3201 South Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
Hours: Tue-Thu 9am-12am, Fri-Sat 9am-2am
Written by: Michael Blanton
James M. White broke ground in September of 1964 in preparation for his dream of building the quintessential Honky Tonk that would be known for miles around. A short time later that reality came calling along with the masses, who traveled from far and wide to experience that which is the Broken Spoke. It’s a place known for showcasing such acts as George Strait, Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubbs, and the king of Texas swing himself, Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. These days you’ll find that country music is still alive with acts like Dale Watson, 1100 Springs, and Two Tons of Steel.
Forty-six years later the Broken Spoke remains true to the ideas it was founded on. Five nights a week, from Tuesday through Saturday you’re guaranteed to be greeted with a smile, and have the best chicken-fried steak in Texas. It’s then time to dance the night away with both types of music, country and western. For those that are two stepping-ly challenged, dance lessons are offered from 8pm – 9pm for only $8, and don’t be shy, at the Spoke everyone’s dance partner is everyone else. When asked why live music is important, Mr. White replied, “It’s just always a good time when you get the best girl or man, have some cold beer and good whisky…and dance all night to some country music.” Amid the cowboy hats, stomping boots, random “aww haws,” and autographed photographs of everyone from Dolly Parton to Troy Aikman, you’ll find James White’s personal collection of various Texas music memorabilia, a cigar butt smoked by Bob Wills himself, and the old tour bus that once belonged to the Texas Top Hands parked outside, as if they never left.
The Broken Spoke is a name that is recognized nationwide. Mr. White says, “We’ve showcased 20 Country Music Hall of Fame artists, [been] voted the Best Honky Tonk in Texas by Texas Highway Magazine, and Best Dance Hall in the Nation by Entertainment Weekly.” From Lone Star beer to sweet sangria, the Broken Spoke bleeds Texas.
This incredibly unique venue is a must see for any Austin visitor, and like Mr. White always says, “We ain’t fancy, but we’re damn sure country.” See y’all at the Spoke!