The Silver Fox has a motto; “The Best Kept Secret in Leon Springs.” After seven years of living in the immediate area, with countless trips past this place and nary a thought to stop in, I’d say that is pretty accurate.
As far as I knew it was exactly what it appeared to be: a dive bar on the fringe of a trailer park. I mean, it is a Leon Springs trailer park, but still, rough and tumble I’m not.
So it’s funny that a stint at the Bexar County Courthouse is what brought me here. Over the course of three weeks serving as a juror, conversations in the jurors’ room naturally progress from surface level (“Oh, where do you work?”) to in-depth (“…and that’s why I don’t trust men”).
It was through one of these hushed conversations held in the long breaks between sessions that I heard about this “secret” place in Leon Springs. “It was supposedly started up by some rich guys that wanted a place just for them and their friends.”
I had to find out for myself.
Per the bar’s website, the Silver Fox had been around for a while before former patrons and San Antonio bar industry veterans Jeff Shoemaker and Wallace Harding decided to purchase the place and restore it. The results of their hard work appear to be a success. The Silver Fox is a fun and cheap diversion for those on the North Side of town.
Nestled between the Leon Springs Fire Department and the intersection of Old Fredericksburg and Aue Road, The Silver Fox is easy to miss. Its finely weathered exterior says “locksmith” more than “bar.” Inside (once you get past the pleasant bouncers) you’ll find stained concrete floors, wood-paneled walls and the musty smell of a worn bar. I found it quite agreeable.
The clientele was in the 30 to 40 age range, and the bar exuded a very “good times” feel and didn’t give off the meat market vibe you might find elsewhere. Most people arrived in groups, looking to socialize, not hook up. There was a dance floor and although no one was boot scootin,’ that likely changes when there is live music (Fridays and Saturdays). The TouchTunes jukebox filled that void with everything from Norman Greenbaum to A$AP Rocky.
The main bar itself had good variety, relative to how tiny it was. The selection ran the gamut from high-end (Macallan and Glenlivet scotches) to the garden variety (Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, ugh, bad memories…). Beer selection was on the lean side, with only eight beers on tap, such as Miller Lite and Shiner, but they did have one of my faves, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. (I did mention I’m not rough and tumble, right?)
The service was decent but, for the most part, the bartenders knew their stuff. They were able to throw together a more than passable Three-Legged Monkey (Crown Royal, bourbon, amaretto and pineapple juice) and a Water Moccasin (Crown Royal, peach schnapps and sour mix).
Bar crowding wasn’t that much of an issue, which was surprising considering how I had to apply all my Tetris skills when it came to finding a place to park. This may be due in part to the wooden patio. Nicely lit and sufficiently spacious, the outdoor deck pulled a decent amount of people who wanted to play cornhole and relax away from the music. There was a barbecue pit out there as well but sadly no charred flesh to be found. It seems like your only food options are the Hot Funyuns from the snack machines…on the same row as the cigarettes.
If you want to stay inside (probably a good idea five months out of the year) there is also a pool table and a couple of dart boards right when you come in. And by the way, these were the nicest bar dartboards I have ever seen. They must have been brand new as the cork was immaculate and the arrows were unbroken. But I don’t think the darts were calibrated as I kept missing my mark completely. Weird…
That quirk aside, the secret is out: The Silver Fox is a refreshingly chill bar. It’s not quite a place you would drive across town to “experience,” but it is definitely worth checking out if you are in the area.
24802 Ima Ruth Pkwy
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