Grass is Much Greener is Gruene, Texas

gruene-hall-texas-lIf you do not know what Gruene Hall is, you probably didn’t grow up in Texas. So for those of you who don’t know, Gruene Hall is a historic staple of country music in Texas and is known as a small utopia full of southern vibes, southern cooking, and classic southern music. Gruene Hall is located in Gruene, Texas, a tiny town outside of New Braunfels right off of I35. Built in 1878, Gruene Hall is known for being Texas’ most famous dance hall. Today, Gruene is the center of the Texas entertainment scene, and the epitome of unspoiled country music talent. Live music performances happen every night, with artists that range from the Dixie Chicks, to Willie Nelson, to George Strait. The list is never ending, but no matter who the performer is that night, there is a universally accepted fact that the music will never dissapoint. Gruene is a staple of my childhood as this was the place that truly taught me to love country music.

My relationship with Gruene has been so strong throughout the years because the family of one of my best friend’s actually are the current owners of the entire city of Gruene and have devoted so much time and effort in creating such a magical place. Without their efforts to help conserve the historic town, I don’t think it would be as recognized as it is today. The town started out with only the dance hall, and has now evolved to be recognized as a very functional city that consists of several good restaurants, a general store, an antique shop, and of course, the signature water tower.


The two main restaurants are the Gristmill and Mozie’s, which was named after my friend. The Gristmill is the more popular of the two, as it can accommodate up to a couple hundred of guests at a time, with a fun Texas-style atmosphere, staple homestyle cooking, and classic southern hospitality. Going to the Gristmill for lunch is more of a day-long activity than going to any other boring restaurant, because it is such a fun reminder of my southern roots. Whenever I have friends in from out of town, this is my go-to place for an afternoon of tourism. Even if I’m from San Antonio, I would choose to take someone to Gruene, Texas over visiting the Alamo any day.

Gruene-031-Large1The first concert I ever saw at Gruene Hall was the Dixie Chicks when I was about eight years old. I went with my family early and of course ate at the Gristmill, then took a classic tourist picture in front of the water tower, and then headed down the cobble stone path to Gruene Hall. The night was magical. The atmosphere of the dancehall is so full of life that it encourages even the old people to have a great time and dance all night. Because of the set up of the Hall, the audience is more encouraged to dance rather than to line up in rows to hear the performer. Unfortunately I wasn’t much of a dancer, so I chose my spot right in front of the stage and stared directly up at my idols for three hours straight. I am reminded of this night every time I return to Gruene, because the city and the Hall have been left untouched and innocent, and that is why it is so special.

12597-20130304_GrueneHall_131-608956ccAt Gruene Hall, it’s not only about who the performer is that night, it’s the traditional country atmosphere and pure Texas experience that the place has to offer. When people want to stereotype Texas and say that we ride our horses to school, I laugh because that would probably actually happen in Gruene. It’s all part of the experience, and if you haven’t visited the town yet, it should be the absolute next adventure you take.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Texas

8 Responses to Grass is Much Greener is Gruene, Texas

  1. Julie Kleberg

    I’m so glad someone chose to write about Gruene Hall, It is one of my favorite places in Texas. The town si so cute, unique, and authentic. I love a town centered around good music, good people, and good dancing. There should be more places where two-stepping is the only thing allowed. The Gristmill is also such a fun restaurant, especiialy when you get to sit outside on a pretty day. I have been to many concerts though and have never left with a little extra pep in my step. I bet seeing the Dixie Chicks there was incredible, wish I could have gone to that. Great post!

  2. Timothy Harakal

    Wow! Very interesting read, especially that your friends have such an active role in preserving that town. I think that’s amazing how it started out with just the Dance Hall, and then slowly, they have been helping the rest of the town mimic the historic feel. Looking at the last picture in your post, I was impressed by how large the dance floor is! I’m not sure how it compares to the floor of the old Midnight Rodeo, but it sure does look larger. And funny you posted this this weekend because my fiance and I were thinking of heading out there to dance. We’ll just have to make sure to go some other time.

  3. Drew Scherger

    I’d also put Gruene Hall at the top of my list if I was going to show someone around Texas. I think its great that they’ve been able to keep the dancehall alive while most other towns have abandoned theirs. Unfortunately, the last time I visited was a year ago. My friends and I were at WurstFest and decided to stop by Gruene Hall to see who was playing and it turned out it was Willie Nelson. The show was sold out but we ended up walking around to the back where a door was open and we had a great view of the show.

  4. Tyler King

    I love this article. Now I haven’t been to a concert at Gruene Hall yet, but the the town of Gruene is so fun and so historic. My family would always go to the Gristmill after floating down the river and the Gristmill will always be one of my favorite places to go eat. I have been around Gruene Hall when they had a concert going on, and I can tell you that that atmosphere and environment even on the outside is a unique one that not many other concert venues in Texas have

  5. Cassidy Wilson

    Visting Gruene has been on my bucket list since I have moved to Texas. Just a couple weeks ago I had dinner at the Gristmill and I fell in love. We were just stopping by so we didn’t have time to visit the dance hall, but it made me want to go even more. It was really interesting to hear your personal ties to Gruene. I wish I could’ve seen the Dixie Chicks perform there. I can’t even imagine how cool that would be! Gruene is definitely a place I want to take all my friends and family to when they come visit! I could totally see how it would have such an influence on someone! Great post!

  6. Max Holter

    Such a cool story! This really sent me into a rabbit hole of research about what this really not being from Texas I had no idea what this place, Gruene Hall, was. Just your story really brought it to life for me. I was able to get really in to your blog post, and so I know it was well written. I usually like when people put songs somewhere in their blog post, and so maybe a live performance video from Gruene would have been cool, but defiantly not necessary. Great post, really enjoyed reading it.

  7. Lee Allen

    I really enjoyed this, Mae! I have actually been to Gruene once to perform a country-dance routine in high school, and it is beautiful. It really is a lot of fun, even if you don’t know the performer that night, or don’t even like country music (some people on the team didn’t). You totally hit the nail on the head with this post, the town is so historic, the strip of stores is so unique, and the food, of course, is always good. Gristmill is where we all ate lunch, and it did not disappoint. That’s really cool that you remember the first concert you’ve ever been to there, I couldn’t tell ya who performed when we went. I loved this post, it took me on a trip down memory lane. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Mae, I loved this article! I have only gotten to go to one concert there, but I have to say it was one of the best concerts I have ever been to. The ambiance really sets the tone for good country music, and I hope they never modernize the dance hall. Seeing the Dixie Chicks there must have been a great experience. I haven’t spent much time in the city of Gruene, and am excited to hear there are some good restaurants around. I love visiting small towns, so I need to plan a trip to Gruene soon to see what it has to offer other than the dance hall.

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