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The Best of Texas Honky Tonks

When in Texas, it’s a staple to pull your boots on and head down to some authentic Texas honky tonks for a boot-scootin’ good time! Texas is home to some of the world’s most famous and longest-operating honky-tonks that are an absolute must-visit. Once you take a step inside you’ll experience the rich history these honky-tonks represent. Here are five of the best Texas honky-tonks that are more than just a dance hall and will leave you with the most memorable experience of your life!

Gruene Hall – 1281 Gruene Rd, New Braunfels, TX 78130

This is one of Texas’ oldest and most famous dance halls located in New Braunfels, Texas which was built in 1878. It’s still in operation ever since its inception, and not much has changed about Gruene Hall in terms of design and appearance. The original layout of the hall is still quite intact, with a high-pitched tin roof and side flaps for open-air dancing. It has become an internationally recognized tourist destination over the years and is also often utilized as a music venue for both budding and established artists. Numerous popular country artists have performed at this honky-tonk in Texas, such as George Strait, Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks, Midland, Willie Nelson, Lee Ann Womack, Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, to name a few. 

John T. Floore Country Store – 14492 Old Bandera Rd, Helotes, TX 78023

This is another one of the oldest, richest operating honky-tonks located in Helotes, Texas near San Antonio that has hosted so many music legends for over seventy-five years. This one-of-a-kind honky-tonk was built in 1942 by Mr. John T. Floore, who is also the owner of this hall. It’s interesting to note here that John T. Floore Country Store wasn’t really a store, as the name might suggest. It was actually a unique dance hall and café in Texas. It eventually became super popular all across the globe for its amazing tamales and homemade bread.

Many legendary performers have performed here, such as Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, Waylon Jennings, Dwight Yoakam, Elvis Presley, George Jones, Robert Earl Keen, and many others. Speaking of famous artists, John T. Floore Country Store is where Willie Nelson’s career of being a famous country artist took off. Many people refer to it as the musical “birthplace” of this artist. Willie Nelson also featured John T. Floore in his famous hit, “Shotgun Willie,” and both of them even became partners in the original Willie Nelson Music Company. 

Billy Bob’s of Texas – 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, TX 76164

Built in 1910, Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, Texas, originally functioned as an open-air barn where the Fort Worth Stock Show was held to house prize cattle for the Fort Worth Stock Show. Later in 1936, the structure was renewed with an auction ring and livestock stalls that is now the Billy Bob’s Bull Riding arena. During World War II, it was utilized as an airplane factory, and then later in the 1950s, the building was transformed into a huge department store.

Finally, on April 1, 1981, Billy Bob’s Texas came into existence featuring a massive 100,000 square feet entertainment center, a Texas-size dance floor, and had more than 30 bar stations. This generated national attention, after which this honky-tonk also hosted some of the biggest music stars from the industry, such as George Strait, Willie Nelson,  Alabama, and ZZ Top. This grand ole honky-tonk has even been featured on several movie and tv screens such as “Walker Texas Ranger”, “Dallas”, “Pure Country” in 1992, starring George Strait, “Baja Oklahoma”, with Lesley Ann Warren, Peter Coyote & Willie Nelson in 1988, and many others.  Eventually, Billy Bob’s became to be known as “The World’s Largest Honky Tonk” and can accommodate up to 6,000 people! Billy Bob’s is open daily with entertainment nightly. Every Friday and Saturday night you can come experience Billy Bob’s Live Pro Bull Riding. 

Broken Spoke – 3201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

Internationally known as one of the most authentic honky-tonks, Broken Spoke in Austin, Texas, is your go-to place for the Texas two-steppin’. Many amazing stars from the music industry have performed at this famous dance hall, including Willie Nelson, George Strait, and Dolly Parton. It has been operating since 1964, and its incredible owners James and Annetta have made great efforts to boost its reputation as the ultimate place for the best country live music. From two-step lessons, private parties, to exclusive dinners followed by performances and shows, Broken Spoke has a lot to offer!

Schroeder Hall – 12516 FM622, Goliad, TX 77963

This is the second-oldest dance hall located in Goliad, Texas, and has hosted generations of Texans ever since 1890. With delicious food, excellent music, and the area’s most spectacular dance floor, Schroeder Hall has done great justice to its reputation. Ever since it was built, this honky-tonk has attracted and hosted some of the most legendary figures from country music such as Merle Haggard, Tracy Byrd, Willie Nelson, George Jones, Kyle Park, Charley Pride, and so many others!

Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine

This article was created for the Spring Issue of the Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine which was released in early April. You can catch this article and many more by checking out the full issue. For more information on Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine, visit the website here.

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Howdy, I'm Megan deFabry, I grew up in Reno, Nevada & I now live in Austin, Texas. I'm very passionate about digital marketing and journalism, especially within the western industry. I have a love for rodeos, country music, and maintaining the country way of life!

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