Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Money woes force Coupland Inn and Dancehall to shut its doors

Gary Dinges
gdinges@statesman.com

A summertime slump in business and tense negotiations with lenders have forced a well-known Williamson County dance hall to close its doors, at least temporarily.

The Old Coupland Inn and Dancehall — a bed and breakfast, dance hall and restaurant — will not be open this weekend and will remain shuttered until further notice, owner Rick Smitherman said Wednesday.

"We've talked to the lenders about restructuring, and they don't appear interested," Smitherman said.

Smitherman, who has owned the dance hall at 101-103 Hoxie St. in the Coupland community for four years, said it's subject to first and second liens by private investors.

"I promise you this isn't a tactic I'm using to force them to negotiate," he said. "This is horrible. I hate it. Nobody wants this place to shut down."

People who purchased tickets for scheduled performances, including George Ducas on Friday and Al Dressen on Saturday, will receive refunds, Smitherman said. Details are posted at couplanddancehall.com.

Acts are booked through February, Smitherman said. He said he has notified musicians they might want to look into moving their gigs elsewhere.

With about 600 households, the Coupland community has few entertainment options, Coupland Civic Organization chairwoman Barbara Piper said.

"A lot of people of all ages go there to hear music and enjoy the dance hall," she said. "There's not really anything else here."

If the venue permanently shuts down, Piper said, area residents will have to drive to Austin, Round Rock or Taylor to hear live music.

gdinges@statesman.com; 912-5987