401 West 2nd Street
Austin, TX 78701
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-Late, Sun 11am-2pm, 5pm-10pm
Written by: Mark Osborne
Band photos courtesy of Lamberts
In our disposable culture it’s good to see that there are some people who take pride in the architectural heritage of their city. A case in point is Will Bridges and Larry McGuire the co-owners of Lamberts Downtown Barbeque, which is located in the historic Schneider Brothers Building on 2nd Street and Guadalupe. Built in 1873 the building had been abandoned for many years and was slated for demolition until the Texas Historical Commission successfully sought its protection.
The Schneider Building has more than just historical significance for Will, as he recalls sneaking into the abandoned building as a teenager to listen through the walls to the live music being played in the prominent venue, Liberty Lunch, which stood next door. It is the spirit of the music that Will believes lives on at Lamberts.
Music runs deep and strong in Will’s blood; he has been a musician since the age of five, and made his debut at the historic Continental Club at age 12. After graduating from college Will began his quest to open a first class music venue. Despite the economic meltdown, and against the advice of many, Lamberts opened in 2006. Like all new businesses Lamberts struggled initially, but Will and Larry were able to galvanize the support of a few investors who also believed in their dream.
The performance area is upstairs above the restaurant and features the best blues, rock, and country music Texas, and points beyond, have to offer. Will is also conscious of the importance of supporting emerging artists, and many of the featured bands are up and coming talents who have yet to break into national prominence.
The ground floor restaurant is Larry’s domain. Like the music they offer, the restaurant serves up a healthy dose of down home Texas fare. The smell of mesquite and barbeque greet visitors at the entrance—the first hint of the high quality sensory experience that is served both upstairs and down.