Alright, so it’s a Friday night and you’ve finally got all your work turned in, yet the same ole fraternity party or campus hang out won’t feed your need to distress and have some fun. Why not head out to the local Honky Tonk, it’ll give you a good time and not be a stressful event filled with the drama of who’s dating who you’d find at a campus bash. As Trace Adkins intoned in his song “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” you’ll find “Husslers shootin’ eightball; Throwin’ darts at the wall; Feelin’ damn near 10 ft. tall..Keepin’ perfect rhythm; Make ya wanna swing along; Got it goin’ on; Like Donkey Kong…” (Honky Tonk Badonkadonk by Trace Adkins).
What is a Honky Tonk?
Honky Tonks sometimes referred to as “honkatonks” or “tonks” are down home or rough establishments were music is abundant; answers.com defines honky tonks as “cheap noisy bars or dance halls” (answers.com). Basically a honky is a cheap bar which or may not incorporate live music but usually has a jute box and cheap beer, basically one of my favorite Friday night haunts. The loud music, sticky bar and randomly shaped dance floor along with the regulars shooting pool in the dark corners of the establishment come together to make an atmosphere I can’t do without. My personal favorite honky tonk even includes regulars willing to teach pool enthusiasts like myself how to actually play pool and wind up making some money instead of losing out.
The draw for me is the ability to show up as you are and absorb the music and rowdy atmosphere, the eighties hits being played along with today’s country top songs. Ordering your favorite drink and talking to the locals who grew up going to that particular honky since the night they turned twenty one and have more stories and life lessons than you could hear in a night to impart. These establishments are part of America’s heritage and an integral part of our night life history and as such should be something you experience at least once if not a thousand times.
Find Your Local Honky Tonk
Check out your local honky tonk and see if there are listings for live shows especially those sporting local bands. Live music nights are some of my personal favorites even when the local band isn’t exactly one to write home about. Whether the band is the next rising star or a group of mismatched sub par musicians attempting to make music it just adds to the atmosphere and gives you something to talk about with your friends or an ice breaker in meeting new people by commenting on the horrible band. Also check for any themed nights or special deals as some honky tonks have come to incorporate these in a bid for new clientele.
Either way honky tonks are an integral part of the American southern tradition and pretty cool places to hang out and unwind during a work free night. You should give your local honky tonk a try and avoid the college scene drama, you might actually enjoy it and find a new stomping ground.
By Sandra Alves