San Antonio, Texas is famous for a strong influence on country music history. The home of George Strait has also been inhabited by such greats as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Ernest Tubb, Justin Tubb, Moe Bandy, Augie Meyers, Doug Sahm, Johnny Bush, Al Dean, Holly Dunn, Steve Earle, Rosie Flores, Pat Green, Flaco Jimenez, Emilio Navaira, John Schneider, Red River Dave, and Adolph Hofner.
Since the late 1800’s, South Central Texans built dance halls for farmers, ranchers, travelers and locals to enjoy and meet up on weekends. Historically, rural residents would make their way each Saturday and Sunday to camp or stay in “Sunday Houses,” near the dance halls to hear and dance to the classic sounds of country bands. Today, the tradition continues throughout the week and is deeply embedded in the San Antonio culture.
The best country music bars in San Antonio include:
The oldest continually operating dance hall in Texas is just northeast of San Antonio and continues to host live music and cold beer every day. Built in 1878, the 6,000 square foot pitched tin roof building features an intimate stage where the likes of Garth Brooks, Tanya Tucker, Little Richard, Merle Haggard and even Jerry Lee Lewis have performed.
In nearby Helotes, this 1942 built hall is renown as Willie Nelson’s career ‘birthplace.’ Nelson even lived in a back room for a time. Floore’s is considered by many to be THE classic Honky Tonk of Texas. Legendary singers such as Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Bob Wills, George Jones, and Ray Price have performed here. Nelson preserved the founder, John T. Floore, in country Music history forever by including him in the song “Shotgun Willie.” Warning: Floore’s always closes in the afternoon of the Super Bowl.
Cowboys has something for just about anyone interested in country music. The huge venue features an arena for Professional Bull Riders events, dancing lessons, gift shop (military gets a $5 coupon the first weekend each month), a mechanical bull and more. Cowboys hosts some of the biggest names in country Music. 3030 Northeast Interstate 410 Loop, San Antonio, TX 78218, (210) 646-9378.
Other well-known and popular country venues
Wild West (111/21025 Encino Commons Boulevard, San Antonio, TX 78258, 210-496-9453)
Midnight Rodeo (12260 Nacogdoches Road, San Antonio, TX 78217, 210-655-0040 )
Bluebonnet Palace (17630 Lookout Road, Selma, TX 78154, 210-651-6702)