The Rest Of The Best: Houston's Top 8 Blues Clubs

Categories: Best of Houston

Like our neighbors over at Eating Our Words, Rocks Off would like to tell you about some places that didn't quite make the cut in our few most recent Best of Houston issues (categories change every year, mostly), but that are worthy on their own merits; today we begin our weekly journey with blues clubs. Don't forget to look at all the winners with our mobile apps for both iPhone and Android.

The sad fact is, given its amazing blues heritage, there just aren't that many blues joints left in Houston -- at least not many that offer blues and nothing but the blues on a nightly basis. In 2010, the Bronze Peacock Room at House of Blues was named best blues venue, but only hosts maybe a dozen blues gigs per year, although it has tried to make a go with some Monday blues shows featuring mostly locals, and does grab the occasional national touring act.

But for those willing to dig a little deeper, Houston still offers some fine blues-oriented waterholes where world class musicians keep the blues alive. Keep in mind, for most venues blues is a part time thing, not the bread and butter. Below are the best venues where blues is still happening.

Trudy-Lynn.jpg
James Fraher
Houston's First Lady of the Blues, Trudy Lynn
8. D Bar: This recently renamed lounge on historic Dowling Street, not too far from the Project Row Houses and the Lightnin' Hopkins historical marker, has become a local hot spot on the weekends, with crowds spilling out onto the patio and cars parked for blocks.

But the club has recently instituted a Blue Monday program that features Trudy Lynn and Gloria Edwards. Running from 6-9 p.m., the show includes a short set by either Lynn or Edwards followed by a jam. The last time we popped in, we met Texas Johnny Brown toting his guitar in for some jamming with some of Houston's top players in the form of Pops Stewart, Pee Wee Stephens, John McVey and Little Joe Frenchwood.

Once-in-a-lifetime combos like that make this is a very cool scene that we hope will grow some legs and stick around a while.

4409 Dowling, 832-304-4409, Facebook page


7. The Hideaway on Dunvale: Rick Lee, a lifelong Houstonian and serious guitar slinger, fronts the Hideaway's Tuesday night jams which bring out many of the folks who also participate in the jams at Big Easy and Dan Electro's.

The last time we were there, Lee was playing drums behind Eric Demmer and Evelyn Rubio, and those two sax maniacs were trying to blow the roof off the joint. Aside from the weekly blues jam, the club also hosts local and touring blues acts as part of its live music mix. A little off the beaten path, this one is worth finding.

3122 Dunvale, 713-977-3515, Web site



Location Info

Map

D Bar

4409 Dowling St., Houston, TX

Category: Music

The Hideaway On Dunvale

3122 Dunvale, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Dan Electro's Guitar Bar

1031 E. 24th, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Boondocks

1417 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Katie's Bar & Grill

315 Grand Ave., Bacliff, TX

Category: Music

Shakespeare Pub

14129 Memorial, Houston, TX

Category: Music

The Big Easy Social and Pleasure Club

5731 Kirby, Houston, TX

Category: Music


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15 comments
Shamonie
Shamonie

No mention of Sonny Boy Terry in regards to the Shakespeare Pub....whom is considered a big part of Shakespeare's history.....

SirThomMoore
SirThomMoore

Big Easy is my place! Always great music coordinated by someone who demonstrably cares about the Blues, and its history in Houston... the honorable Thomas McClendon, who is a good harp-blower himself. Great mix of humanity, good dancefloor and super-reasonably priced drinks. Happiness is...

Delmerquinton
Delmerquinton

Glad to see live music venues and these musicians getting some press but, the press' interpretation of "blues" is less than rudimentary.

What It Is
What It Is

Love the spotlight on all the great Blues clubs in town - thanks!  One correction:  Little Joe is NOT "what a Houston bluesman looks like".  Johnny Brown, Milton Hopkins, Miss Trudy Lynn, Grady Gaines, et al are always lookin' clean and sharp and I'm sure would take issue with the categorization.  Little Joe is "what Little Joe looks like" and with an incredible style all his own - singular, homeless, a madly talented alcoholic Blues player.  Everyone loves them some Little Joe but, honestly, if you ever talk with any of the other legends, they care for him but are truly embarrassed by him.  'Nuf said.

Linda K
Linda K

MY BAD!  I didn't go fer enuf and see that you DID include DEs! Oops!  LK

HeightsHealingHands
HeightsHealingHands

All things considered, you could put in an honorable mention for Dan Electros who has the oldest Blues jam in Houston and has hosted national, regional and local Blues acts including Bob Margolin, Pete Anderson, John Nemeth, Marcia Ball and Rick Estrin.

Sparky Parker
Sparky Parker

Yep, hit the nail on the head! Big Easy and Shakespeares are the best spots to see blues in Houston!

Spruce
Spruce

I like blues well enough on record, but I can quickly get tired of a live blues jam. I would compare it more to a drum circle than a performance. Aside from this, the Houston blues shows tend to be chock full of crotchety fat bald old dudes. I feel like I'm hanging out with my dad and that just makes me depressed. 

White Lightnin'
White Lightnin'

Sonny toots his own horn enough (pun intended), surely he doesn't need a mention in some Houston Press blog.

wms
wms

Really? Do tell?

Delmerquinton
Delmerquinton

Sorry to hear your Dad was so depressing.  I loved hanging out with my dad.  Maybe the crotchety fat bald old dudes should pull out those records you were talking about and do there homework for a change.

Gailmindy
Gailmindy

 One thing that I love about the Blues scene is that it appeals to all ages, races, socioeconomic statuses, etc.  The Big Easy, due to its proximity to Rice University, attracts lots of college students too.  Keep comin' and help Keep the Blues Alive.  P.s. some of those crotchety fat bald old duds are dear friends and have much to share with anyone willing to listen. :)

Gailmindy
Gailmindy

 Sorry, I meant DUDES, not Duds!  far from it! 

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