“There was an allure to trying to bring in a new generation of dancers and music lovers, not to mention that I think we’re down to about 200 Texas dance halls,” Parker said. “My dream and goal was to resurrect and keep alive this Texas staple.”
The Parkers have aimed to give Last Chance the trappings of classic dance halls of Texas’ past, with live country, bluegrass and Americana music and two-stepping lessons. The venue itself comes with history; according to Parker, its main building dates back to the 1800s.
“It’s been everything from a post office to barracks. The restrooms that are currently in place actually used to be the outhouse,” Parker said.
The property straddles the line between Travis and Hays counties, the latter of which was a dry county until the late 1990s. During the 80s and 90s when a bar occupied the building, the owner drew a line on the ceiling to mark on which side patrons could legally drink alcohol, Parker said. A sign also sat outside the bar that read “Last chance to drink before the hill country.” That piece of history gave Last Chance Bar & Dancehall its name.
Now, Parker’s business is part of a new era of history. She and her husband could not have predicted when they opened nearly a year ago that the coronavirus pandemic was a few months off. Having started up Last Chance’s kitchen for the first time in November, the dance hall was not yet known for its food when COVID-19 restrictions prompted Last Chance to close in March of this year. Unable to justify a curbside model, kitchen staff had to be laid off, and so Last Chance did not qualify for federal Paycheck Protection Program aid.
Parker said she and her husband did their best to use the closure as an opportunity to revamp the space and deck out the backyard with family friendly games. Now reopen for several weeks, she hopes adults and families alike will check out their neighborhood dance hall—for the food, the music, the dancing and the fun.
Some of the Parkers own relatives will be coming in from Ohio for Last Chance Dance Hall’s long-anticipated, official grand opening celebration in July.
“If you think of a Texas dance hall, it’s two steppin’, boot scootin’ and line dancing. It’s the allure of not knowing who’s gonna stop in,” Parker said. “This is my opportunity to show them.”
Last Chance Bar & Dancehall
12013 W. Hwy. 290