To lump together Amarillo and Lubbock is an inelegant solution to documenting the best Texas dive bars the area has to offer, but the stretch of road that connects the two Texas panhandle and panhandle-adjacent cities is only a modest 125 miles (modest by Texas standards, of course). That close connection and the strong possibility that those traveling south through Texas hit both cities gives us just enough excuse to start a dive bar conversation across the two areas.
In Amarillo, the historical appeal and present-day allure of Route 66 is one of the city’s chief attractions, particular along a stretch of 6th
Street marked by diners, antique shops and some of the Amarillo’s best dive bars. Amarillo’s oldest restaurant, the GoldenLight Café
, looks largely unchanged in its 6th
Street location that looks vaguely like an old Texas jail. Nearby Broken Spoke Lounge
provides every ounce the roadhouse experience to be expected in an Amarillo dive bar.
In Lubbock, the sprawl is a little more intense with Texas Tech University powering the growth and college town feel of the city. With more ground to cover and more of a student-driven bar scene to contend with, the Lubbock dive bars are a little more spread out and varied in their appeal. But not to be outdone by the Broken Spoke in Amarillo, the Texas Café & Bar
(formerly known and currently known to locals as ‘The Spoon’) serves up an equally Texan experience.
Across both cities, the dive bar gems are those that let the Texas culture shine through while providing a local twist, like the appropriately-named House Bar
in Amarillo. All Amarillo dive bars and Lubbock dive bars might be separated by a couple of hours of driving, but share the same traits that make them worth a stop while passing through or kicking around town.