One of the enjoyable parts of being a country music fan is hanging out in country bars or as we call them, "honky-tonks".
Fortunately, I've been able to attend some great honky-tonks in my time and even met my wife at one of them (Orlando's in Olathe, Kan.)
We now live in California and unfortunately, there aren't many country music clubs in our general area. The closest one that has regular concerts is
The Rodeo Club,
about 70 miles away in downtown San Jose.
I've only been there once, but I had a great time. The concert was Jamey Johnson and Rhett Akins. The nightclub was good-sized and featured a patio where they served excellent burgers and tacos. There was a nice mix of country folk and high-tech people. Hey, it is in Silicon Valley! The show was fun with Akins and Johnson joining forces to sing several rock songs at the end of Akins' set.
They have some concerts coming up at The Rodeo Club, including newcomers Luke Bryan (April 27), Jason Michael Carroll (May 3) and Sarah Buxton (May 16).
I hope to make it back out to the club because the music and the overall atmosphere is enjoyable. These days, I've had to settle for singing karaoke at bars in the area surrounding Stockton.
I don't drink very often and never smoke, so honky-tonkin' for me is all about enjoying the music and atmosphere that goes along with country and western.
As I wrote at the beginning of this post, I've been to some great honky-tonks. I actually started honky-tonkin' as a high school junior when I went to a line-dance bar called Diamond Jack's in Raynham, Mass. I still remember seeing the cardboard cutouts of country stars. I couldn't line-dance worth a lick and still can't.
In college, I attended great honky-tonks like The Beaumont Club in Kansas City, Mo. and No Place in Grain Valley, Mo.
But the best honky-tonk, hands down, was Billy Bobs Texas in Fort Worth. There wasn't even a concert going on the night I was there. You could just tell the greatness of the place by walking around in it. I've listened to so many Live at Billy Bob CDs that I feel like I've been there.
I may have prematurely given Billy Bob's the nod because I'm visiting Nashville in June.
E-mail and let me know what your favorite honky-tonk is and why.