Places for queers to dance and hang out in San Antonio?
March 22, 2007 12:34 PM   Subscribe

Where's a nice place for two queer women to hang out, eat, or dance in San Antonio this weekend? We're staying at a hotel about half an hour west of downtown, and we'll have a car.

We're in our 30's. Not big drinkers or clubbers. We enjoy almost any kind of music, including country. Mixed male/female and queer/straight places are fine. A good place for salsa would be especially nice. Friday and Saturday mid to late evenings are open, as are Sunday brunchtime and maybe Saturday afternoon.

If you know of any such places, please let me know what the usual level of dress is, the best time to go, and anything else useful.

Bonus question: if any of the bazillion straight relatives also in town for this family reunion wants to go out dancing too, is there a place that would be good for all of us?
posted by expialidocious to Travel & Transportation around San Antonio, TX (10 answers total)
Beware of downtown this weekend. In case you didn't know, NCAA quarter and semifinals are in town... hotels are 100% packed, and the town will be full of Aggies.
posted by SpecialK at 12:41 PM on March 22, 2007

Sounds like you want Petticoat Junction. I haven't been in close to eight years, but I imagine it's still there.
posted by FlamingBore at 12:47 PM on March 22, 2007

Gruene Dance Hall is the oldest dance hall in Texas, and it's still a pretty lively joint. It's about an hour's drive outside of SA, but could be worth it. I haven't been in a long time, but I don't imagine it would be a problem for two women to dance together -- Willie Nelson frequently plays there, as do a bunch of other Austin musician types, so it's not a scary redneck-y joint. It would definitely be a very Texas thing to go see, for you and any of the many relatives.
posted by katemonster at 1:28 PM on March 22, 2007

Stop by the Liberty Bar, not for a drink, but for a big piece of coconut cake.
posted by Sara Anne at 1:33 PM on March 22, 2007

Since you are admittedly not 'big drinkers or clubbers' you might want to consider San Antones art museums. Amazingly, surprisingly, SA has two great art collections, SAMoA (San Antonio Museum of Art) and the Mc Ney collection. The McNey is housed in a great old estate, really nice, and SAMoA is housed in an old Lone Star beer distillery, and is major cool. The SAMoA has an amazing collection, lots of Central American art, a great antiquities collection, enough contemporary art to keep your eyes spinning and your heart singing, enough impressionism to make you feel peace, and on and on and on; don't miss the statuary room, high ceilings, beautiful light, deep silences. They have a nice bust of Marcus Aurelius, one of my heroes, sometimes I'll sit there in front of it in that quiet, think of the things he's written, and how he lived - fun.

If you are interested in very high quality Tex Mex Health Food (!!!), check out Adelante Mexican restaurant. Stumbled upon it by accident on a visit to the museums there in SA (it's very close to the Mc Ney museum) and it is great; they use only high quality ingredients that the owners select (and often take a hand in cooking), it's clean, you leave there happy, knowing you've just eaten great Texas comfort food but not trashed your body by eating the greazy-sleazy junk that most Tex Mex joints put out there.

Last. Unless you enjoy American Mall Culture, stay the hell away from that silly 'River Walk'. Total bunk. Hokum. It's basically a food court around a phony river (they pump water into this canal they've dug, it's no more a river than your bath tub is), it's a gyp joint, a dump, a dive, corporate food. There are TONS of good restaurants in SA, and tons of bad ones also, I'd eat greazed out garbage at a dive before I headed to that stupid outdoor food court.

The town is dead, has the lowest pulse of any good-sized city I've ever visited, but it has nice pieces, you've just got to pick your spots.

I hope you have fun.

posted by dancestoblue at 1:49 PM on March 22, 2007

I second Liberty - not a queer place per se but a fun little hangout nonetheless.
posted by pomegranate at 3:53 PM on March 22, 2007

For dancing and a piece of history, check out Bonham Exchange. It was the first GLBT super-disco place I went to back about 20 or 25-odd years ago, and it's still open. Growing up in SA, it just blew my mind that a gay club was located right behind the Alamo. The place is in a grand old mansion-style building with a Ballroom converted to a dance floor.

I haven't been there in many years, don't know what is the mix between males and females, but the web site indicates they have both men and women on staff. Not to mention a live "old school" radio station broadcast from the Ballroom. Looks like we're more "out" in SA than I ever imagined we would be. :-)

On the other hand, if you just want to listen to good music, walk up and down the street and look for a restaurant, try St. Mary's Street along the area south of Brackenridge Park. There's a group of restaurants and bars there which appeal to gays, straights, and trendies -- sort of Baja Austin, I suppose.
posted by Robert Angelo at 3:59 PM on March 22, 2007

And oh, if you hanker for Tex-Mex food in the middle of the night, head over to Mi Tierra at the Mercado by the Farmer's Market. It's a little tourisy, but it's historic, and they never, ever, close.
posted by Robert Angelo at 4:16 PM on March 22, 2007

The town is dead, has the lowest pulse of any good-sized city I've ever visited,

I have the same impression, having visited SA several times when I lived in Austin. Even the Riverwalk, which has a lot of potential, is just full of expensive tourist venues.

But this thread has some cool suggestions.
posted by jayder at 4:23 PM on March 22, 2007

Actually, San Antonio is a really laid-back, fun city, if you know where to go. I lived there a few years ago, still miss it, and visit whenever I can.

Definitely Liberty Bar, for dinner or dessert (and no, not a queer place per se, but definitely queer-friendly). Rosario's is in a very cool area just south of downtown--they have good tex-mex and music (on weekends, I think), but it can get a little too loud for conversation in there. While you're in the area, stop by La Tuna, an outdoor icehouse, for a bit of true San Antonio flavor. They occasionally have music going on as well. Candlelight has a good Sunday brunch (and so does Liberty Bar, for that matter).

Other music suggestions: Carmen's de la Calle--they have jazz and flamenco. For alt-country-type stuff, Casbeers. The Bonham is indeed fun for dancing, woman-friendly, and straight-folk friendly as well; if you go early enough, there's no cover.

As far as dress goes, it's a pretty casual city.
posted by paleography at 8:16 AM on March 23, 2007

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