Gay dives worth leaving the Strip for
Published: June 27, 2012
The Boss: Pride of the Southside
With tables set up quinceañera-style, rainbow-colored balloons and streamers draping every end of the room, and a classic mix of country and Tejano music blaring from the DJ booth, you could easily mistake The Boss for the gay version of Randy's Ballroom. The Boss, now in its 10th year, is a lesbian bar located in the heart of the Southside between South Presa and Roosevelt. Perhaps because of its location off the strip (and miles from the gayborhood), this low-key mainstay continues to remain a well-kept secret. Adorned with candles honoring various patron saints, a Go Spurs Go sign, and a collection of glass elephants, the mantle behind the bar is just as eccentric as the crowd the bar welcomes. At The Boss, you can enjoy cheaply priced domestic beer and no cover on Saturday nights. But be sure to bring your own liquor and a little cash for your setups as credit cards are a no-go here. When asked what people should know about The Boss, front doorperson Marty Franklin says, "People are missing it. $3 cover charge on Friday and $1.25 beer? Can't beat that. Everybody here has a good time."
1006 VFW Blvd
Open Friday through Sunday
The One-O-Six off Broadway
The One-O-Six originally opened in 1985 as a dimly lit and unassuming dive located just off Broadway near the Witte Museum. Not much has changed since then — save for maybe the songs on the jukebox. You'll never pay a cover, and happy hour is every day from noon to 7 p.m. Sit at the oak bar and share your life story with the super-friendly bartenders, or hang out by the pool table and stake your claim on the jukebox. With a casual mix of men, women, and men who are on their way to being women talking and playing pool, the One-O-Six doesn't promote itself as an exclusively gay or exclusively straight bar. Of the diverse clientele, bartender Maddie McGuire puts it best: "The people who come here are the people who don't give a shit. They don't care whether you're lesbian, gay, straight, or whatever. They're just here for the same reason you are — to drink and relax. It's like the gay Cheers." And with a collection of beer steins hanging from the ceiling and a massive gay pride flag draped across the back wall, that's exactly what it feels like.
106 Pershing Ave
Exclusively catering to the leather and bear community, The Annex is home to the Alamo Bear Club, the Chain of Command, San Antonio Gear Enthusiasts, and the San Antonio Gay Pool League. Don't be surprised to see men rocking leather chaps in the crowd here – especially on Saturdays, which are lauded as "Gear Night." A definite shift from the more traditional gay bars on the strip, The Annex boasts a collection of bear memorabilia and a rotating schedule of drink specials. Bar regular Elvin Andrade isn't into bears or leather but continues to come back to The Annex because of its exciting atmosphere and friendly happy hour crowd: "The Annex is fun. There's no other word for it. You'll see different types of men in all shapes and sizes, but I don't feel like I have to be a certain type of gay man to hang out here."
330 San Pedro
(210) 223-6957 •