Cowboy Country Saloon – Long Beach’s Original Honky-Tonk

Cowboy Country, located off of South Street, just east of Downey Ave. and 1 mile south of the 91 Freeway, has been cited as being the last of the honky-tonk bars in Southern California. So, be warned the lineup of Harleys in the Parking lot can be a little intimidating! But, don’t let that stop you, come on in and drink this place in!

It’s a large 15,000-square-foot dancehall and saloon. There’s a total of three dance floors, a pool room, a short-order kitchen, and two full bars. And, of course, a stage for the live band that plays every night they are open (Wednesday, Friday & Saturday).

A typical weekend night of dancing at Cowboy Country, Long Beach, CA.

Table of Contents

Cowboy Country – A Unique Honky-Tonk
My Night Out at Cowboy Country
Days Open/Hours/Admission
Bands That Play Cowboy Country
Lessons – Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday
Line Dancing and Two-Step Lessons at Cowboy Country
More Line Dance Lessons at Cowboy Country on Mondays!
Cowboy Country’s Interesting History
Past Events at Cowboy Country


Cowboy Country – A Unique Honky-Tonk

Cowboy County is indeed a genuine honky-tonk bar and dance hall. And, I think like a lot of honky-tonks it has its own unique personality and flair. To begin, the layout of the club is a bit odd. The main dance floor for line dancing and partner dancing is a weird shape that you step up to. The second dance floor (actually closer to the entrance) is used for people, say, wanting to do a cha-cha or do some extra practicing when there’s a line dance happening on the main floor.

Also, just the cavernous aspect of the bar took my breath away a little. It was fun to walk around and explore all the nooks and crannies of this big 2-floor venue. A wander upstairs introduced me to this pretty interesting diorama featuring, appropriately I guess, Clint Eastwood, the Lone Ranger, and Tanto! It has a Knotts’ Berry Farm feel to it like you are on a ride going by an untouchable display.

Wander upstairs near the pool tables and you’ll see the interesting diorama featuring Clint Eastwood, the Lone Ranger, and Tonto–so odd, but also kind of cool!

And then, there’s yet a third dance floor on the second floor where the second bar is, the pool room, and the kitchen. There is something cool about being up on the second floor and looking down on the dancing and band playing. That is unique! Cowboy Country’s décor is very western. Distressed cedar panels on all the walls and lots of rodeo and music memorabilia on the walls in the form of autographed guitars and photos.


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My Night Out at Cowboy Country

As a regular to The Ranch Saloon in Anaheim, I had been told that Cowboy Country was more of a dive bar in comparison. When I finally went, it really wasn’t what I imagined. I could see why, (compared to the Ranch) some might talk like that, but I quickly grew to appreciate Cowboy Country for what it is and for its own unique charm.

I needed to get something to eat, so I found out the food is your basic bar food with just burgers, etc. But it’s good and reasonably priced. The way the club is laid out seems a little strange with the main dance floor almost a little on the small side not actually in front of the stage. A large DJ booth sits above the floor and the lessons at 7:00 and 8:00 are great.

Cowboy Country Saloon - September 1...
Cowboy Country Saloon - September 14, 2019

During both the line dances and then the Two-Step, one gets to know quickly how the floor moves. The band gets playing a little later in the evening (about 9:00 p.m.) and for those who aren’t dancing, the offset stage is in the perfect spot to listen to the band, being in front of the main area of bar-high tables and stools.

Learning Knocking Boots Strut with Cindi!

That night it was Michael Monroe Goodman & the Honky Tonk Ninjas. Well, I have to say it was just a different kind of vibe. This definitely wasn’t Anaheim! This was a honky-tonk bar with a honky-tonk vibe. Michael Monroe and his Honky-Tonk Ninjas are straight outta Kentucky where he grew up with the kind of middle America struggle that classic country is born from and known for.

What a treat that a genuine country band like this frequents this local country venue here in Long Beach on a regular basis. Be sure to check the Cowboy Country Saloon website and the Michael Monroe site as well for his schedule. Before I finally was on my way out, I had been thoroughly entertained, met some really nice people, and got to do a lot of dancing. So glad I finally checked out Cowboy Country!

Check out Michael Monroe and the Honky-Tonk Ninjas playing King of the Road at Cowboy Country!

One thing great about Cowboy Country is the dance floor! You need to step up to it, but that’s a good sign cause it means it doesn’t sit straight on the concrete slab. There is some nice give and flex to it. There is a place on the floor where it’s not so level, but no biggie!

Another thing worth mentioning is the mirrors that wall a lot of the main dance floor. What is so great about this is that you can see yourself dancing! This makes it a little like a dance studio. It can really help to see that you are indeed stepping in time with everyone else on the floor!


Days Open/Hours/Admission

Cowboy Country Saloon is open Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturday Nights. Each night 6 PM to Midnight. On Wednesdays, there is NO cover before 7 pm $5.00 after. On Friday and Saturday, there is NO cover before 7 pm, $5.00 from 7-10 pm, and then $8.00 after 10 pm.


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Bands That Play Cowboy Country

Among the regular lineup at Cowboy Country are The Rob Staley Band, Jimi Nelson, Redwood Black, The Just Dave Band, Neil Morrow, Chris Johnson & the Hollywood Hillbillies, Paul Justin, Michael Monroe Goodman & the Honky Tonk Ninjas, and Brad Johnson & The Killin’ Time Band.

Country artists that play Cowboy Country: The Rob Staley Band, Jimi Nelson, Redwood Black, The Just Dave Band, Neil Morrow, Chris Johnson & the Hollywood Hillbillies, Paul Justin, Michael Monroe Goodman & the Honky Tonk Ninjas, and Brad Johnson & The Killin’ Time Band
Artists that play Cowboy Country: The Rob Staley Band, Jimi Nelson, Redwood Black, The Just Dave Band, Neil Morrow, Chris Johnson & the Hollywood Hillbillies, Paul Justin, Michael Monroe Goodman & the Honky Tonk Ninjas, and Brad Johnson & The Killin’ Time Band

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Lessons – Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday

Like other country venues, Cowboy Country offers two dance lessons each night open. Wednesdays Joe gives two lessons at 7 and 8 pm. And you can count on the first one being a partner dance lesson like the Two Step. On Fridays, Gina gives the two lessons at 7 and at 8 pm–a partner dance and line dance, or at times just two line dances. On Saturdays, Cindi will teach at the same times.

I was happy to find a place regularly offering free West Coast Swing lessons since the Ranch, oddly does not! So, yay for Cowboy Country and Joe for mixing that in along with their Two-Step lessons. For their current calendar of what is coming up and who is teaching what dances on which nights check their calendar here.

NightInstructorTime
WednesdayJoe7 & 8 pm Lessons
FridayGina7 & 8 pm Lessons
SaturdayCindi7 & 8 pm Lessons

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Line Dancing and Two-Step Lessons at Cowboy Country

Since my night out where I got to take in the Michael Monroe band, I’ve been back a couple more times!

Line Dance Lessons at Cowboy Country

One night I stuck around only long enough for the line dance lesson, but the instructor that night, Cindi Massengale was very good. I’ve noticed that at Cowboy Country the lessons seem to go a little longer than at some bars. That’s nice because you really get a good grasp of what you are supposed to do. We learned Knocking Boots Strut that night and it was a blast!

The other time I went, it was a Wednesday night and Joe was the instructor. He taught the line dance to Let your love flow, an old song from the 70s by the Bellamy Brothers! But he also gave a Two-Step lesson as well.

Two-Step Lessons at Cowboy Country

I’ve caught Joe Thompson’s Lessons before and he is very good. He does seem to always push everyone toward the end of the lesson. He likes to cram in more and get everyone to the next level. While it might be a little frustrating for beginners, I like his passion. I actually enjoy getting as much as I can from the lesson. For a basic Two Step lesson, he actually taught us more of an intermediate move toward the end–really great!

And then on this night, by 8:30 the Rob Staley Band had set up and began to play. This band is one of the best bands out there, with an obvious passion to bring a more traditional country sound. I love this! You can count on him always adding George Strait songs to their setlist.


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More Line Dance Lessons at Cowboy Country on Mondays!

But, wait there’s more! There is yet another opportunity to do some line dancing at Cowboy Country! Cindi Massengale is not only the Saturday night instructor, but she also uses the venue for lessons on Mondays! Even though Cowboy Country is closed for business on Mondays, Cindi uses it for line dance classes every Monday! The bar is closed and only open for participants in her classes on Mondays–still restricted to those 21 and over.

Her line dance classes are generally 3 Monday nights out of each month and feature 3 hour-long sessions. See below for times and levels taught.

Monday, 5 pmLine Dance Level 1 – Beginner Basics
Monday, 6 pmLine Dance Level 2 – Beginner / Easy Intermediate
Monday, 7 pmLine Dance Level 3 – Intermediate

I recently dropped in on her class for the last two hours after seeing on her Facebook post what she was teaching. That night it was two pretty challenging dances, the 2nd hour was an intermediate dance (Nothing But You) and the last hour was an advanced, phrased dance (I’m Beggin’ You). There was a great group of people for both lessons and Cindi did a great job getting us to proficiency with the dances before we were done! I definitely recommend Cindi’s classes!

Please contact Cindi Massengale directly if interested. These classes are strictly through her (not Cowboy Country). Also, she can let you know when the classes are, etc. While she will take “drop-ins” generally people sign up for a 3-month series package, similar to how community centers run dance lessons.

Pre-register for Cindi’s classes for a series for the best pricing! You can use the smaller packages on any of the dates and make up missed classes at a different hour. But keep in mind it is important to pre-register for the series pricing. See below for her pricing:

9 Weeks$95Full Series Including Series Party
6 Weeks$65Any 6 Weeks, not including Series Party
3 Weeks$35Any 3 Weeks, not including Series Party

Further details about Cindi’s Monday Night Classes:

PRICING IS FOR 1 HOUR EACH WEEK.
6 or 9-week participants: If you want to do 2 hours every week, $10 off the 2nd hour, or all 3 hours $15 off the 2nd & 3rd hour.
If you’ve paid the series price for 1 hour and would like to stay for an additional hour once in a while, it will be a $10 drop-in for each additional hour for current 6 or 9-week series participants.
If you do not sign up for the full 3, 6, or 9-week series, a drop in prices below will apply.
WEEKLY Drop-Ins:
$13 per class – PRE-REGISTER PRICE
$15 AT THE DOOR

REGISTRATION IS THROUGH DANCE WITH CINDI, NOT COWBOY COUNTRY.
PLEASE PRE-REGISTER:
1) reply to me by email, include the class time(s) you wish to register for, and include your name and phone number
2) Payment is by Venmo, PayPal, ApplePay, or Zelle
3) You can get a pre-registration price and pay cash at the door for a full series. You must notify me ahead of time.
(If paying cash at the door, please arrive a few minutes early, so as not to disrupt the class, and try to have the exact amount. Note the prices are higher at the door.)

Feel free to contact Cindi directly with any questions at (714) 943-5825 or via email at [email protected]

Note: The above information about Cindi’s class is subject to change. Please contact her to confirm the current information and pricing.


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Cowboy Country’s Interesting History

Cowboy Country opened for the first time in Dec of 1999. Prior to that the building, built in 1964, had housed many other noteworthy clubs under its roof. The most notable club housed there was The Silver Bullet which was open during those “Urban Cowboy” days of the ’80s.

Also notable is the fun fact that The Silver Bullet was the filming location of the cult classic “Thelma and Louise.” It is where the crime happens! Then the girls were on the run for the rest of the movie.

During those days many famous national artists had cruised on by to play on its stage. When Cowboy Country opened in 1999, it was to fill a need that had become unaddressed – Live Country Music. From 1999 until 2002 Cowboy Country introduced many new local bands to the local Country Music scene. More established bands still had a grander stage and larger audience to play to. Some national artists were also brought in as well. There was a short hiatus from March of 2002 until June of 2003 and then Cowboy Country returned and has been open ever since.


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Past Events at Cowboy Country

The yearly Stategcoach dance competition occurs throughout the So. Cal. area and one of the places it is held each year is Cowboy Country. The Below videos are from some of the past competitions.

These competitions always highlight some great dancing. The line dance is Aces and Eights. The other video shows some great Partner dance competitions with the 2-Step, Sweet Heart Schottische, and the Cowboy Cha-Cha. The 3 competition dances were all classics:
• Hal Ketchum’s Past the Point of Rescue
• The Mavericks’ All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down
• Brooks and Dunn’s Cowgirls Don’t Cry.

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Brian Sheridan

I'm the owner of CDT. I live in Fullerton, California, and enjoy country dancing with my friends at least once a week.

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