For the fifth time in its 36-year history, Antone’s, the historic Austin blues club, is packing up and heading out. Come April 1, the spot will become The Infest, a music and art space owned and operated by Michigan natives Ben and Chelsea Riseman.
But according to Antone’s spokesman Frank Hendrix, the club may have a new home on East Riverside, in the space currently occupied by Beauty Ballroom, which is set to close at the end of the month. Hendrix, who is also a partner in the Beauty Ballroom, as well as the owner of Emo’s East, says Antone’s current building at Fifth and Lavaca wasn’t customer-friendly, due in part to its lack of parking.
“Antone’s has been open for 36 years, and will be open for 36 more,” says spokesman Frank Hendrix. “It’s not going away, and moving it will not kill it.”
Hendrix also blames the changing climate of the warehouse district to favor residential development, and he says the club’s customers have expressed their desire for a different venue.
Hendrix says he’s in talks with two downtown hotels and one condominium development to become the permanent home of Antone’s, suggesting that a move to the Beauty Ballroom space would be temporary.
“Antone’s has been open for 36 years and will be open for 36 more years. It’s not going away and moving it will not kill it,” he says. “Where it ends up will be a bigger, nicer venue that will be far more customer friendly than where it’s at now. We’ve had some very good offers made to us for a new home, because people know how important of a place Antone’s is to Austin.”
Clifford Antone opened Antone’s in 1975, and the club helped launch the careers of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Gary Clark Jr. Antone’s has been in four different locations since it opened — most famously on Guadalupe, its third, which it left in 1997 to head downtown — but it has always been a popular stop for touring bands and singer-songwriters.
Since Clifford Antone died in 2006, the club’s booking has been handled by his sister, Susan. Hendrix’s team took over many management duties of the club in 2010.
“Susan blesses the whole move and will continue with the booking when we get up and running in April,” Hendrix says.