505 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
Hours: Sun-Thu, 4pm-2am, Fri-Sat, 12pm-2am
Written by: Dan Murray
The Dirty Dog opened in 2005 as a bar catering to the extreme sports crowd, but has evolved into a live music venue with a mixed crowd that includes a strong biker element. The bar is a huge favorite at the annual summer Republic of Texas biker rally.
The Dirty Dog Bar is distinctive for its well-traveled logo, but its real calling card is its sound. “The Dog has one of the best house sound systems in Austin,” says general manager Ben Davis, himself a musician and sound engineer. This sound quality, plus the bar’s 500-person capacity, makes it a favorite venue for local and traveling bands. They “love the sound system; they love playing to the crowd,” Ben says, “A lot of people walk off the stage and say, ‘I never sounded that good.’”
A short list of name acts that have played here include: Down, Reckless Kelly, the Bar-Kays, and Hole. The 2010 Hole show during SXSW may have been the Dirty Dog’s most memorable. It was Hole’s first live show in a decade, and Courtney Love “did it like a rock star,” says Ben. “I won’t go into details.”
The Dirty Dog’s name and distinctive logo were ideas of co-owner Chris “Sh*tty” Weinheimer. Sales of Dirty Dog merchandise are significant, and a Dog T-shirt even got TV camera time during the World Series. Ben confides, “It’s kind of cool being out of town and seeing somebody wearing our T-shirt, and we’re just a small little ‘nobody’ bar in Austin.”