In the middle of a run-of-the-mill strip mall on U.S. 98 North in Lakeland, you can catch some of country music’s hottest acts.
You’ll find the likes of Easton Corbin, Colt Ford and Big & Rich singing their hearts out from the stage at Boots N Buckles Saloon. Country-music fans will make a road trip from all over Central Florida and Tampa Bay to catch some of these acts at unbelievable prices.
“People like to come here because of the artists,” said John Rush, managing partner at Boots. “That’s the draw. We have such a good venue for the shows. We have a huge sound system, a huge lighting system.”
Big country acts as well as up-and-comers enjoy making a stop in Lakeland.
“Love playing there,” said country star Tracy Lawrence, who has performed several times at the club. “The staff is always very accommodating, and the crowd rocks!”
Boots appreciates the fans, too.
“We love live shows,” said Rush, who works through agencies in Nashville to find and secure the gigs. “We like bringing them in. Bands who have made it can pull in nice crowds.”
On a recent late Friday night, teenage girls in flip-flops mixed and mingled with middle-aged men in cowboy boots and hipsters with ear gauges.
“I always say we attract 18 to 80,” said Rush. “As the night goes on, the crowd does get younger.”
The club, which features three bars, five pool tables and dart boards, promises a clean (as in lemon fresh) and safe atmosphere. “It’s not just a dirty bar,” Rush said.
In addition to cleanliness, the nightclub boasts a barn-style-meets-high-tech decor. Videos stream from a large movie screen, and as the Blake Shelton remake of “Footloose” comes over the top-of-the-line sound system, line dancers fill the dance floor.
“Just the atmosphere, the acoustics. There’s a nice, big stage,” said Dale Guy, guitarist for the Southern rock Guy-Thompson Band, performers as well as patrons of the club. “The Boots N Buckles building just carries the sound very well.”
Five Reasons to Hit up Boots N Buckles:
- Concerts. Where else can you hear LoCash Cowboys and Tracy Lawrence for $12 or 20?
- Line Dancing. Don’t know the difference between a Corkscrew Turn and a Cross Shuffle? No worries. Boots N Buckles offers free, two-hour line dancing lessons Wednesdays through Saturdays.
- Happy Farmer. Beer is, by far, the drink of choice here, but if you’re feeling adventurous, ask for the club’s signature drink, the Happy Farmer. You’ve heard of a Jolly Rancher. The bartenders at Boots N Buckles Saloon put their spin on this cocktail by adding a splash of apple to club soda, vodka, watermelon liqueur and cranberry juice.
- Come as You Are. Cowboy hats and boots aren’t required on this dance floor. You don’t even need to wear jeans. Grab your sneakers, Daisy Dukes or maxi skirt and head out. Do keep in mind that only a boot makes that really cool sound when it stomps on the dance floor.
- Ice cream. The landmark that makes finding Boots N Buckles easier is the giant ice cream cone sitting in the front of the shopping plaza. Club-goers with the late-night munchies can stop by Twistee Treat for a Strawberry Cheesecake Sundae of cheesecake pieces, vanilla ice cream, strawberry topping and whipped cream or for a Nathan’s chili hot dog.
If you go…
Boots N Buckles Saloon
4951 U.S.98 N., Lakeland