Like cilantro, the San Antonio Spurs, or Hillary Clinton, country music is polarizing. I myself have loved it, hated it, made fun of it, and came back around to loving it again -- but only certain types. The White Horse epitomizes "cool" country music, but here are some other, older places that fit the bill. A bill, by the way, that's a little less Taylor Swift -- and a lot more Johnny Cash.
Broken Spoke was built on what used to be the outskirts of town, and it was here, in this mysterious Austin in-between, where cowboys and hippies worshipped at the altar of Willie Nelson. Two-steppin' here is an Austinite must.
Whip In is such a versatile, bizarre little Austin gem. The atmosphere of this beer/wine store-turned-gastropub is "Hindu Hillbilly," with two stages regularly featuring indie folk, singer/songwriters, and down-home country.
A classic country-filled jukebox, scratchy speakers, a homey lake house atmosphere: These are the spoils of Dry Creek, a hidden, old Austin delight. On a nice day, grab a beer and sit out on the big, creaky deck overlooking Lake Austin.
Cactus Cafe is housed inside a red velvet curtained, low-lit room inside UT's Student Union building, and hosts some of the best musicians you've never heard of on their stage. Then again, maybe you have -- hello, Townes Van Zandt! Good to see you, Dixie Chicks! -- but the cocktail tabled, smal jazz club set-up of this place makes every act you see feel like your own personal discovery.
Yes, it's on Sixth, but The Parish rises both figuratively and literally above its bar neighbors. Perched on the second floor in a long, gorgeous music hall, with wooden floors, two generous bars and great sound, The Parish currently hosts some of the best local and touring acts any night of the week.
A country-dancing, fire-spinning, karaoke-ing gay bar? I think it's pretty self-explanatory why you need to check out Rusty's, if you haven't already.