, check out any of these venues. There are also some decent reviews on YELP.com about each of them.
Also a great local web site to get show times and dates is www.Do512.com or check out the Austin Chronicle.
South Congress (Soco): A very vibrant and hip part of downtown Austin. South Congress is lined with Restaurants, Pizza parlors, funky junk stores, boutique shops, and really unique "Keep Austin Weird" type businesses. During the day its a popular spot for shopping and dining. You can start the day at Magnolia Cafe (try one of their omelets or MAG MUDD!). After you've burnt off some Mag Mudd and do a little shopping at any of the boutique shops like Uncommon Objects, it's time to try out "Hey Cupcake!". It has some of the most moist and delicious cupcakes imaginable! After desert you can do a little more shopping or watch a guy blow glass at Austin Glass Company, which is really cool! If you hang around until late night, you can catch some great live music at the Continental Club, Trophy's, or the Elephant Room.
The Rest of Austin Texas... I said you can catch live music from almost anywhere, right? Some popular music venues around town include, Cactus Cafe, Austin Music Hall, Saxon Pub, Nutty Brown, Broken Spoke, and The Saloon. This is just to name a few of the popular spots around town.
If you're feeling a little overwhelmed as a tourist or future Austinite with all that Austin Texas has to offer, no need to worry. Just call me, I'll help you find the perfect residence, weather a home or downtown condo in Austin Texas, that way you will have plenty of time to figure it all out!