James White Broken Spoke Vertical

Keepin' it Country

James White - Broken Spoke

James White has been the man behind iconic honkytonk Broken Spoke since September 25, 1964-- the day he got out of the service, and the day he started building it. In November of that year it opened. 54 years later, and not much has changed. “We’re still family owned and run. And I’m keepin’ it country.” says White.

While Austin has expanded and grown around ‘The Spoke’s South Lamar locale, and beers are no longer four for a dollar, the country vibes remain true as ever. It remains a major stop on the trail of country music pilgrimage. The cheap beer, good food and pure country stage and dancefloor remain.

“We started as a little neighborhood bar. My whole business was run out of two cigar boxes. An inbox, and an outbox. Then we blew up.” says White.

Over the years, Broken Spoke has hosted everyone from neighborhood regulars, to country music icons. Willie Nelson was playing Broken Spoke back in ‘67. “I booked Willie back when he had short hair. He was clean shaven, sport coat, turtleneck,” says White. Since Willie, White has hosted many of country’s best who have insisted on stopping by the iconic venue, including Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton.

Today, White puts what Broken Spoke continues to bring to Austin as the city grows around the South Lamar honkytonk.

“Sometimes I feel like the Alamo, one of the last holdouts. But I’m here to stay. I’ve been here 54 consecutive years. Austin is growing, and that’s okay. I just love country music.”

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