There’s just something special about a tattered building with a rust-worn tin roof coming back to life as the flickering shadows of two-steppers spills out into the gravel parking lot packed with pickup trucks. And no sound beats the steady pumping of the band and the faint squeak of the rattling, old floors underneath clonking boots. The historic dance halls on this list are the makings of a truly Texan night.
Built in 1878, it’s Texas’s oldest continually operating dance hall and possibly, its most famous — which is apparent every night, when the place becomes packed wall-to-wall with folks looking for a good time, no matter if the band is an up-and-comer or a returning legend like Willie Nelson. Gruene Hall (pronounced “Green”) has live music every single day, so no matter when you’re in town you can catch a show!
Luckenbach Dance Hall
Though it was built in 1871, Luckenbach didn’t receive its musical claim to fame until the entire town was bought by John Russell Hondo Crouch in 1971 and — of course — Waylon Jennings made the hit tune “Luckenbach Texas” in 1977. Two-step your way to “Where Everybody’s Somebody” for one of their monthly dances or stop in for a historic “picker circle” each Monday through Thursday.
You can leave your cowboy boots and hat at home when you “Czech” out this place. Schulenburg’s historic 1894 dance hall was renovated and reopened in 2009, and continues to play the authentic polka music that first made it popular. Upstairs is the dance floor where you can get your polka on and downstairs is Momma’s, an eatery that serves up authentic German food and — surprisingly — hand-tossed pizzas!
This Austin venue is definitely more honky-tonk than dance hall, but it’s also as country and historic as they come. It’s been the place to hear good country music every single night since it opened in 1964, and not much has changed since. The dance floor is scuffed from over 50 years of two-steppin’, the beer is cheap and there’s always a good band playing and a crowd of folks braving the heat of the summer to enjoy it. Not too confident in your dancing abilities? Attend dance lessons from 8-9 Wednesday through Saturday to become a pro!
Twin Sisters Dance Hall
On the first Saturday every month, the Twin Sisters Dance Hall lights up the town of Blanco once again, a tradition since it opened in 1870. The next public dance is July 7, so head on out to see Gary P. Nunn perform as you two-step the night away!
Looking for something to do tonight? Every Friday and Saturday night in the summer, the second oldest dance hall in Texas has live music and dancing from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Since it was built in 1890, it’s been a hot spot for a good time in Goliad, and has hosted Merle Haggard and Conway Twitty, and its impressive list of music artists continues to include country stars like Kyle Park and Randy Rogers Band.
Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar
If you’re in Bandera any given weekend, this is the place to end the day with an ice cold beer. During its 50 years as a Texas dance hall and honky-tonk, it has hosted many country greats like Hank Williams, Jr. and Willie Nelson. So stop in to spend a Saturday night the cowboy-way!
London Dance Hall
This truly Texan dance hall sits alone in the center of a small town, which — during the day — can seem like a ghost town. However, this place becomes busy on a Saturday night. Stop in on the weekend to see the abandoned building come to life, with hoards of folks and country tunes pumping through the air. On dance nights, grab some chow for $5 a BBQ plate at London Grocery & Grill.
John T. Floore’s Country Store
This Helotes dance hall is as quirky as the dozens of cowboy hats and shoes hanging from its ceiling. It started in 1942 as a dance and honky-tonk. Despite its name, it has never been a country store. And along with country tunes, this place serves up a mean plate of tamales and homemade bread. In addition to shows on Friday and Saturdays, each Sunday night is Family Night & Free Dance.