Put Your Best Foot Forward: The Texas Dance Hall Experience

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Tony Maples Photography


The number of honky-tonks, live music venues, and dance halls in Texas fluctuate regularly, but the experience you can have at one never wavers. For a good-old shot of twang, some great two-stepping, and groups and single acts that will leave you speechless, the dance hall movement is the way to go. Woven into the fabric of Texas culture, these monuments to our own brand of art form, the ability to dance, have a rich heritage. They were once considered a dying breed following their heyday and the inevitable appeal of newer social hubs and family hangouts. However, a resurgence in their appeal has led to a new crop of locales together with the shoring-up of traditional favorites, making them the venue of choice for many a Texan, tourist, and lover of the music scene. Here are some dance halls you need to experience at least once in your lifetime!

1. Mercer Street Dancehall

Put Your Best Foot Forward: The Texas Dance Hall Experience

Photo: Facebook/Mercer Street Dancehall

Mercer Street Dancehall just passed its seventh anniversary, having opened its doors on February 1, 2013. It’s since managed to build itself a reputation for being one of the more authentic of its kind. As far as being a Central Texas dance hall, it features popular country music on the regular, and this Driftwood, Texas, fixture in the dancing scene has been host to a number of Lone Star greats in music. They consistently draw crowds but have ample space and great hospitality, making your dance hall experience a great one from start to finish.

2. Gruene Hall

Put Your Best Foot Forward: The Texas Dance Hall Experience

Photo: Facebook/Gruene Hall

No Texas dance hall list would ever be complete without mention of Gruene Hall in New Braunfels. This Texas Hill Country diamond in the rough has stood the test of time, becoming one of the most popular live music venues for miles around. Known as the oldest continually run Texas dance hall, its stage has been graced by the likes of George Strait, not to mention the countless other artists who have packed the house and the floor for jaw-dropping performances. Yet, while maintaining its aura of being a timeless classic, Gruene Hall is also a refreshing change of pace from the every-day live music and dancing experience. The legends and rising stars who have had the pleasure of playing here are continually impressed by its ability to make the audience, opening acts, and star attractions alike feel at home.

3. Kendalia Halle

Put Your Best Foot Forward: The Texas Dance Hall Experience

Photo: Air Force Medical Service

In the town of Kendalia, the residents constructed Kendalia Halle in 1903. This shining star on the Texas music scene was actually built with the sole purpose of being a place to throw a weekend party. Now, 117 years later, it’s still going strong. Its hosting of the down-home style of Lone Star State artist has drawn audiences from throughout the state. Not only that, but the irreverent performances that have been held here are accompanied by none other than free barbecue tacos! The honky-tonk vibe is alive and well at this Texas dance hall, and the chance of seeing a truly great act while you’re cruising the floor with your partner is even greater than seeing a pickup parked out front, and that’s great!