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Best of SA 2012

Best Dive Bar, Best Jukebox

Photo: MICHAEL BARAJAS, License: N/A, Created: 2011:12:03 00:58:33

MICHAEL BARAJAS


1. Bar America
723 S Alamo, (210) 223-7462
Inconspicuously nestled on South Alamo is San Antonio's very own Cheer's bar, where one quarter will get you two songs on the jukebox (may we suggest Roger Miller's "King of the Road" [#147] or Patsy Cline's "Crazy" [#148]?), and $1.25 will get you a Lone Star. Bar America is a long-standing favorite of the Southtown locals, though it's easy to miss if you're walking too fast; the sign outside is small and dim compared to nearby Bar Latino, and those with less tolerance for cheap veneer may be tempted to write off the establishment as "quaint" — with heavy irony quotes. They haven't figured out what the rest of us know: BA is just right for those allergic to the flashing lights and high drama of more energetic downtown joints. Keeping it simple (beer only, no liquor) is a winner with our Best Of voters, who also consistently rank the site for it's winning jukebox selection. (Freddy Fender and Los Panchos are among the many Tejano classics offered, while Diana Washington, Fats Domino, Etta James, and Duke Ellington provide a jazz accompaniment.) Around 50 years old, the jukebox has been a Bar America constant since they relocated from South Presa in the '60s (the bar itself opened in 1943 under the name Cafe America). It only plays 45s, which provides a certain challenge for those rare days the owners seek out new songs. However, despite infrequent suggestions to upgrade to a newer machine, the juke is staying, says owner Angie Ramirez. Bar America is open 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Best DIVE BAR

2. Web House (Tie)
517 E Woodlawn, (210) 320-5246, webhousecafe.com
The Mix
2423 N St. Mary's, (210) 735-1313,
myspace.com/themixnightclub
3. Rookie's Bar
6402 Callaghan, (210) 377-0909, rookiesbarservices.com

Best JUKEBOX

2. Bond's 007 Rock Bar
450 Soledad, (210) 225-0007, bonds007rockbar.com
3. Max's Wine Dive
340 E Basse, Ste 101, (210) 444-9547, maxswinedive.com/san-antonio

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