Country Strong: Two-Stepping And Stetson-ing Around Town

SA Country Saloon dons its colors proudly. - KEVIN FEMMEL
Kevin Femmel
SA Country Saloon dons its colors proudly.

If you prefer dancing to slower beats while wearing your favorite boots, then you'll want to round up a partner and check out these country bars. If you're looking for a cool place to hang your hat or keep the hoedown going after a night at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, get yourself gussied up for these barns.

Thirsty Horse Saloon

2335 NW Military Hwy., 348-1513, 7pm-2am Wed-Thu; 8pm-2am Fri-Sat

Thirsty Horse Saloon has been gaining a reputation for being a fun dancehall that's easier on your budget. Cover charges are a rarity and the beer specials usually mean you'll drop $2-$3 a pop. If you feel like snacking, vending machines are scattered throughout, ensuring that you don't break the bank. Most weekends a band will play your favorite country tunes or original jams, again at no additional cost to the bar-goer. If you're nervous about going to your first country bar, Thirsty Horse Saloon is a welcoming atmosphere for newcomers though veterans of the scene also like to stop by.

SA Country Saloon

10127 Coachlight, 525-0915, 4pm-2am daily

Want something with a little more panache? As San Antonio's most popular gay country bar, the SA Country Saloon's personality definitely makes up for its smaller size. The dance floor isn't nearly as big as its counterparts, but it can be just as much fun. The music selection is comprised of mostly popular country songs, occasionally straying into other genres to help patrons boogie. Free dance lessons on Tuesday nights give you a good reason to test-drive SA Country Saloon.

Cowboys Dance Hall

3030 NE Loop 410, 646-9378, 7pm-2am Wed-Sun

You can't gab about the top country bars in town without a Stetson tip to Cowboys Dance Hall. With Cowboys' size comes some drawbacks, like higher cover charges, but they're well worth it. You simply won't find a country bar with as diverse a crowd or a larger dancefloor. Dance lessons, bull riding and concerts from some of the world's most popular country acts are just a few of the activities waiting for you.

Gruene Dance Hall

1281 Gruene, New Braunfels, (830) 606-1281, Hours vary

OK, so technically outside of SA, but this spot is simply too good to not recommend. There is a different band performing original material almost every night of the week, usually gratis, while popular country and rock acts headline the weekends. Music icons like Chris Isaak and Willie Nelson have all performed at Gruene Hall, a 137-year-old hall any self-respecting country fan should pay a visit at least once.

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