1320 South Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78701
Hours: Mon-Fri 2pm-2am,
Written by: Emily Niewendorp
Away from the bustle of downtown Austin, but in the heart of Texan spirit, Saxon Pub has been an ever-evolving listening room and neighborhood hangout since it opened in 1990. The Saxon Pub’s allure is time-tested; its American roots music and friendly bar atmosphere attract assorted crowds and has seen many a musician move on to rewarding careers in the past decades.
“We brought the Saxon Pub back,” says the venue’s owner Joe Ables. He recalls that the original Saxon Pub dates back to the late ’60s, “[It] was one of the very first live music venues in Austin…and it launched the Austin careers of Michael Martin Murphy and Jerry Jeff Walker…and a guy walked in here and said, ‘This reminds me of the old Saxon Pub.’ So we took it.”
A hearty ‘pub’ community in combination with music that jibes with their heritage, the Saxon Pub provides Austinites with a merry package. A statue of a towering knight (brought over from another bar) greets you at the parking lot entrance, adorned with a custom-made shield that become the pub’s logo.
For many folks, this is where they go out every week, where the music is always country, blues, or country rock. Construction workers stop by during the day; waitstaff drop in after their night shifts to unwind; tourists come and go.
The venue’s manager, Leah, points out that “we are a bar between a printing shop and a guitar store, and a place where they repair cars is just a little bit down the street, so I think that we are always evolving. And part of that for us, as a music venue, is always looking for new talent in this town. Because there is a lot of it, we are always keeping our ears open, not doing the same thing week after week.”
You never know who is going to show up at the Saxon Pub. Musicians that can draw crowds of over several thousand people still cherish the intimacy of this room. Bob Schneider has an ongoing residency; John Evans, Los Lonely Boys, David Griffin, and Glen Phillips from Toad the Wet Sprocket also play this venue. Other artists like Kinky Friedman and Donovan have dropped in. One of Sunday night’s big events is a singer-songwriter circle with The Resentments, a loose group of seasoned musicians who bring in special guests.
“Everybody likes music right. I’ve always loved going to shows, loved going to concerts and here the sound is so amazing and this is a listening room, you are close to the artists.” — Manager, Leah