Along Hwy. 71, among the rolling hills west of Austin, the legendary music venue and bar Poodies Roadhouse remains a Spicewood staple for residents new and old.

The gist

Poodies was originally owned by Willie Nelson's stage manager of 34 years, Randall "Poodie" Locke, who purchased the property in 1998.

The bar is known for its down-home atmosphere, sunset views and nightly live music concerts, where local artists get a chance to perform.

The past

When Poodie died in 2009, Sharon Burke, who shared a history in working at music venues, took over.

Since then, Burke has given the bar a makeover, complete with a new sound system, bar top, flooring, kitchen and more.

She also started a Songwriter Showcase that takes place every Monday, where patrons can enjoy a choice cut ribeye steak and watch local artists share original material.

Still, Burke has been careful to preserve the bar's nostalgic charm. The walls of the bar are adorned with old photos of Willie Nelson and Poodie together, alongside other famous country and blues artists who have played at Poodies over the years.

People still huddle around the pool table with ice cold beers and enjoy the famous Poodie Burger, stacked with grilled green chiles and pepper jack cheese.

What's special about it?

Even on a rainy Tuesday night, every table can fill with crowds waiting to see The Troubadillos, a band that's played at Poodies once a week for over 30 years, Burke said.

"We have such a community here, and it's because we're consistent. ... This is authentic Texas. You come in here, and it feels like home," Burke said.

What's changed?

Since becoming the owner, she said she's seen thousands of new homes flood into the Spicewood area, bringing a younger crowd than ever before.

"We could remodel a whole thing, make it super modern and probably make a whole lot more money, but it wouldn't be Poodies anymore," Burke said.

Quote of note

"I was raised in Kansas in an environment very much like how Spicewood is—lakes, fishing, camping, dancing in bars just like this. It's hard to find nowadays," Burke said.