NIGHTCLUBS Weekly or Occasional Music

Bob Popular
(6th-12) 402 E. Sixth, 478-3352.

18+Liquor Served Always a Cover

Formerly Toulouse, this multi-floor, multi-theme dance club/karaoke haven still thrives on the college crowd and occasional live music. And don't let the gargantuan slice of real estate fool ya, the stage and showroom are intimate, meaning it's a great place to see shows from all things Eighties (A Flock of Seagulls, the Outfield). Best of all, they've become the best old-school hip-hop revivalists around, bringing in not just Run DMC and Sir Mix-A-Lot, but also, yes, Vanilla Ice.

Chaparral Lounge
(C-41) 5500 S. Congress, 441-9008.

allBeer and Wine Served Always a Cover

Low ceilings, cheap longnecks, and a sidewall shuffleboard table give the Chaparral the feel of an old Texas roadhouse --think Little Longhorn South, except with more elbow room and a polished wood dance floor smack in the middle of the place. You can scrape up that purty floor to country & western on Friday nights and Tejano on Saturdays, or just sit on a barstool if you'd rather. Nothin' fancy about this joint, but then it's built for folks who like it that way. Since 1990. Capacity 385.

Club Latino
(C-34) 1907 E. Riverside, 441-2999.

Food Served 21+Liquor Served Always a Cover

Tucked into a shopping center on Riverside, Club Latino focuses mainly on broadcasting sporting events from Mexico on their large-screen TVs. They also have a DJ. They'll bring in a live band only three or four times a year for special events. It's definitely a Mexicano crowd.

Crazy Lady
(E-16) 3701 N. I-35, 478-2444.

21+Liquor Served Always a Cover

The only true burlesque club left in Austin. Blues and Burlesque Night on Monday with topless gals in a vaudeville revue and live music until 2am.

Dog & Duck Pub
(UT-5) 406 W. 17th, 479-0598.

Food Served variesLiquor Served Never a Cover

If you can get those loathsome TV commercials out of your mind, the Dog & Duck Pub has been one of the better watering holes in town for a decade, attracting an array of customers from students and musicians to politicos and local celebs. Its hunter green interior is suitably dark for a limey pub in the heart of Texas, and both the front porch and the outdoor beer garden are likely to be full during happy hour. In warm weather months, the Silver Thistle Pipes & Drums wheeze out Highland reels and airs to the delight of listeners, who drag chairs into the parking lot to watch. One of the people-watching spots in town.

Draught Horse Pub
(C-23) 4112 Medical Pkwy., 452-6258.

Food Served 21+Beer and Wine Served Never a Cover

Beer. And lots of it -- a few of them are even brewed on the premises. Tucked into a neighborhood near Central Market, the Draught Horse (est. 1992) is shelter from the downtown storm. The live music here is spotty, but when it happens, it tends to be low-key and indigenous of someplace else; Spot, legendary producer of Hüsker Dü and others, once played in a traditional Irish band here.

El Pepe's Polka
(C-33) 1523 Tinnin Ford, 326-2000.

21+Liquor Served Always a Cover

This place has been around a long time and at one time was the only place in town that played any Tejano music. It has changed names and clientele many times, but it still manages to offer live music every weekend for a mixed crowd.

(D-16) 214 W. Fourth, 457-0172.

Food Served variesLiquor Served Never a Cover

In less than two years, this authentically furnished Irish pub has become a favorite drinking spot for anyone with Gaelic lust. Sunday nights are particularly worthy, as local Celtic musicians gather for a weekly Irish session that often includes dancers. Beware the ever-encroaching frat crowd, though, perhaps one reason Fadó's formerly traditional kitchen menu recently took a turn to more fried food. Still, more than one native of the Emerald Isle has given the place a thumbs-up, with what is perhaps the ultimate compliment: "They know how to pull a pint of Guinness." Slainté!

Fat Tuesdays
(6th-15) 503 E. Sixth, 474-0632.

21+Liquor Served Always a Cover

They make fruity frozen drinks here by the dozens. Fat Tuesdays is part of a national chain that began in New Orleans and has fit in comfortably on Sixth Street. The spacious indoor/outdoor venue has live music on an irregular basis, and when it happens, it's usually more in the cover band vein of things, although the odd Eighties band on a reunion tour passes through from time to time. Run DMC played there last year to a crowd of 100 in what had to be one of the best roadshows of the year.

Little Longhorn
(C-17) 5434 Burnet, 458-1813.

allBeer and Wine Served Never a Cover

On a largely commercial strip of Burnet, right by the Arby's, the Little Longhorn is easy to miss. Walk in on a Thursday night, however, when the back pool table by the jukebox is the only place to stand because Dale Watson has the natives riled up on Lone Star, and you won't forget it any time soon. Live music being somewhat infrequent at the Little Longhorn, it's a fine north-central outpost bar for those quiet nights you don't wanna be at home.

(6th-14) 604 Neches, 477-1268.

21+Liquor Served Never a Cover

Lovejoy's has always been a bit hesitant about presenting live music, but it's only because they don't want to mess with the fact that they've always been a live music venue in spirit -- with comfortable couches, rotating art displays, pool tables, and mix 'n' match tabletops that simply scream "rock & roll." While they occasionally offer country or punk shows, Lovejoy's is still the best place on Sixth Street for musicians and live music fans to sit and talk -- something $2 draft specials, 120 brands of bottled beer, and their brand spankin' new liquor license fosters quite well.

Lucky Lounge
(D-13) 209A W. Fifth, 479-7700.

21+Liquor Served Never a Cover

The best place to grab a drink before going to Antone's is also a better-than-average happy hour venue on weekends -- sporting a decent-size stage and great sound for acoustic or small band performances. Weekend nights get crowded with folks looking to see and be seen, and it's no secret amongst musicians and folks looking to escape live music for a few minutes that Lucky's weeknights are generally the coolest no-frills, no-pretense slice of normalcy in the otherwise uppity warehouse district.

(D-24) 217 Congress, 479-5094.

Food Served 21+Liquor Served

Until last June, Meneo was called Palmeras, and had been for the past nine years. Not much has changed since then, as the two-story club still mainly attracts the dance crowd, but twice every month Meneo is home to salsa and merengue bands that make the trek up from as far as Mexico City to play on the patio (which can bump the capacity from 600 to 800 people). Food is offered only at lunch Mon-Fri, but the new management hopes to extend itself to include happy hours some time this spring.

(D-31) 716 Red River, no phone.

allAlways a Cover

It's 3am and that tiny white pill the funny little man gave you is making your head feel like the inside of a Daft Punk track. Time to go home? Yeah, right. Head on over to this smallish (200-plus capacity) DJ venue for some early morning house, jungle, and trance. Founded by the people behind the Texas Electronica Festival, the Microlounge is where candyravers go to shake that groove thing one last time before retiring their oversized pupils for the night. Massive, loud, sweaty beats until dawn.

(UT-19) 606 Maiden Lane, 453-4349.

21+Liquor Served

It's been a bar since 1952, and it's been everybody's favorite neighborhood bar for the past 14 years. Pool tables, a regular West Campus clientele, and cheap drinks make Nasty's an Austin classic. "It's a chilled-out, laid-back little dive bar," says owner Jack Blume. DJ Mel, Austin's best hip-hop DJ, scratches your eyes out every Monday night, and varied bands take over the rest of the week.

Ringside @ Sullivan's
(D-23) 300 Colorado, 495-6504.

21+Liquor Served Always a Cover

If it's cigars and smooth jazz you're looking for, there's no place classier than Ringside to enjoy them. The raised stage in the corner, behind a sunken semi-circle bar, is the perfect gin-joint setting for the easy sounds of swing and lounge music. The conversational din and open setting make this more a meeting room than a listening room, but a quality martini and their outstanding menu -- which offers a glimpse of the fare at the adjoined Sullivan's Steakhouse -- give Ringside the edge for a sophisticated air.

The Saloon
(C-44) 1502 W. Ben White, 442-8885.

21+Liquor Served Never a Cover

Count this nine-year-old neighborhood bar among the last of a dying breed. No concept, no gloss; neon beer signs are just about all you get in the way of decor. You got your rock & roll, your blues, your country, and your karaoke. 'Nuff said.

Scholz Garten
(UT-2) 1607 San Jacinto, 474-1958.

Food Served allBeer and Wine Served Never a Cover

An Austin landmark since 1866, Scholz is popular with both state lawmakers unwinding after a long day and UT football fans gearing up for one, and with two indoor rooms and a spacious back deck, Scholz can hold lots of either crowd (capacity 750). Starting in May -- every Wednesday -- the Wurst band will again be playing oompah music, and about that time (post-SXSW), Scholz will also start booking other acts on a more consistent basis

Silver Dollar Dance Hall
(C-39) 2201 E. Ben White, 441-9101.

variesLiquor Served Always a Cover

The boot-scootin', line-dancin' modern country dance emporium Dance Across Texas switched ownership and name last year, but not much else has changed for this lonely southwestern saloon east of I-35 on Ben White. For better or worse, this is one of the only strongholds of contemporary Nashville sound in town, bringing in the occasional big name like Tracy Lawrence.

Stardust Club
(C-46) 11940 Manchaca, 280-8590.

21+Liquor Served Never a Cover

This spacious two-year-old bar with adjacent banquet-room-for-hire exudes South Austin heart and neighborhood bar charm (even though it's smack in the middle of nowhere, two miles south of Slaughter on Manchaca). Cal spins karaoke on Thursdays, country bands play on Fridays, and jazz, classic rock, and blues bands rotate on the Saturday night slot.

Tejano Ranch
(C-19) 7601 N. Lamar, 453-6615.

Food Served 21+Liquor Served Always a Cover

It was 1994 when owner Joe Stanke saw his City Slickers country dance bar slip into the red, put his ear to the ground, ordered up some new neon, and opened as the Tejano Ranch. These days, the spacious Ranch is one of the top Tejano clubs in the state, anchored by a top-flight DJ, a sizable dance floor, and more cow skulls than you can shake a bajo sexto at. Currently Thursday nights are reserved for live bands: In the past years, Michael Salgado, Jay Perez, Ram Herrera, and La Tropa F have all dug in at the Ranch, playing to crowds approaching 500

Victory Grill
(E-11) 1104 E. 11th, 474-4494.

Food Served 21+Beer and Wine Served

Built in 1945, the Victory Grill has been a deep-rooted East Austin landmark despite E. 11th Street's ups and downs. Its stage has been graced by performers from Bobby Bland to Ike & Tina, and still offers some of the best jazz music and theatre in town. BYOB.

(E-8) 1122 Airport, 926-8074.

Food Served 21+Liquor Served

From the same folks who opened Whitley's Lounge, with a soul food cafe and nightclub, featuring live music, DJs, dancing, and pool.

Water Tank
(C-11) 7309 McNeil, 331-9831.

21+Liquor Served Never a Cover

For 20 years, the Water Tank has been seated in the shadow of an actual water tower in a North Austin neighborhood where one would not normally expect to find an R&B/karaoke bar that often caters to a similarly unlikely crowd: computer geeks. Mondays are dedicated to acoustic jam sessions; Wednesdays and Thursdays offer local soul acts; Saturdays they host open R&B jam sessions; and the other days of the week, you're the featured talent.