TC’s Lounge: Austin’s down home blues spot

Hours before the music begins and the sun is just beginning to set, T.C.’s Lounge feels like a ghost town. It is hard to believe in a few hours the place will be crowded with people old and young dancing to the blues, causing the floor to move and the walls to rattle. The place will be so packed that the fan and A/C unit will no longer be enough to keep the place cool. There will be a long line at the bar for cold beer and free southern soul food made by T.C.’s bartender, Baby Girl.

The atmosphere is everything you imagined of living in the era of Delta and Chicago Blues, Juke Joints, and Muddy Waters. It takes you back to a time when good music and hard times converged and, to this day, T.C.’s Lounge continues to carry on the blues tradition. Bars in Austin can be here today and gone tomorrow, but owner Thomas C. Perkins has kept the blues music going in his place, at 1413 Webberville Road, since 1978.  The Blues is home for T.C.’s Lounge.

“I listened to B.B. King, Ray Charles, Bobby Blue Bland, and old timers growing up. I would visit other cities and see how Jazz was working. I wanted to bring back to T.C.’s but it didn’t workout. Then once in a while I tried to play music on the jukebox that kept up with the times like hip hop/rap, but I felt the music was becoming more offensive and created more problems. After a while I decided to keep it just Blues, and I haven’t had any problems since then. People who come here now come to enjoy the music and to have a good time,” said Perkins.

On Monday nights, The Little Elmore Reed Band fills the room with great blues music, and the dance floor is never empty. Monday nights bring in the biggest crowd, but any other night you can experience the true soul of the club. Every Wednesday night, Soul Track Mind graces the stage with funky, soulful rhythms and beats. Free food is served Monday to Sunday, and the menu is never planned. The cooks, Thomas’s nieces, cook what they feel. Thomas is aware of his community in which his bar resides, and wants to give back to his customers with cheap drink prices, great entertainment, and free food.

“The people on the East side are very supportive. I try to keep it a regular bar. I am in the area of working people and I’m not trying to kick them out with overpricing because they have been very supportive of me all these years. I’m also very happy to see the diversity of the crowd. Everyone is welcome here,” said Perkins.

T.C.’s has a more true blues roots feel than the blues bars you find on Sixth Street, and you feel it as soon as you park in the dirt parking lot and walk up to the “lopsided barn that’s grimy with years of dancing,” as stated on their MySpace page. So whether you choose to go to T.C.’s Lounge on a Monday, when the dance floor shakes, or any other night, when the place is less crowded and the music is still great, get on down to T.C.’s Lounge where the blues is still alright.

By Dulcenea Garcia

5 Responses for “TC’s Lounge: Austin’s down home blues spot”

  1. tom blues man hunter says:

    nice review of the joint….but where the hell is it? what street is it on?

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for catching that oversight! TC’s is located at 1413 Webberville Road.

  3. Mr Perkins says:

    [email protected] Little Elmore Reed Blues Band:

    “Sad to report that TC’s Lounge has been sold so our 7+ year run will be coming to an end sometime within the next few weeks. Don’t miss a chance to come on out, show some love to TC and the staff and shake somethin’ with us tomorrow night when our special guest will be Miss Eve Monsees along with Dale Spalding, Willie Pipkin, Pat Whitefield and myself. We’re going to miss this place more than you’ll ever know.”

  4. Come check us out! The Sahara Lounge is now open, doing our best to carry on the TC Lounge tradition at 1413 Webberville Rd. We are keeping the popular Monday Blues Night, featuring the Moeller Brothers Band. We are also adding live jazz, DJ’s, Rock and African music. The new owners (3 partners) are dedicated musicians. We created a beer garden in the backyard which is a great place to have a cigarette and enjoy the night air. We appreciate your support, keeping alive a 33 year tradition of live music alive in East Austin. 512-927-0700

  5. The Sahara Lounge has now opened in the old TC’s building. Still providing great live music in a friendly setting. Come check us out. The Moeller Brothers performs on Mondays. Blues Night. Saturday is Africa Night, featuring Zoumountchi. Free parking. Beer Garden. Billiard Tables. Friendly people.

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