11th Street Bar celebrates best weekend ever
Originally published in the May 31, 2006, edition of the Bandera Bulletin newspaper. Reprinted with permission.
By James Taylor - Assocociate Editor-in-Chief
Thanks to the holiday weekend and a light-up-the-night performance by Jake Hooker and The Outsiders, Bandera's 11th Street Cowboy Bar enjoyed its biggest weekend ever, according to new owner James McGroarty.
"The crowd was the largest that they've ever experienced at 11th Street; it was an exceptionally great weekend," McGroarty said.
After taking over ownership on May 18, McGroarty, a native Banderan, has made a number of changes to the local watering hole.
"We're going back to the traditional sawdust dance floor and great bands that provide the type of music people come here for," McGroarty said. "That's what people want coming out of larger cities and surrounding areas: traditional Hill Country, Texas, and that's something we can really provide. Plus ice cold beer!"
To ensure a constant flow of that ice cold beer and other beverages, McGroarty has added two full-service bars to the patio area, bringing the total for the establishment to five bars. Barbacks now keep the bars constantly stocked to the brim with cold brew. Other modifications include adding air conditioning to the women's restrooms, additional lighting, portacool units to keep the crowd from simmering in the summer heat and a new sound system "so the clarity of the music is great."
Over Memorial Day Weekend, 11th Street also provided barbecue and other food to patrons, as will be a common practice on event weekends, McGroarty said.
Plans are on the table for building a major expansion to the 11th Street bar, which McGroarty said he hopes will be completed by Labor Day Weekend when Celebrate Bandera will flood the city with visitors.
The expansion will encompass a renovation of the stage and outdoor venue area, including large, professional bandstands with big lighting and sound systems, soundproof fencing and a cooling system on the outside perimeter, a larger dance floor to accommodate more people, and cabana bars that will allow the establishment to have up to 10 full bars going at any given time.
With these changes in place for Labor Day Weekend, McGroarty said he hopes to draw double the record-setting number of visitors as the venue saw last weekend.
"My goal is to see a 100-percent increase over Memorial Day," McGroarty said. "That will mean a major influx of people, money, and revenues back to the City of Bandera, along with the money that those people will spend in hotels and restaurants. It will be good for the town…I think it's going to be one of the largest weekends Bandera has ever seen."
McGroarty said he hopes to eventually feature marquee country music acts like Charlie Robison and Dwight Yoakum on a monthly basis, thanks to the expanded outdoor venue. McGroarty alluded to a "surprise country music artist" that has yet to be announced who will play the venue on Sept. 1 that will "really surprise people." 11th Street's Labor Day Weekend musical menu already includes such acts as Darrell McCall and Johnny Bush.
"This is one of the best bars in South Texas and we encourage people who have not come by to stop in and see what we're doing," McGroarty said. "Come by and see us."
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