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9 Dance Halls You Need to Visit in the Texas Hill Country

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9 Dance Halls You Need to Visit in the Texas Hill Country

By Matt Alpert, Wide Open Country

The sweet sound of country fiddle. Gliding across an old wooden floor in a two-step dance. The trance of a western swing band kicking into high gear. There is no better place to experience these pleasures than at a Texas dancehall.

Unfortunately, there aren’t as many Texas dance halls as there used to be. As development flourishes in Texas’s cities, suburbs and rural communities, dancehalls are on the decline. Cowboy culture is still an important part of Texas, but there’s no denying that the times have changed.

SEE ALSO: 11 Hidden Gems of the Texas Hill Country 

However, in some Texas towns, the local dance hall is still the most fun place to be on Saturday night. There are great dance halls across the Lone Star State, but central Texas is home to many of our favorites. These nine Central Texas Dance Halls have a reputation for great music, good times and tons of character.

9. Mercer Street Dance Hall

9 Dance Halls You Need to Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Facebook

Mercer Street Dance Hall opened its doors only a couple years ago, but it has already built a reputation as a popular country music venue in Central Texas. The new dance hall is located in Dripping Springs, the “Gateway of the Hill Country,” roughly 30 miles west of Austin. Texas favorites Dale Watson, Kevin Fowler, among others play here on the regular. If you’re in Austin for the night and want to get out of the city for an authentic Texas dance hall experience, this is your destination.

332 W Mercer St, Dripping Springs, Texas

8. London Dance Hall, London, Texas

9 Dance Halls You Need to Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Facebook

There’s not much to see or do in the backcountry town of London, Texas, pop. 180, except the London Dance Hall. Since it opened nearly a century ago, Saturday nights at London Hall have featured a number of Texas music legends, including fiddler Johnny Gimble and Hank Thompson. Nowadays, you’ll find undiscovered Texas country talent.

17430 N US Hwy 377, London, Texas

7. Kendalia Halle – Kendalia, Texas

9 Dance Halls You Need to Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Kendalia Halle

Back in 1903, the residents of Kendalia built Kendalia Halle so they’d have a place to throw a party on the weekends. More than 110 years later, the party is still going. Although, the good times kick into action roughly once a month. Kendalia Halle’s dances feature performances by true Texas originals like Dale Watson, Gary P. Nunn and other favorites.

They also serve up free barbecue tacos during the dances. Tacos, country music and beer — yes, please. If you interested in going to a Kendalia Halle dance, check the 2015 schedule first.

1135 Farm to Market 3351, Kendalia, TX 

6. The Old Coupland Inn and Dancehall – Coupland, Texas

9 Dance Halls You Need to Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Facebook

There are a few venues near Austin that still have an old Texas vibe, and the Old Coupland Inn and Dancehall is one of them. The building, which has been around for more than a century, has been a hardware store, a drugstore and even a newspaper at one point. Today, it’s the heart of the action in Coupland, Texas, operating as a dancehall, restaurant and bed and breakfast.

This is a popular stop on the Texas country music scene. Folks here love to dance, so bring your boots. And the food’s pretty dang good too, so bring your appetite.

101 Hoxie St, Coupland, TX 

5. Albert Dance Hall – Albert, Texas 

9 Dance Halls You Need to Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Albert Dance Hall

The historic Albert Hall is off the beaten path for most tourists, so it’s often overlooked. It’s also not as active as it used to be, but if you’re looking for an authentic Hill Country dance hall, this is one of them. The 88-year-old dance hall is located in the heart of the old German farmlands of the Hill Country between Johnson City and Fredericksburg.

When it first opened in 1922, the hall regularly hosted regional German brass bands and community dances. After a long period of closure, the hall was renovated and reopened. It’s not as active as it once was; most of the action happens at the ice house next door. Even still, it’s a beautiful dance hall in the heart of Central Texas.

5435 Ranch Road 1623, Stonewall, TX

SEE ALSO: 11 Hidden Gems of the Texas Hill Country 

4. John T. Floore’s Country Store, Helotes, Texas

9 Dance Halls You Need to Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Helotes Texas

There is no better place catch a country show in the San Antonio area than John T. Floore’s Country Store. Many musical greats, including Elvis, Hank Williams Sr. and Patsy Cline have performed at this iconic dance hall. When you walk inside, look up at the ceiling, and you’ll see some of their cowboy boots dangling from the ceiling.

But Floore’s doesn’t rest its laurels on performances from yesteryear; it remains one of the best country music venues in Texas. The interior has an active stage and restaurant, but the main attraction is the outdoor stage where top country artists perform on a regular basis. Drinking cold beer while singing along to a Willie Nelson or Randy Rogers concert at Floore’s is sure-fire cure for the blues. Buy your tickets early; Floore’s bigger shows often sells out fast.

14492 Old Bandera Rd, Helotes, TX 

3. Luckenbach – Luckenbach, Texas

9 Dance Halls You Need to Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Flickr / Gino

Luckenbach is basically two buildings: a post office/general store — which doubles as a bar with a stage out back — and a dancehall. That’s it. Chickens run around by your feet; pickers gather out back to play songs throughout the day; and the regulars are as mellow as can be. Once you visit, you’ll immediately understand why Waylon and Willie sang about escaping the modern world to get to Luckenbach.

Most of the music during the week takes place on smaller stages outside, but the dancehall, pictured above, hosts top Texas country talent on the weekends.

412 Luckenbach Town Loop, Fredericksburg, TX 

2. Broken Spoke – Austin, Texas

9 Dance Halls You Need to Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Flickr/Angie English

Austin has a handful of choice venues to experience authentic country music, but the Broken Spoke is arguably the best. For decades, this iconic honky-tonk has been a popular stage for Texas’s country legends, from Bob Wills to Dale Watson. On any given Saturday night, you’ll see a mix of cowboys, tourists, hippies, college kids and yuppies mingling and two-stepping across the floor.

But the times are changing. Not long ago, the Broken Spoke sat on the once open expanse of South Austin. Today, the building is surrounded by towering condominiums. The honky-tonk refuses to change, and we hope it never does.

3201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 

1. Gruene Hall – Gruene, Texas 

9 Dance Halls You Need to Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Flickr/bk1bennett

Widely considered the oldest dancehall in Texas, Gruene Hall is also the best. Top artists from Texas and around the world perform at this rustic dancehall on a daily basis.

Located in the heart of historic Gruene — a historic town between Austin and San Antonio — Gruene Hall is one of the most popular attractions in the Hill country, drawing visitors for both afternoon and nighttime shows. If you’re visiting the Hill Country, make it a point to see a show here. You won’t regret it.

The video below will give you a good sense of what a Saturday night show is like at Gruene Hall.

1281 Gruene Rd, New Braunfels, TX 78130