If Austin is the worlds live music capital, then the Red River District is it's senate chambers. An eclectic five blocks of the best, and most, live music in Austin. You can see more than a dozen bands in a three block stumble on any weekend night. From Austin's best and worst home grown indie's to lot's of almost famous and famous road shows, Red River is a music lovers panacea. Born from the rubble of Austin's crack row and homeless hideaway, Red River still brandishes it's seedy, tough exterior. But it's "Sunset Strip" aura lends even more to it's raw, real, live vibe.

Red River District
The heart of Austin's Red River District at 8th and Red River. Photo: Will Taylor - LostinAustin.org

Stand on any of the 6 corners that make up the Red River District (between 6th and 10th St) and live music paints the air. The street is crowded with concert seekers in one of many lines queud up for any number of live shows on any given night. Austin's hottest stages, famed backyards and note-worthy eats are all here.

Here's the "Best Of" Red River tour from North (10th St)
to South.

The Mohawk

The Mohawk - Red River St, Austin, TX.
The Mohawk - Red River St, Austin, TX. Photo: Will Taylor - LostinAustin.org

The Mohawk is a fabled Live Music Venue and Bar in the heart of downtown Austin Texas. Renovated with recycled materials, the Mohawk boasts 2 stages, rooftop rocking capabilities, multiple drinking holes, turbo charged service, happy hours, and good times. The Mohawk has hosted the likes of Iggy Pop, The Black Keys, XX, Thurston Moore, The Sword, Spoon, J. Mascis, Tenacious D, Big Boi, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, Sleep, Bon Iver, The Decemberists, TV on the Radio, Moby, Murder City Devils, Common, Godspeed, MSTRKRFT, Kool Keith, Dan Deacon, Monotonix, The Whigs, The Dead Milkmen, The Black Angels, Peter Buck, Big Freedia, Vampire Weekend, Green Day, King Kahn, White Denim, Fleet Foxes, Yelle, Bill Callahan, Destroyer, Cut Copy, Deerhoof, Shearwater, Okkervil River, Tokyo Police Club, Islands, Torche, Boris, Ghostland Observatory, The Long Winters, Helio Sequence, No Age, Black Mountain, High on Fire and more.
Where: 912 Red River St
Phone:(512) 666-0877

Cheer Up Charlies

Cher Up Charlies - Red River District - Austin, TX.
Cheer Up Charlies - Red River District - Austin, TX. Photo: Will Taylor - LostinAustin.org

This inside outside party bar and live-music (2 stages) venue on Red River is home to cocktails, kombucha on tap, local beers and wines. The outside patio has everything from picnic tables to upholstered lounge areas. Both stages feature line-ups of great Austin and touring show.
Where: 900 Red River St
Phone: (512) 431-2133

Pelon's Tex Mex

Pelon Tex Mex - Red River St. Austin, TX.
Pelon's Tex Mex - Red River St. Austin, TX. Photo: Will Taylor - LostinAustin.org

Nestled in the historic Red River Live Music District is Pelon’s, famous for its homemade signature margaritas and authentic Southwestern Mexican food. The food is freshly prepared daily with bold and unique flavors that compliment its premier cocktails. Intimate dining room areas and spacious outdoor patios. Dog Friendly!
Where: 802 Red River St
Phone: (512) 243-7874

508 Tequila Bar

508 Tequila Bar - Red River St, Austin TX
508 Tequila Bar - Red River St, Austin TX. Photo: Will Taylor - LostinAustin.org

508 Tequila Bar located next to the historic Pelóns Tex-Mex Restaurant has the largest selection of premier tequilas in Austin. Step inside this dive bar for an intimate setting or enjoy our spacious outside patios. Serving only the best in unique Craft Tequila Cocktails.
Where: 508 E 8th St
Phone: (512) 243-7874

Stubb's

Stubb's BBQ - Red River St, Austin TX
Stubb's BBQ - Red River St, Austin TX

The best of Austin live music. In the 1970′s, Austin TX’s Stubb’s restaurant became the heart of an explosive music scene. Stubb's was ground zero for musicians like Joe Ely and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Other famous musicians who would “play for their supper” included Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Robert Cray, George Thorogood, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Linda Ronstadt and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Although small in size, Stubb’s Restaurant was always filled with good friends, great music and plenty of Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q. Come on down for some Live Music, Cold Beer and Great Food.
Where: 801 Red River St
Phone: (512) 480-8341

Valhalla

Valhalla - Red River St, Austin, TX. Will Taylor photo.
Valhalla - Red River St, Austin, TX. Will Taylor photo.

Valhalla is your neighborhood bar located downtown in Austin’s famed Red River District. Its a great bar to hang with some friends or play a few games; pinball, pool, shuffleboard, skeeball, foosball and air hockey. Amazing bar food menu as well.
Where: 710 Red River St
Phone: (512) 476-0997

The Sidewinder

The Sidewinder - Red River St, Austin TX
The Sidewinder - Red River St, Austin TX. Photo: Will Taylor - LostinAustin.org

The Sidewinder is a multimedia dual-stage music venue, event space and bar that host some of Austin's best live music on two stages. A live music venue run by musicians for musicians in the “live music capital of the world”. Sidewinder does music festivals, wedding receptions, wine tasting events, corporate events, movie premieres, dj performances, fine art installations and much more. Both rooms have built in stages, state of the art PA systems, lighting systems, furnished greenrooms, stage side storage areas and built in and covered merch areas.
Where: 715 Red River St
Phone: (512) 364-9125

Beerland

Beerland - Red River St, Austin TX. Will Taylor photo.
Beerland - Red River St, Austin TX. Will Taylor photo.

Austin’s most consistently beloved and occasionally hated rock n roll club keeps ‘em coming back after more than a decade and a half of well tempered mayhem. Cheap beer. Live shows most nights featuring locals, touring acts, up and comers & down and outers. The gamut of the underground scene from punk to metal, hip hop to hardcore. One of the best sounding rooms in town (no really, it’s way better now!) Karaoke Mondays, arcade games, and a little tiny patio for rubbing shoulders with the city’s movers and shakers. Liquor, friends and minimal posturing.
Where: 711 Red River St
Phone: (512) 479-7625

Elysium

Elysium - Red River St, Austin, TX.  Will Taylor photo.
Elysium - Red River St, Austin, TX. Will Taylor photo.

A Red River classic, Elysium has been hosting Austin's alternative night-life since 2001. Tribute nights, themed parties and live music, there's always a show at Elysium. The warehouse that Elysium resides in dates back centuries, but since the late 70's it has been home to a variety of entertainment venues. Elysium is one the longest standing Red River residents to date.
Where: 705 Red River St
Phone: (512) 478-8385

Empire Control Room & Garage

Empire Control Room & Garage - 03
Empire Control Room & Garage - East 7th St, Austin, TX. Photo: Will Taylor.

Empire is a 15,000 square foot modern music space at 7th and Red River, dedicated to presenting quirky, warehouse style events that feel more like adventurous discoveries than everyday affairs. Boasting three unique stages - the former auto shop known as the “garage,” the “control room” with its 300 degrees of visual wonders, and the creekside “patio” - Empire is equipped with top of the line production, friendly staff, and cold, tasty beverages. Hang out, immerse yourself in some mind melting visuals, and enjoy the choicest happenings a gang of music freaks can muster.
Where: 606 E 7th St
Phone:

Scratchhouse

Scratchouse - East 7th St, Austin, TX. Will Taylor photo.
Scratchouse - East 7th St, Austin, TX. Will Taylor photo.

Scratchouse is intimate style music venue on 7th Street in the heart of the Red River District. Featuring musical talent from all over the world, Scrathouse serves up a unique, up-close venue blurring the lines between artist and audience. Outdoor front yard games, state of the art sound and a well stocked bar.
Where: 3304, 617 E 7th St
Phone: (512) 653-2256

Swan Dive

Swan Dive - Red River St, Austin, TX. Photo: Will Taylor
Swan Dive - Red River St, Austin, TX. Photo: Will Taylor

Swan Dive is live music venue & speakeasy in the heart of Red River. Lavish, industrial-chic ballroom with a pool-tiled bar. Whitewashed brick, ethereal lighting and just epic live music, Swan is one of our Red River favorites.
Where: 615 Red River St
Phone: (512) 943-7926

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  1. elle

    you forgot my most favorite place to end the night - barbarella! pro tip - if the line is too long, enter through swan dive instead and access barbs from the patio.