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TKO makes round two on Travis

Remember the old Navy Club at 123 E. Travis Street, on the west bank of the San Antonio River? One could pay a fee to join the club, and if you brought your own booze you could stay out a few hours later than the 2 a.m. curfew imposed on regular nightclubs in Texas. (Not like Oklahoma, where you can drink near-beer 24 hours a day, but that's another story.)

TKO Round Two
123 E. Travis
3pm-2am Mon-Fri,
4pm-2am Sat-Sun
The Navy Club closed a couple of decades ago, if memory serves correctly. The building sat silent for many years, and the only lingering reminder of it is the anchor logo on the sign outside the bar. Local entrepreneurs tried opening the bar under different names, including at one point, the TKO (Technical Knock Out), but bad luck shut down these venues, said Richie Ybarra, the recently appointed general manager of TKO Round Two.

"This place is just taking off," said an enthusiastic Ybarra last Thursday night. As we talked, he prepared ham sandwiches for the crowd expected to show up later for Game 6 of the NBA playoff series between the Spurs and the Supersonics.

TKO Round Two offers 23-ounce drafts of beers, such as Budweiser Select, at $2 each on basketball nights. It offers other specials, including happy hour, 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays, and packs in the old timers for the $1.75 longnecks through the weekends.

A bartender at the Marriott RiverCenter hotel for 14 years, Ybarra said he is a longtime member of the River Rats, those folks who work the service and tourist industry downtown and search for places to gather when their shifts are over.

TKO has darts, pool tables, a couple of golf video machines, and a personal favorite, one of those bar top video games featuring Tai Play and trivia games that will put a serious dent in the night's tips from Landry's or The County Line.

The bar also features a digital jukebox with more than 10,000 downloadable tunes, from Hip Hop to C&W (that's Cursing and Whining). Seriously, Ybarra's favorite tune is "I Love This Bar," by Toby Keith, but the camaraderie of TKO makes up for his personal taste in music. You don't have to be a boxing fan to enjoy the atmosphere at TKO; and don't forget to wear your favorite Spurs T-shirt for the next playoff game.

Michael Cary