SXSW 2021: Music

Music Venue Guide 2019

18th Over Austin

500 N. I-35

Restaurant space on the 18th floor of the Hilton Garden Inn, located within walking distance to the Austin Convention Center.

3TEN Austin City Limits

310 E. Willie Nelson Blvd. Ste. 1-A

This sister venue to ACL Live at the Moody Theater has a 350-seat capacity and includes an outdoor patio and state-of-the-art tech. Its intimacy calls to mind Austin City Limits' original Studio 6A on the University of Texas campus.

720 Club

720 Club Patio

720 Red River

Two-story club used to house metal venue Headhunters.

by David Brendan Hall

AFS Cinema

6406 N. I-35 Suite 3100

Located 6 miles from Downtown Austin, you’ll need more than walking shoes to get to this faraway venue (the SXSW Shuttle doesn’t stop here, either). But it’s worth the trek to see this swanky, two-screen arthouse theatre, a passion project of the Austin Film Society and its founder, Richard Linklater.

by David Brendan Hall

Antone's Night Club

305 E. Fifth

Clifford Antone opened the first version of his global brand in 1975, and after several relocations, Austin's Home of the Blues found a new lease on life in 2016 behind local luminaries including Gary Clark Jr. The new 400-capacity room still houses blues legends and nurtures emerging talents, and the upstairs gallery holds another 300 for special events. Archival photography from Susan Antone and others testifies to the club's indelible history.


86 Rainey St.

Austin whiskey bar/music venue the Blackheart may be gone – it closed in April of last year – but music will still be played in its former place. 75-capacity indoor stage and a 325-capacity outdoor patio stage.

Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater

310 Willie Nelson Blvd.

Looking for one of Austin's most modern concert venues? Locate the big bronze statue of Willie Nelson across the street from City Hall, and look up. Opened in 2011 as part of the W Hotel, the design of the all-ages venue took the floor plan of PBS mainstay Austin City Limits' original Studio 6A on the UT campus, and built up to create a 2,750-capacity theatre. The show is still recorded there, hosting legendary performances by Bill Monroe, Angelique Kidjo, and Radiohead, while the state-of-the-art venue attracts some 100 touring shows a year. During intermissions, the balcony plaza affords a stylish view of Downtown. 18+.


Banger's Basement

79 Rainey

Celebrating sausage on Rainey Street, this friendly biergarten has become a neighborhood staple. Great outdoor space, accommodates 722.

by David Brendan Hall


Barracuda Backyard

611 E. Seventh

Rising from the ashes of the ill-fated but beloved Red 7 in late 2015, Barracuda keeps the Red River vibe alive. Punk, metal, indie rock, country, hip-hop, and everything in between welcome here on the refurbished stages. Indoor services 198; backyard tops at 246.

B.D. Riley's

204 E. Sixth

What's an Irish pub without Irish music? Named after first-generation Irish immigrant Bessie Dee Riley, it retains a bit of Old World charm before descending into the shot bars of Dirty Sixth. Capacity: 159.

by David Brendan Hall


711 1/2 Red River

Beerland’s cheap beer and loud music have been a recipe for success since 2001 when this cozy Red River cave opened. The roughly 200-capacity club has since become favored ground for punks and garage rockers.

The Belmont

305 W. Sixth

Swanky is the watchword for this West Sixth special event venue. Boasts three full-service bars, a rooftop deck overlooking the stage, and room enough for 1,000 sweaty bodies.

British Music Embassy @ Latitude 30

512 San Jacinto

Downtown dance bar plays host to the British Music Embassy’s official showcases. Capacity = 155.

Buffalo Billiards

201. E. Sixth

Wild West meets pool hall in a historic building set squarely in the middle of the Sixth Street circus. Capacity = 480.


92 Rainey

Boasts big backyard, an outdoor bar, and a chill atmosphere. Capacity = 400.

Central Presbyterian Church

200 E. Eighth

Though known as Central Presbyterian Church since 1983, the congregation signed on to this property in 1871, and its formation goes back another 32 years before that. That makes the building one of the oldest venues in town. The 450-capacity sanctuary has been a SXSW venue since 2006, and has only two rules for musicians: Don't drink, and don't break the stained glass windows.

by David Brendan Hall

Cheer Up Charlies

Cheer Up Charlies Inside

900 Red River

The fun, gay uncle of the Red River bar and live music scene, Cheer Ups is one of the most cheerful, inviting, and beloved venues on the block. Featuring random rainbow art, unicorns, and funkiness all around, the vegan bar serves a creative blend of cocktails (kale lime gingerita), as well as local beers, organic teas, and kombucha on tap. Outside, the limestone-dressed stage remains home to a variety of eclectic events, from craft nights to karaoke, Peaches to John Legend. Inside stage fits 100; outside squeezes in 885.

Clive Bar

609 Davis

Clive Bar was one of the first bars in the burgeoning Rainey Street district; the outdoor stage presents live music on weekends. Capacity = 423.

by John Anderson

Continental Club

1315 S. Congress

The legendary Continental Club opened in 1957. Thirty years later, Steve Wertheimer took over the club as an anchor for the best touring and local Americana, rockabilly, and swing music anywhere. Capacity = 299.

Cooper’s BBQ

217 Congress

In Texas, we like to think rock sounds even better with some of that “Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que” smell. All ages.


720 Brazos

For those of us a little rusty on the periodic table, “Cu29” is a nod to the name and atomic number of copper, a recurring design element of this cocktail bar. Capacity: 150.

Dirty Dog Bar

505 E. Sixth

Sick to death of bad cover bands and cheap shots on Dirty Sixth? This mutt's your metallic alternative. Since 2005, the spacious bar has built its reputation and loyal fan base as the city's most consistent home to all matters metal, whether thrash, speed, death, black, ambient, industrial, rap, or glam. If the pit gets too sweaty, the front windows open to let the air in and the metal out. Capacity = 499.

Doris Miller Auditorium

2300 Rosewood Ave.

Located in East Austin, this gymnasium/performance venue is part of the Rosewood Neighborhood Park complex.


700 E. Sixth

Opened in 2018, this Downtown sports bar offers “plates, pours, and scores.”

The Elephant Room

315 Congress

In the heart of old Downtown on Congress Avenue, sidle down a few steps into the Elephant Room and breathe in jazz in this 135-capacity club. Swing notes, polyrhythms, restless blues, and syncopation have filled the room with Chicago, Kansas City, and New York-style jazz since 1991.

by John Anderson


705 Red River

Bela Lugosi may be dead, but his memory lives on here. Opened in 2001, the 539-capacity Red River institution remains the shadowy mecca for local goths 18+, and upholds the city's legacy as a former industrial rock capital. It's also developed its own peerless reputation for neo-folk, neo-goth, and techno. During SXSW, it's the established home of the beloved Japan Nite celebration of music from the shadow of Mount Fuji.

Empire Control Room

Empire Garage

606 E. Seventh

Known first as Empire Garage thanks to the bloodline of its outdoor stage – an outdated auto body garage, capacity: 698 – Empire Control Room has risen in its short lifespan to serve as a dominating force in both hip-hop and electronic music, with ticketed roadshows and walk-up locals alike running indoor and outside, sometimes simultaneously. A bar featuring DJs splices between the two. The venue has been instrumental in swinging the Red River Cultural District eastward. Indoor stage fits 494.

Esther's Follies

525 E. Sixth

Esther's Follies has been producing its socially satirical, modern vaudeville show ever since 1977 and is a cornerstone of today's thronging "Dirty Sixth" experience. The 290-seat house incorporates the show on the sidewalk outside the theatre into the act with the giant window on the back wall of the stage. All ages.

by John Anderson

Flamingo Cantina

515 E. Sixth

Austin's home for reggae, dub, and ska both locally and from far-flung locales, Flamingo Cantina's island oasis on Sixth Street remains a true diamond in the rough. With a tropical vibe wafting straight from Jamaica, the funky mini-amphitheatre space provides a laid-back alternative to the collegiate tomfoolery encompassing the rest of Dirty Sixth. Capacity = 299.

by John Anderson

Flatstock Stage

500 E. Cesar Chavez

Located at the Austin Convention Center and open to the public with the free SXSW Guest Pass, this stage hosts SXSW artists in the same space as the always-entertaining Flatstock gig poster gallery, presented by the American Poster Institute. (Find out more about SXSW Guest Pass registration.)


208 E. Sixth

Sixth Street bar offers live music nightly; Fridays and Saturdays, early sets are followed by a house DJ playing Top 40 hits. Capacity = 299.

The Graeber House

410 E. Sixth

In another life, this 1880s building – protected as a Historic Landmark – was home to the Shamrock Saloon; it’s since been restored and modernized into an upscale event space. Capacity = 99.

Half Step

75 1/2 Rainey

Craft cocktail house has a sleek indoor and generous outdoor spaces. Capacity = 499.

The Hideout

617 Congress

Downtown Austin's oldest indie coffee house also boasts two theatres, one upstairs, one downstairs, that play hosts to films, stand-up, performance art, and bands. With tasty treats and a great view of the Congress goings-on, this storefront gathering spot is a major find. Its SXSW stage fits a tidy 98.

Highland Lounge

404 Colorado

This upscale LGBTQ bar offers three stories, dance floors, and a basement “dungeon.”

by John Anderson

Hotel Vegas

Hotel Vegas Patio

Hotel Vegas Annex

Hotel Vegas at Volstead

1502 E. Sixth

Former Spider House booker Jason McNeely's second rock club built a devoted following through a kickass set of house bands, creative covers nights, and the occasional monster showcase. The club functions hand in hand with its sister spot, the Volstead Lounge. A big backyard known to host headline roadshows connects the two outside. That space becomes popular during summer months when the club's cozy confines of under 200 get moist. Hotel Vegas capacity = 150; Hotel Vegas Patio = 800; Volstead = 82.

International Day Stage

500 E. Cesar Chavez

Ballroom on the fourth floor of the Austin Convention Center. 450 capacity. All ages.

The Iron Bear

121 W. Eighth

Located in the Warehouse District, this bar bills itself as the "Home of the Hottest Bears in Town." Weekly attractions include karaoke on Wednesdays and Sundays. Capacity = 250.

Ironwood Hall

505 E. Seventh

Private event space spanning 6,000 square feet, capacity 600.

by John Anderson


69 Rainey

Offers both old-world bar goodness vibe, as well as contemporary, crafty cocktails. The proprietary burger is a revelation, but others argue in favor of Javelina Eggs, a version of Scotch eggs. Capacity = 357.


401 W. Second

Once the historic landmark anchoring Liberty Lunch's footprint, Lamberts revamped the J.P. Schneider Store, built in 1873, into an exquisite barbecue joint downstairs, and a swank upstairs bar with a stage that can accommodate 170. Capacity = 155.

Las Perlas
405 E. Seventh

Mezcal bar and taco eatery is an offshoot of L.A.’s original mezcaleria of the same name.


77 Rainey

Rainey district house turned bar with a shaded backyard. Capacity = 155.

Lustre Pearl

94 Rainey

The bar that launched the Rainey Street entertainment district.


612 W. Fourth

La Zona Rosa rises from the dead! … Well, at least as an event space. The floor’s probably a little less sticky now that it hosts weddings and such, but the Warehouse District building is still storied, the capacity – more than 900 – is hard to beat, and the outdoor patio offers a welcome breath of fresh air.

by John Anderson

Maggie Mae's

Maggie Mae's Rooftop

323 E. Sixth

Maggie Mae's Gibson Room

512 Trinity

Burlesque show or blues band, performances at Maggie Mae's make for an adventure. Depending on where you're perched – the pub, courtyard, or rooftop terrace (the largest in Austin) – the experience is unique. Maggie Mae's capacity = 277; Gibson Room = 193; Rooftop = 400.

The Main

610 E. Sixth

The Main II

603 Red River

Site of the original Emo’s, a legendary Austin club. The Main capacity = 778; Main II = 178.


400 W. Second Ste. 400-B

Indoor/outdoor intimate venue on the second floor above La Condesa.

by David Brendan Hall

Mohawk Indoor

Mohawk Outdoor

912 Red River

Beloved multi-level Red River anchor, regularly voted Best Live Music Venue in the Chronicle’s "Best of Austin" Poll, hosts the crème of indie nation – old, new, small, massive. Its spacious outdoor stage is surrounded by balconies with excellent sight lines and great sound wherever one stands, plus convenient bars, and a cozier inside room for acts old, new, small, massive. Indoor stage takes 204; outdoor stage, 768.

by David Brendan Hall

Native Hostel

807 E. Fourth

Among the attractions at this see-and-be-seen "experiential hostel" are an on-site bar, kitchen, and coffeeshop, as well as a 3,400 square foot ballroom for performances and parties.

Palm Door on Sabine

401 Sabine

Palm Door on Sixth

Palm Door on Sixth Patio

508 E. Sixth

These sophisticated yet down-home sibling event spaces have hosted concerts, weddings, supper clubs, and even a Top Chef restaurant war. Sabine venue holds 299 capacity. Sixth inside and out holds 499.


214 E. Sixth

Blessed with excellent sound and lighting, and a comfortable 450-capacity space that's easily maneuverable even when packed, the all-ages club provides a haven amid the clamor of the real estate surrounding it.

by David Brendan Hall

Parker Jazz Club

117 W. Fourth

Opened in February 2018, this basement jazz lounge located in the Warehouse District features an elegant showroom and immaculate sound design.


617 Red River

Open since 2000, specializes in underground dance. Capacity = 103.

Pour Choices

401 E. Sixth

Sixth Street bar boasts a live DJ every night, dancing on the second floor, and cheap drink specials.

Radio Day Stage

500 E. Cesar Chavez

Austin Convention Center venue. All ages.

Russian House

307 E. Fifth

Make your way through the beat of a Russian nightclub (capacity 299) in the front, to find yourself in a quaint dining room in back. The Ukranian borsch is not to be missed.

Saxon Pub

1320 S. Lamar

The neighborhood regulars that haunt the wood-hewn South Lamar songwriters sanctuary (capacity 155) might have sat at the original knights of the round table – and remain at the card table in the non-stage room.

by David Brendan Hall

Scoot Inn

1308 E. Fourth

A constant change of ownership transformed the rightfully “Historic” Scoot Inn from its humble openings in 1871 as a grocery store, to a saloon, a restaurant, and now a live music venue and bar. Inside remains dive-like, with a hint of saloon style. Outdoors, the large backyard-style patio and deck provide great stage views with ample legroom to stroll or dance.


ScratcHouse Backyard

617 E. Seventh

Previously home to Beauty Bar and Holy Mountain, Scratchouse opened next door to Barracuda in 2016. Maintaining the long-running space’s full bar and corner indoor stage, alongside occasional performances on the fenced-in front patio, the venue now hosts a locally-sourced variety of hip-hop, electronic, dance, and every subset in between. Openness to visual installations, fundraisers and other special-edition events, alongside first-time Free Week participation in 2019, make this a Red River Cultural District hub on the rise.

Seven Grand

405 E. Seventh

The Austin outpost of one of Los Angeles’ favorite whiskey bars offers a 400-plus bottle whiskey program featuring the best of the British Isles, Texas, and the globe and a cozy atmosphere full of taxidermy and dark wood.

Sheraton BackYARD

702 E. 10th

21+ venue on-site at Sheraton Hotel.

by Jana Birchum


Speakeasy Kabaret

412 Congress

Climb each of Speakeasy's three stories and a different adventure awaits. Though Congress Avenue might host classier digs, you'll rarely find one that's been open almost 20 years and includes a bowling alley, music lounge, Kabaret room, and a rooftop terrace, all for a combined capacity of 1,000. Even fewer rest on the site of a deadly 1916 fire and are registered with the Haunted Austin Tour. Mainstage takes 252; Kabaret, 272.

St. David's Historic Sanctuary

301 E. Eighth

The cornerstone of St. David's was laid in 1853 at the corner of Seventh and San Jacinto, just across the street from Texas President Mirabeau Lamar's old house. The historic sanctuary seats 400.

Stephen F.'s Bar

701 Congress

Located on the second floor of the InterContinental Hotel, this intimate venue holds 120. Attached is a terrace that affords prime people-watching.


801 Red River

Perennial “Best of Austin” winner for Best Outdoor Venue, this dual-level club and celebrated barbecue joint boasts indoor and outdoor stages, with the latter holding upward of 2,000 souls.

by David Brendan Hall

Swan Dive

Swan Dive Patio

615 Red River

As much a dive bar (hence the name) as a concert venue, Swan Dive attracts quality local talent for its roomy inside and outside stages. Not just bands, either: dance parties, burlesque, and its own self-proclaimed "hipster karaoke." The Dive also features a drinks menu heavy on vintage cocktails and actual booths to sit and sip them in. At a 299 load indoors, 350 on the patio, any occasion feels like an intimate one.

by David Brendan Hall

SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake

Riverside & South First

Annual free outdoor shows at what was once known as Auditorium Shores, now called Lady Bird Lake. It's the largest venue at SXSW and open to the public (though you'll need to get a guest pass to attend) and badge/wristband holders alike. No food, drink, coolers, pets, glass, beach umbrellas, chairs, tents, or weapons allowed. Personal umbrellas, under 17" in diameter, are allowed.

The Townsend

718 Congress

Housed in a historic building near the Capitol and across the street from the Paramount Theatre, the Townsend's designer cocktails include the rum "Single Engine Plane," bourbon "Lamplight," and mezcal "La Linea." The bar with glass chandeliers also serves cucumber sandwiches and charcuterie plates. Capacity = 100.

Trade Show – Next Stage – Exhibit Hall 4

500 E. Cesar Chavez

Holds presentations and performances showcasing emerging talent at SXSW.

by Jana Birchum


710 Red River

This rock & roll lounge in the old Room 710 location is said to have the nicest bathrooms on Red River. Jukebox, pool tables, and foosball rule here. Capacity = 176.

Velveeta Room

521 E. Sixth

The venerable Velv, as it's known to habitués, started in 1988 as a stand-up comedy offshoot of Esther's Follies' next-door emporium of sketch and improv. Re-named after comedian Kerry Awn's shecky persona Ronnie Velveeta, what had once been Sixth Street's last strip club (The Embassy Room) was transformed into a sometimes thriving, sometimes struggling bastion of stand-up that is currently enjoying a sort of 21st century renaissance with top local and hot touring acts setting the weekends on comedy fire. All ages, seats 120.

Victorian Room at the Driskill

604 Brazos

You'd be hard-pressed to find a classier SXSW music venue than this luxurious room (capacity 180) at the historic Driskill Hotel, Austin's oldest operating hotel, built in 1886. If you feel like lingering, there's good celebrity gawking to be had at the Driskill Bar. 18+

Waller Creek Boathouse

71 Trinity St.

Located on the Hike and Bike Trail and home to the Austin Rowing Club, this is a truly unique space. While you’re in the neighborhood, check out Ai Weiwei’s Forever Bicycles outdoor art installation next door.

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