Hill Country Guide

Waltz Across Texas in These Hill Country Honky-Tonks

These old-school, floor-stompin' dance halls are the soul of the Texas Hill Country.

By Marianella Orlando April 17, 2017 Published in the May 2017 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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Each summer, Texas’s oldest continually-operating dance hall, Gruene Hall, attracts crowds of energetic dancers, who take to the floor, drinks in hand, to boogie to near-nightly live shows. The 6,000-square-foot tavern’s attractions include its biweekly Sunday Gospel Brunch and annual celebration of Frank Schlather Day, in honor of Gruene’s unofficial mayor (June 23). And this month brings the much-anticipated Americana Music Jam (May 21). “Although it’s a fundraiser event,” says bartender Josh Tucker, “it gets packed full of fun, happy people.”

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Image: Julia Ermlich

Located in a speck of a town where the only other building is a post office and general store, Luckenbach Texas Dance Hall hosts big acts just about every weekend. This month, the legendary saloon, which rose to fame thanks in part to Waylon Jennings’s lyrical love letter—“Let’s go to Luckenbach, Texas, with Waylon and Willie and the boys”—hosts the Hill Country Run Motorcycle Rally (May 5 & 6), featuring live bands, drafts, barbecue and, on Sunday, May 7, Biker Church.

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Image: Facebook

There’s no such thing as stuffy when you’re dancing under the stars at Crider’s Rodeo & Dancehall, located along the banks of the Guadalupe River in Hunt. What began as a Fourth of July fundraiser back in 1925 eventually grew into an annual tradition. Today, the family-owned and -operated honky-tonk is open every summertime weekend, hosting Saturday-night rodeos and dances. This year’s season kicks off on Memorial Day and runs through Labor Day. The bar is both cash- and beer-only, so come prepared.

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