The legendary Continental Club opened its doors in 1955 and celebrates over 60 years as one the oldest continuously running clubs in all of Austin. It started out as a swanky supper club, then became Austin's first burlesque club and later became a working man's blue collar bar on South Congress that opened every morning at 7am and eventually grew into one of the premier live music venues presenting bands like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Paul Ray and the Cobras, Joe Ely, Bill Carter and the Blame and many more onstage back in the late 70's thru the early 80's.
It continued from '83-'87 as a hotbed for new wave/punk and rock n roll with bands like Social Distortion, The Replacements, The True Believers and many others performing. In 1987, the club was renovated and refurbished to make it as close to it's original 1950s version as possible, including the restoration of the original murals that you see on the walls today. From '87 to the present The Continental Club, now a historical landmark is the premier roots rock, traditional country and blues, rockabilly and garage rock club in the country. Roosevelt "The Grey Ghost" Williams kicked things off New Years Eve 1987 and continued to play regular happy hours. Ernie Bowser, TD Bell and the Blues Specialists followed suit with Friday happy hours and are still playing after 3 decades with the next generation onstage with original member Mel Davis. Everyone from Junior Brown to Link Wray to Robert Plant have graced the stage. Folks like Bill Frisell, Southern Culture on the Skids, Alejandro Escovedo, Barfield the Tyrant of Texas Funk, Wanda Jackson, Toni Price, James Burton, Dale Watson, James McMurtry, Jon Dee Graham and the country super group Heybale call The Continental Club home.
The Continental Gallery started out as Irving's Steakhouse in the mid 50's providing food for the Continental Club back in the day, and later became an architect's office (who in fact designed the long gone Terrace Motel that sat directly behind the Continental Club and belonged to Willie Nelson at one time and also the Villa Capri Hotel near UT campus). The space became the famous One World Guitars owned and operated by collector and music lover Steve Brown.
After Steve passed away, they took over the space and moved a full sized Hammond B-3 organ and Leslie speaker and a ping pong table up above the Continental Club, and began a revolving art show on the walls and named it the Continental Gallery. Over the last 7 years the gallery has been home to the organ stylings of Mr. Mike Flanigin as a host to everyone from Jimmie Vaughan to Derek O'Brien, Denny Freeman, Billy F Gibbons, Jake Langley, Dave Biller and more great guitar players with the incomparable Barry "Frosty" Smith on drums. The Continental Gallery is a little hidden upstairs speakeasy of sorts and an intimate room for enjoying jazz, soul, r&b and singer-songwriter music with the likes of Dr. James Polk and Elias Haslinger, Ephraim Owens, The Lost Counts and James McMurtry holding court. It is as close to having a house concert in your living room as you can get.