August 19, 2022

20 things in San Antonio that are gone that we really miss

San Antonio has exploded in growth, and with growth comes change. Sure, we love all the great new restaurants, entertainment options and culture the city has to offer, but we've also had to say goodbye to some pretty amazing people and places.

To that end, we've rounded up 20 things San Antonio has lost that we really miss.
Scroll down to view images

Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

At a time when local-based reporting is critical, support from our readers is essential to our future. Join the San Antonio Current Press Club for as little as $5 a month

The White Rabbit
Look, most San Antonio music fans have no complaints with the Paper Tiger, a club that consistently brings tons of great touring acts to town. Even so, some who cut their teeth on the St. Mary's Strip still have fond memories of the White Rabbit, the venue that previously occupied the building. It's understandable that folks of a certain age, whether they played the older club or just caught shows there, would have some nostalgia tied up in the Rabbit. 
Photo via Google Maps
The White Rabbit
Look, most San Antonio music fans have no complaints with the Paper Tiger, a club that consistently brings tons of great touring acts to town. Even so, some who cut their teeth on the St. Mary's Strip still have fond memories of the White Rabbit, the venue that previously occupied the building. It's understandable that folks of a certain age, whether they played the older club or just caught shows there, would have some nostalgia tied up in the Rabbit.
Photo via Google Maps
The Sky Ride at Brackenridge Park
For 35 years, the Sky Ride offered San Antonians and tourists amazing views of the city skyline and a magical view of Brackenridge Park below. However, over time, the colorful four-foot wide gondolas deteriorated, and in 1999, city council opted not to spend the millions of dollars required on upgrades. For those old enough to remember, a visit to Brackenridge or the nearby San Antonio Zoo was never quite the same after the ride's closure.
Photo via UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
The Sky Ride at Brackenridge Park
For 35 years, the Sky Ride offered San Antonians and tourists amazing views of the city skyline and a magical view of Brackenridge Park below. However, over time, the colorful four-foot wide gondolas deteriorated, and in 1999, city council opted not to spend the millions of dollars required on upgrades. For those old enough to remember, a visit to Brackenridge or the nearby San Antonio Zoo was never quite the same after the ride's closure.
Photo via UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
Santikos Bijou Cinema Bistro
The Bijou Cinema Bistro, a concept ahead of its time in offering dining options to moviegoers, shut its doors in April 2022. Santikos operated the theater since 2003, devoting some of its screens to foreign and art films while bolstering sales with food and alcohol. In 2023, the Woodlawn Theatre plans to move into the venue at Wonderland of the Americas, and will take a new name to accompany the change in location. 
Photo via Google Maps
Santikos Bijou Cinema Bistro
The Bijou Cinema Bistro, a concept ahead of its time in offering dining options to moviegoers, shut its doors in April 2022. Santikos operated the theater since 2003, devoting some of its screens to foreign and art films while bolstering sales with food and alcohol. In 2023, the Woodlawn Theatre plans to move into the venue at Wonderland of the Americas, and will take a new name to accompany the change in location.
Photo via Google Maps
Hispanic Elvis
John Esquivel, known for his flamboyant Elvis impersonations in downtown's Market Square, died in March 2022 after being hospitalized earlier in the year due to COVID-19 and an esophagus infection. Known for colorful garb that pays tribute to the King's Las Vegas years, Hispanic Elvis was a Market Square fixture, posing for pics with locals and tourists alike. He was also known for riding his bike around the West Side, cape flapping behind him — an image depicted in a mural unveiled in the fall of 2021 by artist Colton Valentine. 
Photo via Instagram / colton_valentine_
Hispanic Elvis
John Esquivel, known for his flamboyant Elvis impersonations in downtown's Market Square, died in March 2022 after being hospitalized earlier in the year due to COVID-19 and an esophagus infection. Known for colorful garb that pays tribute to the King's Las Vegas years, Hispanic Elvis was a Market Square fixture, posing for pics with locals and tourists alike. He was also known for riding his bike around the West Side, cape flapping behind him — an image depicted in a mural unveiled in the fall of 2021 by artist Colton Valentine.
Photo via Instagram / colton_valentine_
Spurs Championships
No matter how many times TV news trots out those "Race for seis" graphics as the Spurs head into the playoff season, it seems unlikely our NBA team will be able to go all the way until we land another draft pick of Tim Duncan's caliber.
Photo by Josh Huskin
Spurs Championships
No matter how many times TV news trots out those "Race for seis" graphics as the Spurs head into the playoff season, it seems unlikely our NBA team will be able to go all the way until we land another draft pick of Tim Duncan's caliber.
Photo by Josh Huskin
Mr. and Mrs. G’s Home Cooking
William Garner and his wife Addie opened this spot in 1991, focusing on family recipes and old-fashioned hospitality. It quickly became a staple of the city’s East Side and remained open for more than three decades before closing in July of 2022. 
Photo via Google Maps
Mr. and Mrs. G’s Home Cooking
William Garner and his wife Addie opened this spot in 1991, focusing on family recipes and old-fashioned hospitality. It quickly became a staple of the city’s East Side and remained open for more than three decades before closing in July of 2022.
Photo via Google Maps
La Semana Alegre
This long-running Fiesta event hosted by the San Antonio Jaycees on the Freeman Coliseum grounds was an annual pilgrimage for music fans. For 26 years, the outdoor concert series stacked up deep bills that included music legends ranging from Steve Ray Vaughn to Motörhead. Of course, there were perennial fixtures like Legs Diamond, and plentiful surprises. Remember Spinal Tap performing in front of a crowd where at least a quarter of the attendees didn't quite get that they were a parody band? Or how about the time Welsh proto-metal trailblazers Budgie reformed specifically to play La Semana?
Photo via Wikimedia Commons / Brownings at English Wikipedia
La Semana Alegre
This long-running Fiesta event hosted by the San Antonio Jaycees on the Freeman Coliseum grounds was an annual pilgrimage for music fans. For 26 years, the outdoor concert series stacked up deep bills that included music legends ranging from Steve Ray Vaughn to Motörhead. Of course, there were perennial fixtures like Legs Diamond, and plentiful surprises. Remember Spinal Tap performing in front of a crowd where at least a quarter of the attendees didn't quite get that they were a parody band? Or how about the time Welsh proto-metal trailblazers Budgie reformed specifically to play La Semana?
Photo via Wikimedia Commons / Brownings at English Wikipedia
The ability to get anywhere in San Antonio in under a half hour
Believe it or not, that used to be the case. However, as San Antonio keeps growing and as ever more folks seek shelter in the suburbs, it can now take commuters 30 minutes just to get out of the Medical Center or pass through a traffic snarl at Loop 1604 and U.S. Highway 281.
Photo via Google Maps
The ability to get anywhere in San Antonio in under a half hour
Believe it or not, that used to be the case. However, as San Antonio keeps growing and as ever more folks seek shelter in the suburbs, it can now take commuters 30 minutes just to get out of the Medical Center or pass through a traffic snarl at Loop 1604 and U.S. Highway 281.
Photo via Google Maps
Jacala Mexican Restaurant
West side institution Jacala burned down in March 2022, marking the end of a chapter for one of the oldest restaurants in the city. The five-alarm fire burned almost everything in the restaurant and was declared a total loss by fire officials as they arrived at the scene. 
Photo via Google Maps
Jacala Mexican Restaurant
West side institution Jacala burned down in March 2022, marking the end of a chapter for one of the oldest restaurants in the city. The five-alarm fire burned almost everything in the restaurant and was declared a total loss by fire officials as they arrived at the scene.
Photo via Google Maps
Taco Land
When it comes to underground rock clubs, they didn't come more underground than Taco Land. The rough-edged neighborhood bar and its profane proprietor Ram Ayala had a way of scaring off squares. All the while, it played host to a litany of amazing touring and local acts, some of whom were so impressed they even commemorated the place in song. The slaying of Ayala and doorman Doug "Gypsy Doug" Morgan during a 2005 robbery permanently closed the spot, although the Velvet Taco restaurant now on the site includes tributes to both men and the one-of-a-kind venue that once stood there.
Courtesy Photo / Erik Sanden
Taco Land
When it comes to underground rock clubs, they didn't come more underground than Taco Land. The rough-edged neighborhood bar and its profane proprietor Ram Ayala had a way of scaring off squares. All the while, it played host to a litany of amazing touring and local acts, some of whom were so impressed they even commemorated the place in song. The slaying of Ayala and doorman Doug "Gypsy Doug" Morgan during a 2005 robbery permanently closed the spot, although the Velvet Taco restaurant now on the site includes tributes to both men and the one-of-a-kind venue that once stood there.
Courtesy Photo / Erik Sanden