Floore's and Braun Hall offer bright floors for courteous country steppin'
Published: May 23, 2012
Forget about drinking away any honky-tonk blues. Two Texas dance halls, Floore's Country Store and Braun Hall, remain bastions of classic, good-time two-steppin' that's classy enough for grandma and cool enough for the high school senior. The common draw? Classic country music of course — you won't find any hip-hop on these dance floors.
Since the 1940s, Floore's Country Store's stage has hosted country greats like Willie Nelson, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett and Waylon Jennings. On Sunday nights at 6 p.m., the Friday and Saturday night rowdiness is scaled back for a free night of family dancing. Local bands like the Drugstore Cowboys and Wilburn Brothers keep everyone from seasoned dance hall vets to greenhorns shuffling across the legendary floor. Frank Fernadez, a long time regular, says Floore's is a second family to him. "I've known this place since 1956 and been coming since 1971," Fernadez said. "They have good shows, like Willie Nelson and Ray Price. It's neat a dance hall like this is still around. They sell good food, play good music, and have good people."
Thomas Grossman met his girlfriend Lois at Floore's Sunday night dance 10 years ago. "I saw her across the room," he grins. "I'd sit on one side and she'd sit on the other. One night we started dancing and we've been dancing together ever since."
"It's the history here," manager Becca Payne says. "Most of these people came with their parents or grandparents and now come with their kids. A lot of these places aren't family friendly and we cater to that. It feels like home."
Several couples swaying around Floore's aren't even old enough to buy their date a beer yet.
Christian Hilton, 19, has been coming to Floore's every Sunday night for five years. Now he brings his girlfriend, Amanda Koffman with him "I love to dance," he says "It's a fun place. I come here to clear my mind and dance." he adds.
But at Braun Hall, a few miles closer to town, it's all about the dance floor.
"It's new — it was put in 1940," hall manager Evelyn Carolan boasts. "The first floor was laid in the 1890s. It's polished oak and I use two different waxes on it. It's the best dance floor in San Antonio."
Established by the Hermann Sons, Braun Hall is more than a dance hall — it's also a church, a gathering spot for baseball fans, and a reception hot spot for weddings, anniversaries, and parties. Twice a month, line dancers and couples trot out to Braun Hall to slide across the legendary floor.
"We've been coming here since 1960," says Caroll Schmidt, who recently celebrated his 69th wedding anniversary with wife Julie at Braun Hall. "It's great music — my favorite is when they play 'Moon over Arabia.' We can't dance as fast as we used to, but we enjoy it."
"It's an old-fashioned dance hall you don't see anymore," says Susie Michalczak, who works the door while her husband plays steel guitar in the band the Huntsmen. "You see generations come here. It's really cool, especially when the younger kids come in. We have all regulars."
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