Texas’ Best Honky-Tonks Have A Certain ‘Ineffable’ Quality

“A honky-tonk is a place where you can go to dance but … that’s not the the main thing.”

By Rhonda FanningAugust 23, 2019 1:28 pm

Texas is known for its country music, but what about the venues where country musicians play? Some of them, like Austin’s Broken Spoke, are more famous than others. But these honky-tonks all have a mystique that comes from a mix of freely flowing beer and a crowd of regulars – some of them looking to dance. 

Texas Monthly’s Christian Wallace crisscrossed miles and miles of Texas to find the best honky-tonks, and he ranked them in the September issue of the magazine. He says a honky-tonk is not a dance hall, nor is it a restaurant or country-themed nightclub.

Courtesy Texas Monthly/Leann Mueller

Devil's Backbone Tavern, near Fischer, Texas.

“[It’s] a place where you can go to dance but … that’s not the the main thing,” Wallace says. “There’s certain ineffable qualities about honky-tonks that make them so.”

Here’s his top three:

– Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar, Bandera

– The Lonesome Rose, San Antonio

– The Texas Rose, La Feria

Read more at Texas Monthly.

Listen to the rest of the story in the player above.


Written by Caroline Covington.