Austin is nicknamed The Live Music Capital of the World for a reason. The blues scene here is incredible, while the nightclubs are historic and buzzing with energy. Whether you’re looking for a specific vibe or a mix, this city has you covered.
Blues club Antone’s may be small, but it is known around the world and has hosted some of the genre’s finest artists, including Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and BB King. Gary Clark Jr now has part-ownership of the 5th Street club, and if you’re lucky, he will swing by to play a song or two with whoever is on stage.
Whether you’re trying to hit the dance floor for a night out with friends or hang by the pool all day and drink through the afternoon, RIO is your venue. Upscale and right in the center of Downtown, this luxury club and pool bar always has something going on. Bottle service is available and cabanas can be rented.
The Summit Rooftop Lounge is made for those who love to dance. The main area sits just under the city skyline and plays host to a mix of touring and local DJs. Few things feel better than sweating it out on the dance floor on a warm Texas evening. Its exclusive location, LED-lit walls and high energy keep Summit at the top of the list for best clubs in Austin.
Barbarella, located in the Red River Cultural District, is held in high esteem by Austin’s party crowd. What the club lacks in frills it makes up for in raw energy. The music played at Barbs varies from sweet 1980s pop to today’s dance favorites. The club throws several theme nights throughout the week, and the late-night drink specials combined with the excellent range of music will keep you dancing until close.
The Highland Lounge describes itself as “Austin’s premier gay club,” and it’s hard to disagree. Its sprawling dance floor, swanky interior and innovative housemade cocktails make the Highland a city standout. For something extra special, make sure to head to the club on drag night.
The Continental Club has had some of the best blues musicians in the world grace its small stage since opening way back in 1955. Over the years, legends such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Link Wray and Robert Plant have performed here, and although the surrounding South Congress area is now one of the city’s most popular entertainment districts, The Continental Club maintains its cool vibe. It’s a must-visit for blues fans.
Right on East Sixth Street and sharing a building with Hotel Vegas, The Volstead is the place to let some energy out. Both the dance area and bar are small, but the drinks are cheap and the DJs are talented. There is a cover charge, but it gets you into both The Volstead Lounge and Hotel Vegas, as the two venues share a backyard area where there are more bars and a food truck. If you need a break from the dance music, head over to Hotel Vegas for live indie and punk.
Plush reached legendary status among Austin’s club scene years ago. Widely considered to be the birthplace of the dubstep movement in America, Plush has hosted some of the very best DJs in the world. The club may only hold 150 people at once, but if you’re one of the lucky ones to get inside, be prepared to start moving.