I loved getting to meet Gay and Nick out at the Mercer Dancehall a few weeks ago to learn more about this fun venue right outside of Dripping Springs. Enjoy the photo tour and make plans to get out there and dance!
Tell us more about yourselves!
It all started with a girl and her truck..
9 years ago, 16-year-old Shelby had just gotten her license and all she wanted to do was drive to dance halls across the hill country with her friends in her new pickup truck. Like any parent, Nick and Gay didn’t like her staying up late and driving back roads as a new driver.
Shelby’s response? “There’s no dance halls in Dripping Springs!!”
This gave Nick, a contractor being forced into early retirement due to health concerns, an idea. He was going to open his very own dance hall. With Gay’s experience in hospitality, Nick’s 45 years in the music industry, and Shelby’s love of dancing, they made this crazy dream come true.
February of 2013 the Dotin’s opened Mercer Street Dancehall in downtown Dripping Springs. Opening night packed the house with over 400 people from Austin to Canyon Lake to the locals of Dripping Springs. This town had never seen anything like Mercer Street Dancehall. The Dotin’s had no idea what was in store for them.
After 5 years at their downtown location, the passing of their landlord ended in the Dotin’s losing the dance hall. They were forced out of the place they had called home for so long. After taking the summer off and working on their newest edition, four rental cabins, the Dotin’s decided to rebuild from the ground up.
Nick, Gay, and Shelby broke ground on the new Mercer Dancehall in July and by Thanksgiving 2018, their doors were open again and Texas country music filled the air. After just a few years back on their feet, COVID devastated the company.
Bars in Texas were forced to close their doors with little to no relief. The Dotin’s were forced with an ultimatum, sell their home, or sell the dancehall. They chose to keep the dancehall alive, one more time. The Dotin’s decided to sell their family home and Nick and Gay moved on to the property while they built “The fifth cabin”, their new house.
Amidst the chaos, they are finding their new normal again. Shows are now back in full swing with live music Friday-Sunday every weekend.
The Dotin family is so thankful for those who continue to support them in every and any way possible. Mercer wouldn’t be what it is without this community.
Have you always been involved in the music industry?
I am classically trained thru middle school and high school on French horn, tuba and bass. Played alternative rock for 20 years at which time I started playing bluegrass and country music because this ”is where old rockers go to retire”. I am currently on a “break” from playing live (upright bass) and I have been mixing sound for over 35 years.
What do you love most about your dance hall?
That we have created something that has become such an integral piece of the community.
When are you open? Do you provide dance lessons?
We are open Friday (5-12), Saturday (6-12) Sunday (1-7) We used to have lessons but when Covid hit, we put a halt to them, but hope to start the again next year.
Who has been your favorite band to listen to?
Walt Wilkens and The Mystiqueros, Rodney Crowell
When you moved to the Driftwood property and built the dance hall again, what are some of your favorite features that you added ?
We built a better stage, a nicer dance floor made of Hickory and we added a kitchen.
Tell us more about the cabins on the property…
The cabin are 420 sq ft each (we have 4) with one queen bedroom and one full bath in a studio-style layout along with a wonderful porch. The bathroom has a stand-up shower with fresh towels and travel soaps, shampoo/conditioner, and a small refrigerator.
Your cabin will have a coffee pot with coffee, cream, and small snacks. They can be rented thru our website or via Airbnb.
What do you want your customers to feel when they come to Mercer Street Dance Hall?
I want them to take pride in knowing that they are supporting a family owned business and helping to keep live music going!
How can we follow your journey online?
Check out our website, MERCERDANCEHALL.COM and follow us on FaceBook.
Are you passing through Dripping Springs and want to ask a local about the fun things to do? Just reach out to me and I’m happy to help with suggestions!
Have you fallen in love with the lifestyle and beauty of Dripping Springs and want to explore moving here? I’d love to help you buy or sell real estate in the Austin and Dripping Springs area! Need a vacant lot of land, a ranch, a home? Just reach out to me and we can get started today! 512-569-8480 or email@example.com
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