Often referred to as the granddaddy of all local music venues, the Continental Club is in the heart of the trendy SoCo district at 1315 South Congress Avenue. The club, which is the oldest of its kind in Austin, features some of the best retro roots, rockabilly, country and swing available anywhere.
Through the years, the dimly lit stage has seen the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joe Ely, The Cobras, D-Day, Skunk, and most recently, actor and musician Johnny Depp and legendary guitarist Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Austin legend Toni Price has played ‘Hippie Hour’ at the club on Tuesday evenings for over 10 years.
A Consistent Philosophy of Musical Diversity
Opened in 1957 as a private supper club featuring musical groups on tour, the Continental Club is thought to have been the first place in Travis County to sell liquor by the drink. It has come a long way since those days, and is now considered one of the quintessential Austin music venues where you can catch an intimate live show, enjoy a cold beer on tap and dance the night away.
Austinite Lonnie Brown has frequented the Continental Club for two decades — whether he catches the end of Happy Hour on a weekday night, or goes for a special live performance of his favorite band, The Whiskey Sisters — the club is the spot to relax and take in a show.
Brown says the continued popularity of the Continental Club can be attributed to its ability to adapt. “A lot of bars can take on their own identity and are labeled that way forever. Continental has stayed true to itself and the people that enjoy the place. It adapts with the bands and the crowds and never gets stagnant,” Brown said. “And with the diversity of genres and people, there’s always something for everyone.”
Funky Art, Ping Pong and the Magic of Live Music
Just a stair climb away, the Continental Club Gallery is almost hidden above the club. The gallery is an intimate little gem with a lounge atmosphere, mostly jazz or blues music, funky art on the walls, a ping pong table, and a surprisingly striking view of the Austin skyline.
On any given night, you can find an unusual mix of people, from the ages of 18 to 60 and beyond, enjoying a live band at the Continental Club. What makes it different from other bars and music venues in Austin is its ability to appeal to all ages and walks of life.
“The Continental Club is a microcosm of the diversity in Austin,” Brown said. “You’re in a historical area of town where the relaxed neighborhoods meet the downtown skyline. With all the restaurants and boutiques you get a good feel for what Austin is all about.”
Events held annually at the Continental Club include birthday parties in honor of Elvis, Buck Owens and Wanda Jackson. The club features live music every night of the week.