A high-energy party bar featuring country music and a mechanical bull is coming to Austin's Sixth Street. Called Wild Greg's Saloon, it's a small chain based in Minnesota that'll open at 302 E. Sixth St., in the former Terminal 6 space, which closed in January 2020.
Wild Greg's was founded in 2015 in Pensacola, Florida, with a "Southern party" atmosphere, country music, and occasional live touring acts. Its major motifs include line-dancing lessons, fruity drinks served in 32-ounce Mason jars, and a mechanical bull.
A second location opened in Lakeland, Florida, in 2017, followed in 2018 by a location in Minneapolis, the hometown of Wild Greg's founder Greg Urban.
"We're a country saloon concept," Urban says. "We play a lot of country music, and then later at night, it turns into more mainstream dance music, but it's still a country theme, and that includes hosting live acts. Texas seemed like a natural fit. I hear from people all the time requesting I do a bar in various cities, but Austin was the city that was recommended most often."
Urban came to Austin to check it out and was blown away.
"My first visit was prior to the pandemic, and I was amazed by Sixth Street," he says. "I've been on all the big streets — Lower Broadway in Nashville, Orange Avenue in Orlando, Seventh Avenue in Tampa — and none compared with Sixth Street. It had such an impressive scene, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it."
Urban's team is currently renovating the location and he hopes to have the saloon open by the end of April.
"The nuts and bolts are similar to what was there before but we're adding Western chandeliers and rough-hewn lumber, and we've got a mechanical bull on the way," he says. "Having a mechanical bull is a lot of fun. We think we're going to be unique, in that there's nowhere that plays country music. There is a little place next to us, but it's smaller and is more of a two-piece-band place, while we have DJs and live national acts, anywhere from Cody Johnson to Uncle Kracker to Chris Lane."
All Wild Greg's locations have opened in college towns; it's been an intrinsic part of the brand's DNA. Urban says they get involved with universities everywhere they go; he's already sponsored Texas State University's Bobcats basketball team when they played in a conference that was held in Pensacola.
"A portion of Sixth Street draws a younger crowd and that does factor into what we do," he says. "College students are a huge component of our business and we're excited about that. When I walk down Sixth Street, I feel like we're going to fit in very well."
"But we have to learn what the market likes," he adds. "In Florida, every time we play 'Copperhead Road' by Steve Earle, everyone in the building comes out of the woodwork to join in the line dancing — but I hear they're two-steppers in Texas, so we'll have to see how that works."