2901 Fruth Street
Austin, TX 78705
Hours: Mon-Sun 7am-2am
Written by: Isabel Stewart
What started as a neighborhood coffeehouse has transcended into a slamming mixed music, art and performance venue with multiple stages, bars and a life of its own. “This building has a soul. You’ve got to respect the house,” says manager and musician Dustin Bolf. “Spider House is a place where a thought can become a thing.”
Indeed, when owners John and Conrad turned the former college-rent house into a coffee shop in 1996, their intention was to create a hang-out environment for friends. Now all the things Austinites revel in most have become incorporated into a location that has since expanded into a neighboring building: more than a mere coffeehouse, Spider House also offers food, a full bar, live music, art shows, outdoor movie screenings and a unique shared experience among the eclectic rooms and patio gardens. The neighboring venue and extension of the Spider House, now known as the 29th Street Ballroom, offers a medium-sized performance space separate from the main house.
Renowned for its stylish hipsters and study-worn college students, Spider House also draws artists, musicians, creative professionals and just about any other type of person any time of the day. The stages, lighting and décor also transform periodically. According to one regular, “This place is always changing. There’s something new going on every day.” With up to five stages and three to five performances per night, the two buildings and art-strewn areas adapt easily to variety.
Popular acts that have performed here include: The Sword, Paul Collins’ Beat, The Flesh Lights, Tia Carrera, and Jimmie Vaughan. Resident bands Bobby Jealousy and The Lonesome Heroes play weekly. Regular parties are scheduled for Wednesday and Sunday nights. “We’re a neighborhood bar so I want people to come here thinking they’re at a house party,” Dustin shares. “We’re extending our arms into the community to incorporate all the talented artists that are coming up around here.” Many young bands are drawn to the venue for its reputation as a breeding ground for success, and a reliable paycheck.
Over the years Spider House has been an evolving hotspot of Austin culture. Whether hosting an artisan yard sale or a bawdy burlesque show, the corner of 29th and Fruth Street is now an iconic part of the Lone Star city. The owners continue to build on the venue’s capacity with plans to increase available seating. The talent managers are also interested in adding to the variety of entertainment, as well as cultivating audiences for their current resident bands.