Originally scheduled to reopen in summer 2015, the latest incarnation of Antone's opened on New Year's Eve 2015. The location at 305 East Fifth Street was announced in early 2015, and up-and-coming blues star Gary Clark Jr. announced his involvement in the project in March 2015. Gary Clark got his start playing at Antone's when he was still a teenager. Clifford Antone's passion for the blues had a major impact on Clark as well as many other Texas blues musicians. Stevie Ray Vaughan often played at Antone's, and he was one of Clark's major influences. Clark was mentored by Stevie Ray's brother Jimmie, who also was a regular performer at the club.
The location in downtown Austin is a homecoming of sorts for Antone's. The original club was located just a few blocks away on 6th Street.
Founded by Clifford Antone in 1975, the venue has hosted all the blues greats, from Muddy Waters to Pinetop Perkins. The owner's passion for -- and encyclopedic knowledge of -- blues music brought an almost reverential vibe to the club. Clifford Antone was a hands-on owner who loved to share stories about the history of the blues and its many eccentric characters. His own life story, including two stints in prison, had some bluesy undercurrents. Antone died in 2006 at the age of 56.
The owner's legal problems and Austin's shifting musical tastes led to hard times for the club. It is perhaps a fitting legacy for a music venue committed to the blues. Yet the new owners are also devoted blues fans, and they hope to do Clifford Antone justice in their new venture. Other investors include Clifford's sister Susan Antone, Will Bridges, Alex Shoghi and Spencer Wells.
In recent years, about the only constant has been the Blue Monday free happy show with Derek O'Brien. Best known as a blues guitarist, O'Brien always hosts a fun show that's popular among bar and restaurant employees (who generally start their "weekends" on Mondays). Despite the bar's many relocations, the staff also remains remarkably stable, and the service is friendly even when the place is packed.
While blues is still the primary focus, the schedule also includes country acts, rock bands and even an occasional hip-hop show. Ticket prices range from $5 to $50.
The annual Help Clifford Help Kids concert benefiting American Youthworks. The organization helps young people between the ages of 17 and 28 get their lives on the right track. The group provides job training, tutoring to earn a GED, free meals, internships and volunteer opportunities. The youths learn to give back and get ahead at the same time.
Antone's / 305 E. Fifth Street