First Fridays at Beethoven’s may be the closest one can come to Fiesta spillover crowds pre-Fiesta. I’d never flown solo at the bar, which doubles as the home to one of the oldest German singing societies in the state, but I quickly latched onto a guy in a German flag cowboy hat and a bowling shirt that read “Achiever” on the name patch. Jeff and I quickly added a third to our party, when Dimi — one-half of the local Greek restaurant Mina & Dimi’s — joined us. We headed inside for a beer.
Jeff carries his own, personal beer mug that he keeps behind the bar — a privilege available to members of Beethoven’s. “It’s great because they will wash my mug, store it behind the bar, and when I show up they remember which one is mine,” he said.
The length of the line at the bar fluctuated throughout the night, but it increased considerably after the final score of the Spurs - Rockets game flashed across the TV screen. The 119-114 overtime loss prompted one previously quiet patron to break out the bottle. Bill Merriman, a member of Beethoven’s since 1972 and a concerned Spurs fan, poured an unidentified beverage from a large glass handle into his Pearl when-it-was-still-brewing-beer Brewery mug. “I bring out the hard stuff when we lose,” he said bitterly.
Back outside I circled the expansive courtyard lined with picnic tables as people ate bratwurst ($4) topped with sauerkraut ($2). Others enjoyed the Lenten offering of shrimp tacos ($4). To wash it down Beethoven’s offers import drafts, which include German staples like Becks, Bitburger, Pilsner Urquell, and Spaten ($4), with pitchers priced at $13. Domestic bottles are $3. If beer isn’t your buddy, Beethoven’s also offers German red and white wines.
Starting Wednesday, April 13, and running until Friday, April 15, Beethoven’s will celebrate their annual Fiesta Gartenfest. Tickets are $3 in advance or $5 at the gate. The money from the tickets goes toward their music programs, according to Claus Heide, who has been president of Beethoven’s since 1983. “I would get here at least by 5 p.m. on Thursday because this place fills up like you wouldn’t believe,” said Heide, referring to King Antonio’s 8:20 p.m. arrival. Events start at 5 p.m. and go until midnight with Fiesta dancing taking place nightly from 9:30 p.m. ’till midnight.
Member Bob Raba, who first came to Beethoven’s when he was three years old, summed up the venue this way: “We love music, we love to celebrate music, and we welcome anyone.”
422 Pereida St.
Open 4pm-Midnight, Tuesday-Saturday
943 S Alamo
Open 11am-Midnight, Monday-Sunday
Cash, Credit, Debit Accepted
A line to get my ID checked and subsequently banded, a line to order a beer, and a line to the porta-potty. It’s all worth the wait though, as The Friendly Spot boasts a dense beer menu, as well as delicious bar food. I recommend the sizable chicken & mole tamale wrapped in banana leaves ($4), and the corn in a cup ($2). Drink specials change daily.
723 S Alamo
Does it get any better than Lone Star tallboys ($2), 50-cent pool, and a revered prehistoric jukebox?
609 S Alamo
Open Wednesday - Friday 4 p.m. - Midnight, Saturday 5 p.m. - 1 a.m.
The Spurs bombed, but the DJ is playing DJ Khaled’s “All I Do is Win.” Perhaps it’s a reference to the winning chicken flautas — or the reasonable beer prices. Imports like Tecate, Corona, and Victoria are $3, while domestic staples are $2. Owner David Guerra said he’s planning more DJ action for the Fiesta crowds.
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