A major concert venue that's also a pretty good barbecue joint, Stubb's features mid-level touring acts ranging from the Dropkick Murphys to Blondie. The sprawling limestone building, originally built in the 1850s, has a laid-back, rustic feel. The outdoor amphitheater can hold a little over 2,000 people, while the two-story indoor performance space is much more intimate. Named one of "The Best Big Rooms in America" by Rolling Stone magazine, Stubb's is known for excellent acoustics and reasonably easy access to booze and restrooms.
Tips for Enjoying an Outdoor Show
The security people at Stubb's have a reputation for being a little heavy-handed at times. Just make sure you don't wander into restricted areas, which can change from show to show. You'll be standing on dusty, gravelly ground, so you may want to think twice before wearing open-toed shoes. For a good view and quick access to bars, stake out a spot about midway between the stage and the back of the venue -- a slight rise in elevation will place you a little bit above the crowd. In summer, the heat can be brutal -- particularly if it's a sold-out show -- but the venue supplies free water and industrial-strength fans to make it a little more bearable.
The pulled pork sandwich is a crowd favorite, as are the generous side dishes, including mac-and-cheese, sweet potato fries and cole slaw. The brisket is consistently fork-tender, but the ribs can be hit or miss. The peppery barbecue sauce is a must-have, and you can buy a bottle to go. In fact, the restaurant sells a full line of sauces, rubs and marinades based on C.B. Stubblefield's original recipes.
Sunday Gospel Brunch
While purists will point out that the music isn't always gospel, it is always rootsy, bluesy and excellent. With a bloody Mary bar and a buffet that includes cheese grits, biscuits and brisket, the temptation to overindulge is strong. Thanks to the music, however, there's plenty of forgiveness in the air.
The insanely popular Franklin Barbecue is only about a quarter mile away on East 11th Street. For those who aren't willing to stand in line for hours for near-perfect brisket, Stubb's is a solid backup plan. The multilevel building has plenty of seating, so there's usually no wait at all.
The original Stubb's was located in Lubbock and presented musical icons such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and Joe Ely in the 1970s and early '80s. When owner C.B. Stubblefield ran into financial problems, he shut down the restaurant and moved to Austin in the late 1980s. He opened a new Stubb's in north Austin, where he served up blues and barbecue until 1989. He died in 1995 before he could bring his vision for the historic venue on Red River Street to fruition, but friends, family members and investors have kept the Stubb's tradition alive.
There is no parking on site, but there are several pay lots within walking distance.
801 Red River Street, Austin, TX 78701