Descriptions by Category:

Nightclubs (Live Music Nightly)
Nightclubs (Weekly or Occasional Music)
Restaurants (Frequent Live Music)
Restaurants (Occasional Live Music)
Concert Venues
Other (Piano Bars, Galleries, Dance Clubs, Record Stores & More)

Map listings by Area:

UT Area
Austin Area

Featured Clubs:

Austin Music Hall
Black Cat
Broken Spoke
Cactus Cafe
Continental Club
Electric Lounge
Elephant Room
Hole in the Wall
Liberty Lunch
Saxon Pub

Other Features:

Dance Clubs
Happy Hours
Open Mikes
Out of Town Music
Record Stores

As South by Southwest 1999 approaches like a severe weather front waiting to rain down music on Austin, stage space in -- The Live Music Capital of the World -- starts going at premium cost. If such a trite, bumper-sticker slogan could ever be seriously applied to this town, it would have to be over those four or five days in March when music rises up from the streets at all hours of day and night. Walk downtown during one of those peak afternoons and stick your head into almost any establishment "convenience stores!" and chances are there's some musician with an acoustic guitar and an amplifier standing in the corner singing. And there's people listening. Presto chango, a business that has previously had little or nothing to do with live music has suddenly become a Live Music Venue.

That's what compiling the Chronicle's Live Music Venue Guide was like. Those establishments we frequent like supermarkets to nourish ourselves with music are easy: Antone's, Austin Music Hall, Black Cat, Broken Spoke, Cactus Cafe, Continental Club, Hole in the Wall, Emo's, Saxon Pub. Live Music Venues. But what about Stubb's? Restaurant or Live Music Venue? Both. Jovita's? That one's a little tougher. Or how about Lovejoy's? The Sixth Street pub staple only sponsors music infrequently, and yet they're as rock & roll in mind and spirit as Babe's or Steamboat. What about Blondies? A skate shop by day, Emo's Jr. on weekends. Then there were the music categories for the Web edition of the Live Music Venue Guide. Is the Electric Lounge a rock club? Well, sure, but what about their roster regulars like Mariachi Estrella, Dale Watson, and the Asylum Street Spankers? Eh? ... Exactly. Categorizing clubs and their booking policies was about as easy as categorizing most music. Still, we tried.

What we came up with -- and listed -- were 190 Austin establishments that have live music on either a regular or semi-regular basis. Doubtless there are more; driving home one recent Saturday afternoon, the new Chevron station on the corner by my house was hosting a band outside by the gas pumps to celebrate their opening. Uh, oh. They're not a Live Music Venue? No. We did make judgment calls, just as I'm sure we've made omissions, but this being the inaugural year of the Live Music Venue Guide, that's the nature of the game. We welcome hearing from anyone omitted. Obviously we tried to be as thorough and complete as possible, and as with every guide the Chronicle puts together, a lot of people put in a lot of hours to make it happen. To the shout outs, then.

Nick Barbaro, lead singer of our group, whose vision of a comprehensive guide to Austin drives the Chronicle's special issues. On lead guitar, Kim Mellen, who compiles the paper's music listings every week and knows more about this city's clubs than anyone else in Austin. On rhythm guitar, Leigh-Ann Jackson, who did the work but won't get the spotlight. John Carrico, photographer (bassist?), who shot all the pictures because he's been out in those same clubs shooting music for more years than he'd care to remember. Taylor Holland, a real musician and Chronicle Art Director, kept the beat -- drummer. Backing band: Brian Barry, Michael Bertin, Mary Jane Garza, Jay Hardwig, Christopher Hess, Andy Langer, Gerald McLeod, Kate Messer, Margaret Moser, Marc Savlov, Lindsey Simon, Virginia Wood. You people, hehem, rock!

Oh, and the cover of this week's issue? Liberty Lunch, of course. Don't tear it down.

-- Raoul Hernandez