Honky-Tonk Heaven

13 things to love about the Broken Spoke

Two steps to heaven: Last Saturday night at the Broken Spoke
Two steps to heaven: Last Saturday night at the Broken Spoke
photo by John Anderson

It’s not quite as dense as the Louvre, but the Broken Spoke packs as much museum as honky-tonk and restaurant. Here’s a baker's dozen of its more charming aspects.

1) The Museum. It’s funky and dusty and lo-fi, but it’s also a heartfelt, unassuming tribute to Texas country music.

2) Dance Lessons. Well, yeah! You’re at the Spoke, so you must be there to dance! Not sure how? For $8 a person, you too can learn to two-step. Line up at 8:15pm Wednesday through Saturday and get ready to shuffle.

3) Rowdy. It’s not the atmosphere, though it gets that way sometimes. “Rowdy” is the name of the stuffed cowboy at table 14. Kids love him, but he spooks the occasional tourist.

4) The sign that reads YCHJCYAQFTJB above the bar. You go right ahead and ask what it means.

5) The Bus Crash Bar. It’s true, in 2005, the Geezinslaws’ tour bus crashed through the northeast corner of the club near the stage and sat for several days. A bar commemorates it.

6) Debra Peters’ Accordion Roundup puts a squeeze on the front room monthly – Tuesdays.

7) Women’s bathrooms in the dance hall use Texas state flag shower curtains as privacy dividers.

8) The mural behind the stage of Willie Nelson and Leon Russell.

9) The jukebox. Sounds best around 5pm before the band starts.

10) Big ol’ attic fans to blow air-conditioning around the sweaty dancers. And ladies’ skirts!

11) All those cases with exhibits like a Western saddle and Nudie Suit.

12) Ancient promo photos of real Western stars like Tex Ritter, Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Bob Wills, and others all over the walls.

13) Alvin Crow & the Pleasant Valley Boys still play once a month and never forget Doug Sahm.

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