Country music fans dance at The Garage in downtown St. Louis.

The Garage and The Honky Tonk Strike a Chord with Country Music Fans in St. Louis

Wednesday June 21, 2023

By Rachel Huffman

Calling all country music fans! The Garage and The Honky Tonk are powered by guitars, fiddles and drums, keeping the good times rolling in downtown St. Louis all weekend long.

“If you like country music, you’ll love The Garage and The Honky Tonk,” co-owner Ryan Binkley says. “If you don’t like country music, you’ll love the people-watching.”

A crowd forms at The Garage in downtown St. Louis.
The Garage | Photo by Dan Donovan

Aptly named, The Garage was a dilapidated parking garage that Ryan and his brother Jeremy Binkley identified as another piece of the musical puzzle on 4th Street.

Located next to The Honky Tonk, which the brothers opened in 2017, and a block from Broadway Oyster Bar, The Garage adds to the live music lineup of downtown St. Louis with noteworthy local and regional acts. As a bonus, none of the venues in the music quarter charge a cover, so you can bop from one to another depending on your mood.

The music at The Garage – which plays on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. – leans country, but no matter the artist’s genre, the energy of every performance permeates the crowd.

“The Honky Tonk [which hosts bands from Thursday through Sunday] is dedicated to live country music,” Ryan says. “That’s the music we know and the music our patrons love. So, we decided to start there at The Garage, but we dabble in other styles, too.

“We recognize that a lot of people who live within driving distance of St. Louis like country music,” he continues, “but a lot of them don’t have a place to listen to it on a regular basis. Enter The Honky Tonk and The Garage. When people come in town for baseball games, holidays, work, whatever, they can always find great live country music here.”

Country music plays at The Honky Tonk in downtown St. Louis.
The Honky Tonk | Photo by Dan Donovan

Whether you’re yearning for a memorable night or planning a private event, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a venue as unique as The Garage.

The space is wide open, accommodating up to 500 people inside and 250 people outside, which expands the range of events that it can host. Parking lines stripe the floor, and graffiti on the rest of the surfaces – from the walls to the rafters – gives The Garage an authentic and original vibe.

“You won’t see many places like The Garage,” Ryan says. “We even added our own graffiti to clean up the space and add some country elements such as classic song lyrics. I taught myself how to graffiti by watching YouTube videos, and lo and behold, I learned enough to become dangerous.”

At the bar, you can pick up tallboys (16-ounce cans) of local craft beer or straightforward cocktails with well-known spirits before joining the throng in front of the stage.

“St. Louis has an unrivaled music history,” Ryan says, “and the city still produces great musicians. We’re just happy that we can be an avenue to get their music to new audiences.”

People line up to enter The Honky Tonk in downtown St. Louis.
The Honky Tonk | Photo by Dan Donovan

Downtown St. Louis hosts the most events of any neighborhood in the region, from Cardinals games at Busch Stadium to concerts at Enterprise Center to conventions at America’s Center and The Dome. Annual events such as Taste of St. Louis, Blues at the Arch, Pridefest and Winterfest also draw people to the area, so The Garage and The Honky Tonk see an eclectic mix of residents and visitors on their dance floors.

“All you have to do is show up and have a good time,” Ryan says. “Both The Garage and The Honky Tonk are laidback, welcoming and open to everyone.”