A Young Person's Guide to Houston's Historic Blues Venues

Categories: Catfish Reef

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Photo by Jim Olive/GHCVB
Not pictured: Blues venues.
Houston is a sprawling metropolis of subdivisions and strip centers that retains a strong cultural hub. But this "cultural hub" has actually become more of a cultural sprawl. Especially music-wise, neighborhoods outside Loop 610 are often seen as culturally sterile, though some elements of Houston's more developed, inner-city culture have spread.

I was recently speaking about these things with my grandmother, who grew up enamored by the blues.

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She moved to Houston from Chicago just as Shakespeare Pub was opening up. For those who don't know, Shakespeare's (as it's commonly called) is a bar located about 20 miles west of the loop. The interesting part is, it was opened for the purpose of being the first live outlet for blues music in the Houston suburbs.

I grew up around the area where Shakespeare's is located, but hadn't thought of its significance until just recently. I thought it was just another venue, but it led me to wonder what other oft-overlooked local blues venues are in fact steeped in Houston music history. Below are a few of the most prominent of these places and how they fare today.

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Shakespeare's is 11 miles from Katy Frwy and West Loop. Not 20 miles.


This isn't just for young people, but for everybody!


@tlafaver Ah, considering a couple of the other venues listed that are within the loop are about 20 or so miles away from Shakespeare's, I took it from the nearest point on the loop coming from those places. Regardless, it's a fairly quick commute.

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