Austin entrepreneurs plan to open cluster of bars on North Alamo in downtown San Antonio

The new nightspots could include a sports bar, a cocktail bar, a DJ venue and a drinking establishment inside an old house.

click to enlarge An Austin partnership plans to convert this cluster of buildings at 901 N. Alamo St. into four bars. - SA HERON / BEN OLIVO
SA Heron / Ben Olivo
An Austin partnership plans to convert this cluster of buildings at 901 N. Alamo St. into four bars.
Two entrepreneurs from Austin plan to add to the growing bar district on North Alamo Street by renovating a cluster of buildings behind the Grunt Style headquarters into four bars with distinct personalities, including a performance venue.

Wade Nguyen and Rouhi Alameddine, known for operating the Hen House lounge bar in downtown Austin, are working on architectural plans for the bars, which could include a sports bar, a cocktail bar, a DJ venue and a bar in an old house sitting on the property, Alameddine said in an interview.

“We were looking here, and we saw this building we liked a lot. And this area is booming a lot,” Alameddine said. “I love San Antonio in general. The culture, the old buildings, its history.”

The Vault Boy-esque mascot for the old Ace Spring Service. - SA HERON / BEN OLIVO
SA Heron / Ben Olivo
The Vault Boy-esque mascot for the old Ace Spring Service.

Each of the bars will be in an existing structure, Alameddine said. The partnership hopes to start renovation work in the next several months. He hopes to have the first bar open around the end of the year.

Along with the house, which features a two-story veranda, the 0.46-acre property at 901 N. Alamo St. includes a warehouse with corrugated metal siding which formerly served as the location of the Ace Spring Service auto shop.

County deed records show that Nguyen and Alameddine’s partnership, 901 North Alamo LLC, purchased the property on May 26 from the locally-based Hudson Crocket Holdings. Alameddine declined to share the purchase price.

He said that he and Nguyen are partners in the Hen House in downtown Austin. Nguyen separately operates Abby’s Crab Shack in south Austin, he said. Neither of them have done projects in San Antonio.

They will likely serve bar food and tacos at their bars on North Alamo, he said.

“Everything is San Antonio style, you know?” Alameddine said of their plans. “The culture is different here than in Austin. It’s a different crowd, different everything. It’s very family-driven, Mexico-driven.”

Over the last five years or so, the area around North Alamo, south of Broadway, has been a growing hotspot for bars with the arrival of businesses such as Roadmap Brewing Co., Bentley’s Beer Garden, La Roca Cantina and Social Spot; and the reemergence of Tony’s Bar as Tony’s Siesta. The Lucky Duck, a bar on East Sixth Street in Austin, recently opened a location a block down North Alamo from his site.

Local developers have big plans for this area of downtown. North of Broadway, a partnership between Hixon Properties and the Cavender family recently built a top-of-the-line office building, The Soto, and has plans for a market that would include a brewery and coffee shop.

Most of the block where Nguyen and Alameddine’s partnership bought the property is owned by a partnership named 930 Broadway Ltd. which is led by developers David Adelman and Ed Cross, state filings show.

click to enlarge This brick building could become its own bar within the cluster of buildings at 901 N. Alamo St. - SA HERON / BEN OLIVO
SA Heron / Ben Olivo
This brick building could become its own bar within the cluster of buildings at 901 N. Alamo St.

click to enlarge The former Ace Spring Service auto shop. - SA HERON / BEN OLIVO
SA Heron / Ben Olivo
The former Ace Spring Service auto shop.

click to enlarge The old two-story house could become its own venue on the property. - SA HERON / BEN OLIVO
SA Heron / Ben Olivo
The old two-story house could become its own venue on the property.

click to enlarge A look down North Alamo Street. - SA HERON / BEN OLIVO
SA Heron / Ben Olivo
A look down North Alamo Street.

click to enlarge A calavera by @dodznft. - SA HERON / BEN OLIVO
SA Heron / Ben Olivo
A calavera by @dodznft.

click to enlarge The sign for the old Ace Spring Service advertises coil springs, leaf springs, u-bolts and other auto services. - SA HERON / BEN OLIVO
SA Heron / Ben Olivo
The sign for the old Ace Spring Service advertises coil springs, leaf springs, u-bolts and other auto services.

Richard Webner is a freelance journalist covering Austin and San Antonio, and a former San Antonio Express-News business reporter. Follow him at @RWebner on Twitter


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This story was originally published by the San Antonio Heron, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to informing its readers about the changes to downtown and the surrounding communities.

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