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Storied Austin honky tonk Broken Spoke to reopen Friday

Deborah Sengupta Stith,
Broken Spoke owner James White said he’s thrilled to be able to open his club on Friday. [2014 JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday announced that the state’s bars will be allowed to reopen Friday at 25% capacity. While many Austin bars and live music establishments plan to take more time before reopening their doors, historic honky tonk the Broken Spoke will be back in business on Friday.

“I’m tickled to death to open up the bar. I’m very happy about it,” bar owner James M. White said Monday.

White called the 25% capacity allowance, “a good start.”

“I would have rather had 50%, but I’ll take 25%, that’s a hell of a lot better than nothing,” he said.

He plans to have waitresses serve tables of no more than six patrons placed six feet apart in compliance with new guidelines.

“We can have people sitting at every other table or something like that,” he said.

He plans to place hand sanitizer at a table by the door and at stations scattered around the bar. He has a no-contact thermometer ordered to help him monitor the health of his staff. White is asking his servers to wear masks and he plans to wear one, too.

“Unless you want to come in and take a picture with me, then I’ll take my mask off,” he said.

Cowboy singer Ben Rodgers is scheduled to play a solo set at the club on Friday, followed by Western Express, a small group of two to three players, on Saturday.

White said he hopes to get more clarification on the governor’s no dancing policy, but for the time being the club will prioritize food and music over boot scootin’.

“It’s gonna be fun,” he said, adding that people are ready to get out. “They’ve been getting cabin fever. They’re tired of it. And they want to get out and have some fun.

“What’s the use of being here if you can’t have some kind of fun in life.”