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Adiós Revolution Room, Hello Leon

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo


Change. Some campaign on it, creatures of habit can’t stand the thought of it. For Lee Beekly, owner of Revolution Room, change was necessary.

Beekly, who also owns Taco Garage and Rebar, decided to do a 180 with Rev Room.

“A year, year and a half ago, it started going in a different direction that we wanted,” Beekly said. “I’m older now, I wanted something different.”

The catalyst for the upheaval? Constant police attention the Revolution Room received in the past two years.

This wasn’t always the case. Beekly first partnered with Greg Bickerstaff to open Revolution Room eight years ago after a would-be trip to Berlin turned into an extended stay in Prague. There, Beekly visited coffee shops, discotheques, grotto clubs and learned about the Velvet Revolution (the former Czechoslovakia’s non-violent protest that led to the collapse of Communism there).

The bar was a go-to for area college students looking to barhop between The Hangar, Rebar and Salud without heading downtown.

But now 48 years old and a family man, Beekly’s looking for a change of pace from the “Dance Party, USA” culture.

Sure, Beekly admits, fights happen. But the rowdy, rough-around-the-edges crowd garnered attention from WOAI this past February, which interviewed fed-up neighbors about the weekly parking lot brawls. The segment, followed by a particularly gnarly fisticuffs session amongst bar hoppers near Rev Room, led to Beekly taking down the establishment’s sign, changing the dress code and finding new deejays within days.

The bar is taking on a new moniker, Leon, after Beekly’s grandfather, a geologist born in 1883 who scoured South America and Europe surveying the land for oil and railroads on horseback and later Model Ts. Photos of Leon and his work buddies are scattered throughout the bar, along with new wooden panels, antique tables and wagon wheel light fixtures.

The lifelong restaurateur and bar owner isn’t going it alone. Beekly’s enlisted the help of new partner and longtime Taco Garage patron Joel Rivas to rebrand Leon into a rustic, Americana-tinged ice house/whiskey bar/beer garden.

“We wanted to build something that fits into the neighborhood,” Rivas said of the bar space they’re hoping to turn “from a menace into an asset.”

The upgrades have been slow and steady: The two-month old patio will eventually incorporate a 1955 Spartan trailer outfitted with some 18-plus draught beers. Already, the beer and booze selection is looking up with the addition of craft brews and local spirits. Although the grand opening isn’t slated until August 16, and Beekly often wonders if the venture will stick, he’s finding some peace of mind.

“Sales might have plummeted, but so did the police blotter,” he said.

Leon

8123 Broadway
(210) 320-4567
facebook.com/Leon1883

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Food & Drink

Flavor File: Folc Opens, Augie's Does Steak, Plus a New Food Truck

Photo: Jessica Elizarraras, License: N/A

Jessica Elizarraras

Don’t miss the veal sweetbreads at Folc


Folc (226 E Olmos (210) 822-0100), the first of three adjacent concepts by chef Luis Colon, wine director Cecilia Barretto and bar director David Naylor (all previous members with the Texas Cooks’ Co-Op) opens its doors today. The eatery sits inside the former Ciao Lavanderia (first opened by Damien Watel) and features contemporary takes on American fare. The Current got a sneak peek of the menu during a soft opening this past Thursday. Patrons can expect to find four sections of shareable plates—fowl, land, sea and earth—with menu items such as a zesty schnitzel with capers, fried sweetbreads with a nutty coffee mayo, a few tartine offerings and desserts. Prices range from $9 to $35 buckaroos for the crab legs and chili butter. They hope to open 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5:30-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays. Saturday and Sunday brunch will be available. Park Social, the second phase of the project, should open in the next week or two.

In even meatier news, Augie Cortez of Augie’s Barbedwire Smokehouse opened Augie’s Alamo City BBQ Steakhouse (909 Broadway) this past Monday. The eatery, which sits at 909 Broadway between McCullough and Jones, will feature a similar menu to its sister location, along with—you guessed it—steaks. Restaurant hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Tuesday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; and noon-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

The Brooklynite, Stay Golden Social House and GS 1221 are playing host to a new food truck these days. Stay for the Food, opened by husband and wife team Daniel (who’s spent time as sous for Mark Bliss and executive sous for Rene Guerrero, grill chef at Bohanan’s) and Samantha Dominguez and partner Samuel Wratten (a former sous chef at Bohanan’s) is adding a beet risotto along with a 63-degree egg over fresh pasta and truffle caviar to your late-night dining options. You can also catch them at Toni Jo’s Food Park in Helotes, but check them out on Facebook for specific location details and times.

A belated congrats to The Block food truck park (14530 Roadrunner Way) and Big Bob’s Burgers Downtown (100 N Santa Rosa, (210) 227-2627) for celebrating their first anniversaries in business this past weekend.

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People-watching, Dancing at Wax Club Lounge

Photo: Jessica Elizarraras, License: N/A

Jessica Elizarraras

A place for gals and pals with a taste for industrial bangers


Perhaps I was feeling melancholy about the impending series finale of HBO’s smutty vampire soap opera a few Sundays ago, but the scene at San Pedro’s Wax Club Lounge was a bit too reminiscent of True Blood’s Fangtasia.

Bear with me a minute—the bar’s edifice isn’t much to look at (and they could use a sign pointing to which door to enter, or maybe I’m daft), but much like Fangtasia, the bar comes to life once you step inside. Again, much like the vamp-hang, Wax Club Lounge features a VIP area to the right of the entrance (complete with stripper pole!), raised several feet for a nice view of the dance floor and DJ. Dark walls give way to crimson red and Gothic touches, such as the gargoyle-esque light fixtures that dot the area along the wall by the lone pool table. A handful of stools with red lips that double as seat cushions are both cheeky and really comfortable-looking. Wax Club Lounge is, after all, a perennial favorite in our Best of San Antonio readers’ poll for best Lesbian bar.

The crowd—mostly laid back with a handful of ne’er-do-wells—stayed around the bar area where two ’tenders, professional and proficient in making the joint’s signature ’tinis, held court. Drinks are moderately priced, and there’s a bit for everyone. There’s bottled cervezas available in a wee fridge, but you’re here to dance and imbibe mixed drinks. Depending on how rowdy you may or may not want to get on any given evening, or how many feelings you’re trying to erase, you can either stick with the mixed drinks (I ordered a plenty suitable margarita and rum and Coke to start), but can I recommend an Adios Motherfucker? The order for this ubiquitous drink came toward the end of the night after spying the bartenders whip up several of the ice blue beverages for other patrons. Made with gin, light rum, tequila, vodka and Blue Curaçao, the Adios Motherfucker earns its moniker. The bartender laughed at me as she handed over the concoction and said, “Good night, sweetie.” Had I enjoyed another, I might have been up for some industrial thrashing on the dance floor.

I happened on Wax Club Lounge during its preview night of Industrial Fest. The kickoff included DJs Draggy, Infekktion and Dante’s Prayer who spun abrasive experimental sounds throughout the evening, but don’t ask me to name off songs played. Still, while I’m not a complete fan of the genre, I didn’t find the jams entirely off-putting either. Had I known it was industrial music night, I may have opted for darker hues and more zippers, though no one seemed to mind my coral bermuda shorts, gray V-neck and sparkly chanclas. But I wasn’t the minority as other bar-goers donned casual wear for the most part. (Although I’m still dying to know where a particular patron purchased her black vinyl coffin backpack—very cute.)

Industrial fans trickled in and some brave ones took residence on the dance floor, while other patrons enjoyed a quick pool game. There’s a patio out back for the smoking set and a smattering of tall bar tables where small groups congregated. My party and I left just a few minutes before midnight as the night was really starting to come together for Wax Club Lounge. If you’re a) willing to deal with a teensy parking lot, b) dying to order a few Adios Motherfuckers and c) needing to get your dance on without any sort of judgment, you could do a lot worse than this neighborhood haunt.

Wax Club Lounge

2211 San Pedro
(210) 379-4788
facebook.com/waxclublounge

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Teamwork Leads to Better, More Daring Brews

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Clichés are of little use in determining the virtue of collaboration. Do too many cooks spoil the broth, or are two heads better than one? Adages aside, the communal, come-and-taste-it spirit of independent brewing has yielded some delightful and delightfully unexpected collaborations between brewers, cooks and even musicians in the pursuit of a better beer.

The most visible of recent brewery co-operations is New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series. With a steady and successful line of regular ales on offer, the Ft. Collins-based brewery uses Lips of Faith as an opportunity to make beers, it sometimes seems, solely on a dare.

New Belgium’s most recent collaboration with the Indiana brewery 3 Floyds is particularly daring. The Gratzer revives a long-neglected Polish recipe, using Lublin hops and introducing a small amount of Lacto bacteria (a souring agent) to the brewing process. It’s a wheat beer, though you’d never guess it from the pitch-black color and grape must/grape Robitussin aroma. The first sip produces similar cognitive dissonance, as the low ABV (4.5 percent) and light-bodied quality of the Gratzer belies its stout-like appearance. It drinks dry, carrying the strong taste of coffee, leather and oak smoke with a sour bite on the finish and nary a note of sweetness. Fittingly for a resurrected and fairly funky-flavored beer, the bottle features a crew of Romero-style zombies, lurching along on New Belgium’s signature beach cruiser bicycles.

Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing reached across culinary boundaries for its collaborative brew, working with that city’s well-respected chocolatier Christopher Elbow to produce the Chocolate Ale for the Smokestack Series—like Lips of Faith, an uninhibited brewing line. Much like the Gratzer, the Chocolate Ale subverts expectations. While beer snobs might reasonably assume the Chocolate Ale to be a stout or porter—styles whose character frequently incorporate chocolate—it is in fact an English-style strong ale, with a deep red-copper hue and robust flavor. The cocoa nibs mark their presence as subtle aftertastes on the back end of a sip, but the body of the beer is much heavier on nut, peanut and other legume flavors.

Dogfish Head is probably the most recognizable avant-beer brewery in the United States, so its partnering with the experimental vocalist/electronic musician Julianna Barwick for Rosabi Imperial Pale Ale makes for an inspired effort. Barwick contributed her love of wasabi and the red rice of her native state of Louisiana to the recipe and loaned a hand with the initial boil; Dogfish Head handed her recordings of the mechanical processes of its newly expanded operations to create a four-song, 10-inch record, pressed in an edition of 1,000 and sold exclusively with cases of the beer. The resulting beer—which goes easy on the wasabi and delivers an expressive but not overpowering hoppy flavor—and ethereal, dreamlike music of the record make a perfect pair.

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Food & Drink

Sweets, Tasty Falafel Help Darna Grill Soar

Photo: Casey Howell, License: N/A

Casey Howell

Mixed kebab plate with sides—not pictured is the amazing baklava


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