I’m Actually Better Looking At The Horseshoe Lounge

Flyfishing is my only real hobby simply because I can’t figure out how to claim honkytonking as an actual hobby. Cause then I’d have two. I love old honkytonk music, and I mean I L-O-V-E love it. Not to brag, but I know it pretty well too. Luckily my husband loves me loving it, he digs the scene, and is getting up to speed on Texas outlaw and old western swing.

But midlife parenting duties and the who-knows-where-the-time-goes business of life have been keeping us from the neon glow of late. So Friday night it was time to plug back in to the Old South Austin hotspots: The Broken Spoke and The Horseshoe Lounge. We dined at the Spoke (famous for its chicken fried steak) then watched the band setup and the couples scoot around the dance floor during the two step lessons.

The Professor snapped this pic from our people-watching stools right at the bar. As you can see when I say honkytonk I’m not talking about the modern megaplex Cowboys linedancing type place. How fine is this?

I made a return trip to the ladies restroom just to document the straight up love the Spoke has for George Strait. Nothing but George on all four walls.

george strait 1george strait 2george strait 4george strait 3

Until my keen eye noticed that ‘one of these things was not like the others.’ Did you catch it too? Apparently they snuck one Robert Redford photo in there and a Robert Redford pic is not going to slip by me.

robert redford

First of all, I’d love to get inside the mind of the person that decoupages all four walls with George Strait collages, but includes just one Robert Redford picture. Why Robert Redford? And B…is it just me or does Bobby’s horse look like it’s wearing a blonde wig? Reminds me of some other fool…hmm, if I could just put my finger on who it is.

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I’ll tell you what did slip by me…leaving the Spoke in the dark the Professor barely noticed this longhorn hanging out all by himself in the parking lot. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Random even by Austin standards…


I’d understand if there was some dude in chaps and a red bandana hawkin’ photo ops for tourists or a bunch of Longhorn fans in for the game who rented him for the night. But no one was nearby. Que paso?

A longhorn in front of a construction site…pretty much the new chamber of commerce poster for Austin. Don’t get me started.

We popped over to the Horseshoe for a few Lone Stars and tunes. Apparently I haven’t lost my magic touch because as usual I owned the jukebox. You know you’ve put in some good selections when the bartender, who is trapped there with that same jukebox night after night, cranks up the volume and raves about your musical taste. Thanks Dixie! I propped my elbows against the thick foam padding that lines the legendary horseshoe-shaped bar and sang my heart out. At one point The Professor shushed me in favor of actually hearing Willie and Merle’s voices. I pouted for a verse or so then kicked right back into gear, but louder. Can’t hide me under a bushel, no. I was happy, everything was good there. After a trip the ladies room where there are very favorable mirrors, I came back and gleefully announced my restroom revelation that I was even better looking at the Horseshoe! How was the Professor even keeping his hands off me? Wow, was he ever showing some restraint.

Of course this wasn’t the first time I had fallen victim to the false surge of late night self esteem brought on by beer, music, and lots of laughter. For they’re only fleeting things, my elusive dreams.

I could NOT wind down once we were home. Like the John Conlee song ‘Friday Night Blues’ the Professor was wiped out and taking his shoes off while I was revved up and putting mine on. I was bouncing off the walls singing Jody Miller ‘Queen of the House’ and acting like Eliza Doolittle dancing around crooning ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’. (That’s not honkytonk, nor is it a simile. I was actually singing the My Fair Lady Song, British accent and all.) When the Professor saw the time, he hit the panic button.

HIM: “It’s nearly midnight! I gotta get to sleep, I have to get up early and play golf in the morning!”

ME: “That sounds like white people problems. Your tee time is not my honkytonk concern.”

With that he reached into a nearby shoebox and uncast his ballot for me as Demure Model Wife 2012. Damn. So much for that hard fought campaign and all the money spent on an image consultant. Then, at the stroke of midnight my honkytonk fairytale turned pumpkin on me and I heard Willie’s voice in my head, just as I had so many times before. Turn out the lights…the party’s over…it seems that all good things must end….

We fell asleep watching the Brain Williams’ 5 o’clock newscast on DVR.


Here are a few of the badass songs I played on the jukebox Friday night. Go download:

  • Tammy Wynette ‘Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad’
  • Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard ‘Poncho & Lefty’
  • Buck Owens ‘Tiger By the Tail’ (selection #2702 and I have literally played it every single time I have ever been inside the Horseshoe Lounge which is a lot of times.)


(Copyright 2012 by Christine Warren)

Have a honkytonk song that just popped into your head? Leave it in a comment! Maybe just a snippet of some lyrics? Share them! I am always looking for more songs to download on iTunes or punch into the jukebox. Don’t worry, excessive commenting won’t impair your ability to make decisions or operate heavy machinery.

28 Responses to “I’m Actually Better Looking At The Horseshoe Lounge”
  1. rachhillis says:

    I dig the old beer coolers in the Prof’s picture from the Broken Spoke. Wonder how many cases of beer have been served out of those over the years.

  2. well, they’ve been in business 48 years so I bet it’s been a lot of beer! funny you liked those, that’s exactly what the Prof wanted to get in the photo. he loved them too. the labeling system….super fine

  3. Turnip Truck Driver says:

    Texas music – second only to Austria.

  4. John Prather says:

    Stand by Your Man by Tammy

  5. Well chickie, you have found your evil twin…. I LOVE honkytonk music and you should see my very Lebanese husband trying to two step during my honkytonk madness. Oh and I have ALWAYS wanted to learn to fly fish
    The Detox Diva recently posted..Dear Detox Diva:: What Beauty Products Do You Really Use??My Profile

  6. @Turnip Truck Driver — Austria? you’ve never led us astray before, not in your blogposts nor here in your posts, but this Austria comment is perplexing. better than Texas music, really? that said I am a big fan of the Sound of Music….and Oktoberfest is fun…I do love the Chicken Dance

    @John Prather — looove Tammy’s Stand By Your Man. Good solid relationship advice there. Another good one with sound marital advice? Charley Pride ‘Kiss An Angel Good Morning’…lyrics to live by

    @The Detox Diva — welcome!!!! I love your site and am so happy you’re here. we have TONS in common! Good for your Lebanese husband for diving into two-stepping. My Alabama husband is still working on it, I think lessons are in our future. if you ever have any flyfishing Qs just shout em out here anytime. there are plenty of people around here who know what they’re talking about…sometimes I am one of them. it’s a great sport for women!! meanwhile you may enjoy a post I am working on in the near future…combines outdoor activities and benefits of coconut oil….stay tuned. no doubt you could add great expert point of view

    love hearing from everyone, THANKS YALL!

  7. ps, detox diva, I have added you to my ‘MUST READ’ list of blogs on Bloglovin. excited to learn/share more!

  8. GSFeder says:

    Great post. While I’ve never been to those two spots, I’ve spent many a fine evening in dive bars. John Prine singing “Angel from Montgomery” is a fav. Two of my favorites from the modern era are Billy Currington’s “People Are Crazy” and Toby Keith’s “As Good as I Once Was.” This last song rings particularly true in my 43rd year.

  9. Stacie says:

    LOVE the photos. If Austin has spots like this, which of course remind me of Joe’s in Craig, what a fun place to visit!!

  10. oh angel from montgomery….how much do we love john prine!? good one!

  11. stacie, austin is pretty special, but you also know how much I love Uncle Joe’s in Craig MT. another fab jukebox I like to frequent

  12. Harry L says:

    Don’t know if it qualifies as real honky tonk music, but how about Dwight Yoakum’s “Guitars, Cadillacs & Hillbilly Music”?

  13. oh my gosh Harry, I say YES! I can’t believe you mention that because I have been in a total Dwight mode lately. I saw a behind-the-scenes deal on him and his new album on Palladium recently. so I went and downloaded his new album ‘Three Pears’ which inspired me to upload my old CDs to iTunes and so I have been listening to ‘guitars and cadillacs’ nonstop the past 2-3 weeks

    also love his ‘This Time’ album

  14. jeff says:

    I’ve seen that very steer out front of the Spoke before, too. You think it’s funny him BEING there? You oughtta see him tie himself up to that post! Now, THAT’s a trick.

    For honest-to-goodness honkytonkin’, give me some Austin favorites: The Derailers and Dale Watson.
    jeff recently posted..Snooples & El BanditoMy Profile

  15. Turnip Truck Driver says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I kneel to Guy, Townes, Waylon, Willie, Jerry Jeff, Ray Wylie, Billy Joe, Lucinda, et al, but Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Haydn, Mahler, Brahms and Strauss still have Austria in the lead. It just may be that Kinky will provide for a Texas breakout, plus it is easier to get to Austin.

    P.S. If you haven’t caught The Trishas in Austin, they’re a don’t miss.

  16. @Jeff — YES! love the derailers. we missed them by a scooch at the spoke this time. and looove dale watson. wanted to see him at Chicken Shit Bingo at Ginny’s Little Longhorn this past sunday…but he was in Japan.

    @Turnip Truck Driver — you are clearly a renaissance man when it comes to music appreciation. all good stuff. and would you believe I have yet to see the Trishas in Austin? I’ve only seen them the one time in Alabama earlier this summer. they were incredible

    great stuff yall, making my day…

  17. Bob says:

    Love the music exchange! I desperately need some new suggestions. How about Tammy Wynette – I”d like to see Jesus (on the Midnight Special), Willie – Whiskey River and Stay all Night, Waylon – Ladies Love Outlaws, Jerry Jeff – Navaho Rug, The Pickup Song or Sangria Wine, Robert Earl Keen – Corpus Christie Bay, Danni Leigh – If the jukebox took teardrops. Honorable Mention (not honkytonk but appropriate) – Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire and Jackson. Feel free to keep this idea alive. Fly fishing, food and music?! – Life is good.

  18. Bob! I love absolutely every single one of those tunes! Navajo Rug is on one of our favorite MT fishing playlists. how can you not sing along when you’re barreling down the road toward the river??

    here are a few more in the same vein…

    robert earl keen — feelin good again
    waylon — stop the world and let me off
    buck owens — act naturally
    tammy & george — my elusive dreams
    willie nelson — faded love

    THX for sharing! I can keep this going forever…

  19. Bob says:

    Great additions! Love ‘em, put ‘em on my ipod! Feelin’ Good Again is my top-of-the-list favorite of REK. Like Allison Krauss’ The Lucky One, it is a solid feel good blues-beatdown tune.

    How about Waylon – Bob Wills is Still the King and George Jones – The King is Gone (and so are you)? George has so many songs that I love, I can’t even begin to list them.

    On another note, I already plagarized, uh…researched your Montana trip playlist (earlier post this summer) and picked up Slaid Cleeves Brokedown. After that I found Roger Creager and Tom Russell (try Tonight We Ride) and Chris Knight. So you have already done sme good new music missionary work. Thank you!

    Since you you were in NC about the time I was, I should have included Mike Cross for old times sake. You may remember him. You remain a “gotta read” icon!

  20. oh my word how much do we love the slaid cleeves song ‘brokedown’ (just the mention of it makes me feel like I should be pulling through Dillon on my way to fish the Beaverhead)

    now how am I blanking on Mike Cross from carolina days? from that era I remember a lot of The Connells, The Hot Nuts, Jupiter Coyote, Dave Matthews, Widespread, All Good…

  21. jeff says:


    If you really want the best currently-available honkytonkin from the Old North State, consider giving a listen to Eric Strickland & The B-Sides:


    Also, wanna know why that horse is wearing a wig?

    It’s because the horse insisted…He wouldn’t have his picture taken with such a fruit-loop as Bob Redford, otherwise. Do South Austin wimmens a favor and carry a photo of The Duke in there for the ol’ switcheroo.
    jeff recently posted..Snooples & El BanditoMy Profile

  22. Turnip Truck Driver says:

    Speaking of Honky Tonks …………………. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E24C4NY0ga8

  23. great video with ray wylie. cool story

    enjoyed eric strickland & the b sides, thanks for sharing! b sides is a fantastic band name

  24. Amy says:

    Pancho & Lefty…. one of the best. I can just about smell the Shinker Bok…and hear the quarters clanking in the jukebox. Surely a little honky tonk girl on the playlist! Don’t forget Jack Ingram…..

  25. Amy says:

    This is just too much – great list of tunes. Where do I download my FFC itunes playlist???

  26. Ha! I know, how about all these great suggestions from commenters? Yours too, love loretta’s Honky Tonk Girl and good TX music from Jack Ingram!

  27. I love him..But I wish my brain had a map to tell me where my heart should go

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