Sahara Lounge is often described as “the way Austin used to be!”, laid back, good music in a relaxed atmosphere. When you walk in you can feel the musical vibe, you can feel the history.
The historic building at 1413 Webberville Road, near 12th and Springdale, has housed different venues for over 50 years. “Lincoln Drive In” opened its doors in 1962, followed by “RC’s” and “TC’s Lounge”. “TC’s Lounge” operated for 33 years and “Sahara Lounge” opened in 2011, carrying on the tradition of great live music in a relaxed atmosphere. Sahara Lounge is “21 and over” unless accompanied by a parent or spouse.
About the Owners
Sahara Lounge is family owned – Eileen Bristol and her son Topaz McGarrigle, both musicians and community oriented individuals. Both are actively engaged in the daily running of the club and you will often see Topaz bartending on busy nights.
A native Austinite, Topaz is well known around Austin performing in Golden Dawn Arkestra and Mudphonic, as well as other local acts on tenor sax, keyboards, vocals, guitar and harmonica! His musical career was launched when he was a teenager, playing for tips on 6th St. and included a 10 year stint in NYC.
Eileen Bristol plays electric bass and performs with Zoumountchi, the Africa Night house band, and First Flight, a jazz funk band. Born in Houston where her parents operated “Bruce Bristol Motorcycles”, she moved to Austin in 1969 and was one of the founders of the “Austin Waldorf School” in 1980. In the late 80’s she worked at “Onion Creek Farm” a bio-dynamic/organic farm in Dripping Springs. She spent time in Chapel Hill, NC and Ann Arbor, MI working as a massage therapist before returning to Austin to open the club.
Eileen and Topaz share the vision of a club that provides a welcoming, comfortable community space … an escape from the intensity of downtown Austin that provides high quality musical entertainment and a backyard patio that’s great for conversation!
7 nights a week Sahara presents music for almost every taste – African, Brazilian, Funk, Reggae, Indie, Folk, Rock, Soul, Country, Honky-Tonk, Middle Eastern and Jazz, as well as DJ Dance Parties once or twice a month. The club also offers a chess table and 2 billiard tables. The décor features a strong African influence along with a broad variety of historic music posters and maps, encouraging conversations about travel and life experiences.
The backyard seating area is a wonderful place to hang out for an evening under the trees and stars (and the occasional airplane passing in the flight path contributes some excitement!). The fire pit and long tables make it easy to meet new people and share in conversations. Since it is the only club in the immediate neighborhood, Sahara is not a place for bar-hoppers. Instead, people tend to come and stay for the evening. Many drive across town every week because Sahara feels like home.
The club offers a full bar and the cocktail menu includes some house originals such as Akpateshi (rum infused with a variety of African herbs and spices including cloves) and the house drink “Sahara Slant” made from Maine Root Ginger Brew, Spiced Rum, a dab of Akpateshi and lime juice. Also popular are the Old Fashioned, “Kosmic Koolaid” and “Devil’s Piss” – vodka infused with 5 different hot peppers!
Free parking in the lot next to the building with overflow parking at the Webberville Baptist Church next door. Street parking is also available. (Avoid parking in the bike lanes which are on one side of Webberville)
Africa Night was an integral part of the vision of Sahara Lounge from the beginning. It was in Ann Arbor that Eileen met Ibrahim Aminou, bandleader of Zoumountchi and they joined forces playing music together. One day Ibrahim had a dream they would move to Austin and open a restaurant/club. Eileen said, “Sure!” and a couple of years later the Sahara was born, with Zoumountchi as the house band. Ibrahim served as a strong influence in the club’s original organization and décor as well as Africa Night.
Please come and visit us!