10 within 90: Dance hall day trip

by Michael Corcoran, 2008

The classic Texas dancehalls are treasures, and they’re buried right in your back yard. We all know about Luckenbach and Gruene Hall , the most famous dancehalls in Texas. And though it’s not technically a dancehall, Floores Country Store in Helotes is a fave way-back venue for the college country crowd. But there are several lesser-known dancehalls in the area which will make you feel like you’re stepping into 1956, or even earlier than that if a polka band is playing. Here are 15 classic hardwood havens, all built before World War II (and many before World War I), where you can get in your car and, in less than a 90-minute drive, transport yourself to a simpler, more innocent time.

Fischer Hall, photographer unknown

(Many are open to the public only occasionally, so call first.)

1. Sefcik Hall, Bell County. Sefcik Hall has a downstairs bar that’s open nightly, but the real attraction is the upstairs ballroom, where regulars dance every Sunday night from 6 to 10 p.m. (Tonight, sax-player Alice Sulak’s band Jerry Haisler and the Melody Five play.) Just off Texas 53 in Seaton, eight miles due east of Temple. (254) 985-2356. Read the rest of this entry »


Waltz across Texas: Dancehalls roundup

The Broken Spoke is a boot-slidin’ paradise, haunted by the ghosts of true country music, but don’t call it a dancehall. For starters, the joint on South Lamar Boulevard is a relatively young ‘un, opening in 1964. The majority of classic Texas dancehalls were built by Czech and German immigrants in the years between the Civil War and World War I to help keep their cultural identity alive. You know the Spoke is a honky-tonk, not a dancehall, because there are no foreign words on the walls like Wilkommen and Verein. There are no children standing on the shoes of their waltzing grandfathers. Read the rest of this entry »