11th Street Cowboy Bar - The Biggest Little Bar In Texas, serving up beer and country western swing music in Bandera, Texas

Biggest little bar in Texas
11th Street Cowboy Bar adopting traditional honky-tonk sawdust floors, old time music

Originally published in the October edition of The Hill Country Sun. Reprinted with permission.

By Greg Melikov - Courtesy of The Hill Country Sun

Karen and Buddy Byrd kick up their heels at 11th Street. Unlike Thomas Wolfe's fourth and final novel You Can't Go Home Again, James McGroarty did and loves it.

James, owner of the popular 11th Street Cowboy Bar, moved back to Bandera last year. Born and raised in the Cowboy Capital of the World, he spent much of his adult life in the petroleum business abroad before returning stateside. That's when he founded the Shamrock Environmental Corp. in Greensboro, N.C.

He wanted to build a comprehensive environmental waste management company to reduce waste liability and maintain a safe work environment. He started with one employee. Since 2000, personnel resources soured by 60 percent and Shamrock is now a leader in the environmental waste management industry.

James, who remains a stockholder following his retirement after more than a decade, considers himself an entrepreneur. He purchased the 11th Street Cowboy Bar earlier this year with the intention of making the Biggest Little Bar in Texas bigger and better. The bar began to prosper shortly after the new owner took over.

He believes the success is because the bar has adopted the traditional sawdust dance floor and is booking bands that provide the type of music people visit Bandera for. Folks coming from big cities want to experience the traditional Hill Country and James provides that at the bar.

To ensure a constant flow of ice-cold beer and other beverages, James 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 restroom, additional lighting, portable cooling units to keep the crowd from simmering in the 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, James says.

"This business was a small bar with good atmosphere," James says. "We've added a 5,500 square foot dance floor and the professional stage."

Performers during Hunter's Weekend will include the Davin James Band on November 3; Jake Hooker, plus Jesse Stewart and Ridin' High on November 4; and Stewart and Ridin' High on November 5.

"Old Texas dance halls have been disappearing, but I believe country swing music and the Texas Two-Step will make a comeback," James says. "That's because of retiring Baby Boomers in the Lone Star State and ultimately country music will surpass the progressive Austin Sound.

"The old stars are going back on tour and bringing back the country Western sound. We hope to be able to feature the quality Nashville and West Coast country music sound at our place."

FYI - The 11th Street Cowboy Bar is located at 307 11th Street in Bandera. For more information, including entertainment, call 830-796-4849 or visit the web site at www.11thstreetcowboybar.com.

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