311 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
Hours: Tue-Sat, 8pm-2am
Written by: Dan Murray
The 311 Club’s backbone is live R&B with a no-cover, no-frills approach that’s time-tested. Bars fall in and out of the music scene on 6th Street, but the 311 Club has kept a steady and sure beat since 1994, and certainly without flash: the 311 is narrow and spartan, with sparsely decorated brick walls, a small stage and a barebones sound system; chairs and tables are limited; and the drinks fall into the college crowd’s price range.
The club is open Thursday through Saturday nights, and features touring and local R&B musicians. Co-owner Joe Valentine fulfills some of the booking duties and plays often himself. Joe brought his blues and Louisiana roots to Austin in the mid-’60s, and has been a fixture on the Austin bar scene ever since, running nightclubs all over town. “The music that he plays, you can’t find anywhere else on the strip,” 311 Club manager Mike Martinez says. “You come to the 311 Club to hear good R&B/Motown music and get a good drink…Every six months or so there’s a new club opening or shutting down, but the 311 Club just sticks with its gig and lets the rest of the 6th Street clubs come and go…We do what we do.”
Swiftly moving toward its 3rd decade in business, The 311 Club has become a mainstay, with every prerogative to consider itself the only true R&B bar on 6th Street.