Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon

Ginny Kalmbach never meant to own a bar. Yet through a few twists and turns, she's quietly become the queen of Austin's honky-tonk scene, and her bar, along with the Broken Spoke, is its epicenter. Seven days a week, live country music fills the room, and there's never, ever a cover. This isn't open-mic material either. This is hardcore honky-tonk country at its best, and acoustically, the room sounds like it was built to host it.

Opened some 40 years ago, Dick's Little Longhorn Saloon was the first incarnation of the Burnet Road bar. Several years after opening, Dick hired a new waitress, Ginny. Over time, Ginny and Dick's family became close. When his wife became sick with cancer, Ginny took care of her. After she died, Dick himself came down with cancer, and Ginny continued with her caretaker duties. When Dick passed away, she found herself a beneficiary in his will. What he left her was his bar. And so Dick's Little Longhorn became Ginny's Little Longhorn.

When Ginny took over in 1982, she introduced regular live music. And not just any live music. Ginny grew up on country music, Eddy Arnold, Hank Williams, Ray Price, and Marty Robbins being among her favorites. So the music was country music, wall to wall, night after night. Regulars include Dale Watson, Jim Stringer, Roger Wallace, and Justin Trevino. Special guests have included the likes of Billy Joe Shaver. Most recently added is Billy Dee. Ginny met him when he came to Austin to play for Dale Watson.

Ginny's is a family bar. Don Kalmbach, Ginny's husband, passed away last year, but serving up cold Lone Stars is their daughter Sharon, who moved back to Austin three years ago. You can find her nightly, working with her mom, and maybe out on the dance floor along with Ginny when things slow down a little.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Graham Reynolds
Wasota Vegan Paradise Is Simple, Savory, Life-Sustaining
Wasota Vegan Paradise Is Simple, Savory, Life-Sustaining
Two local vegans, Lawrence Eguakun and Graham Reynolds, talk meatless meals and The Movement

July 31, 2020

You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
Debussy: A Painter in Sound
What does it mean to be a classical radical?

Dec. 21, 2018

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle