Trending
MOST READ
4 Downtown Dive Bars to Embarrass Yourself In

4 Downtown Dive Bars to Embarrass Yourself In

City Guide 2014: In the last few years, San Antonio has made great strides when it comes to its mixology doings. Many good (and some great!) cocktail bars have been springing... By Tim Hennessey 2/24/2014
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
SA’s Shadiest (in a good way) Parks

SA’s Shadiest (in a good way) Parks

City Guide 2014: For anyone in charge of a child or two, knowing where to find the nearest playground is information as essential as the numbers for poison control and your pediatrician... By Joy-Marie Scott 2/24/2014
Best Happy Hour

Best Happy Hour

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Best Guacamole

Best Guacamole

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Food & Drink

Rassle up some LGBT fun at SA Country Saloon

Photo: Josh Huskin, License: N/A

Josh Huskin

A contestant struts her stuff at SA Country Saloon


SA Country Saloon can be summed up by its most striking feature: a boot-shaped disco ball, which spins on a floor alternately used for line dancing and drag shows. Housed in what used to be Bermuda Triangle, the Saloon outwardly blends in with its corporate blah surroundings just off San Pedro Avenue’s northern-most reach. Open the oversized wooden doors though, and you’ve entered hunky honky-tonk territory.

Debuting last fall after an extensive renovation to create a squeaky clean, countrified atmosphere, the Saloon caters to an older crowd more appreciative of a Northside neighborhood gay bar rather than a hotbed of club activity. That’s not to say the Saloon doesn’t have it goin’ on: there’s plenty to keep patrons amused from karaoke on Monday and Thursday to Sunday fundays with free pool and 50-cent beers to a country DJ on the weekends and live music on Tuesday. It’s also a local hub for members of the Texas Gay Rodeo Association, who occasionally host fundraising barbecues there.

While it isn’t a rainbow-colored wonderland, the Saloon doesn’t keep anything in the closet either. From the bartenders to the free food buffet, everything says classic gay bar, but doesn’t scream it, necessarily. My favorite bartender looked like a brawny bear but pirouetted like a prima donna. After the evening’s emcee threatened to “pull [a birthday girl] up on stage by her pussy hairs,” bar-bear stage whispered to me, “Oh my goodness! She kisses her mother with that mouth!” Like his two colleagues behind the well-staffed bar, he was superfast and attentive with the drink orders.

Well drinks — fairly cheap to begin with —plummet to $2.25 during happy hour, as do domestic beers. Fancier brews might set you back $3.50. My group’s end of the evening tab, accrued during Monday’s all-day happy hour, totaled $11 for two mixed drinks, one Shiner, and one Red Bull. The bartenders are so quick with the drink orders, in fact, that I didn’t have time to request a premium vodka, but surprisingly, the well variety did not suck, even with a sizeable single pour. If you’re craving a more complicated concoction, you’ll find it in the specialty shot selection here.

As a straight female, I’m not qualified to dish on the hookup vibe, but I noticed lots of friendly, middle-aged guys, both in groups and flying solo, a few lesbian couples by the pool tables, and even some heteros who were, like me, attracted to the main event that Monday evening: the Mr. and Miss Gay San Antonio for Life pageant.

Despite being far away from the Strip, the Saloon is balls deep in the local gay scene, and that means that drag queens and kings grace the stage (under that mirrored boot) frequently. The pageant I caught attracted a lively scene, and unlike more scripted shows or more stringent pageants, this one had a bubbly, amateur atmosphere. Contestants changed costumes behind a sheet, and although tipping was “not allowed” even the judges did it. The event also included a tear-jerking lifetime achievement presentation to Miss CoCo, who gave a command performance despite having been hospitalized just days before. Like many of the contestants, Miss CoCo represented an older style of drag, which focused less on pounding the floorboards to hip-hop and club beats, and more on torch song classics expertly lip-synched by bouffanted beauties in sequined mermaid gowns.

Whether you dig drag or just want a low-key gayborhood experience, the Saloon delivers. Many of the folks I met during my visit hadn’t been there before, negating the regulars-only feel that often accompanies the corner gay bar. Country fan or not, this spotless, friendly joint ups the ante for local watering holes catering to the LGBT community, or anyone, for that matter.

SA Country Saloon

4pm-2am, daily
10127 Coachlight
(210) 525-0915
facebook.com/SACountrySaloon

Recently in Food & Drink
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus