#22 The Beach Cabaret
From 1983- 87, the so-called “New Sincerity” scene (True Believers, Zeitgeist/Reivers, Glass Eye, Wild Seeds, Doctors’ Mob, Dharma Bums, etc.) was born and nurtured in two clubs that were really more like clubhouses: the Continental south of the river and the Beach, one block north of the University of Texas campus. The Beach (2911 San Jacinto St.) was unique in that
it was a neighborhood bar and it had a big patio in front. That sense of hominess continued on inside, where Daniel Johnston got his first cheers of encouragement (and jeers, too), opening for Glass Eye.
Not just the haven for jangly guitar bands, the Beach booked punk acts like Scratch Acid, Criminal Crew, Cargo Cult and the Crybabies. Just as with Raul’s years earlier, there were quite a few fights when frats infiltrated the punk scene. But 99% of the time, the place had a heavenly vibe. And, usually, Doctors’ Mob holding court on the patio was more entertaining than all the bashing around inside.
Owner Chris Mossler, the adopted son of infamous Houston socialite Candy Mossler, sold the Beach in 1987 to the Crown & Anchor folks and focused on the South Bank at Riverside and Barton Springs Road, but that joint faded with the NS scene.
#23 Castle Creek
The 1411 Lavaca Street address holds a lot of history, with the Chequered Flag folk haven there in the ‘60s, and the Comedy Workshop, Austin’s home for Sam Kinison, Bill Hicks and many more, in the ‘80s. During the ‘70s it was Castle Creek, a 285-capacity listening room that knew how to rock. Jimmy Buffett, Doug Kershaw and Lightnin’ Hopkins mixed in the schedule with songwriters that sang, such as Willie Nelson, John Prine and Jackson Browne. There was a strict “no talking” rule when it was an acoustic act, but all hell broke loose when Little Feat made their Texas debut at the club in ’71.
This 20-year-old piano player named Doug Moyes had the idea, to open a farm club to the 1,500-capacity Armadillo World Headquarters, but he needed a partner with club experience and that was Tim O’Connor, in his mid-‘20s, who had been running a club in Colorado. Castle Creek was named after an area near Aspen where Moyes had camped a couple years earlier.
The pair scrapped together just enough money to pay a $1,500 deposit for banjo legend Earl Scruggs, then sold out all four nights. They were off!
O’Connor left Castle Creek in ’74 to work fulltime for Willie. Moyes eventually sold the club to a pair of Houston jazz fans and they lost their ass. The club closed for good in 1976.