Ernie's Ghosts 

Stories of ghosts at downtown hotels are widespread. When I went to Ernie’s Bar on the ground level of the Crockett Hotel, I wondered if I would hear supernatural tall tales. I went through what I thought was a front door that turned out to be a door to the dining room. No one was there. I walked through a second door that led into Ernie’s Bar and met my friend for a drink. The place had the energy of a morgue. As I looked around and absorbed the big emptiness I realized we were the ghosts. Adding to the eeriness, a man dressed like a postbellum buffalo soldier came in, briefly discussed something with the bartender, and abruptly left.

Ernie’s Bar is an anomaly at the historic Crockett Hotel. The Crockett has recently undergone renovation, yet the bar has remained the same. It has the feel of a crummy 1980s sports bar without the rowdy energy. I imagine a place like this to be lost somewhere outside the loop, not in the epicenter of San Antonio. Little light seems to make it through the windows, which is unfortunate because the bar has an incredible location next to the Alamo, which could offer great views of the lively and amusing pedestrian traffic. Something needs to change.

Luckily, the bartender knows what he’s doing. Not feeling creative, I ordered a margarita. My friend asked the bartender to make her a “girly” drink. To her approval he whipped up something called a Washington Apple, which consisted of Crown Royal, apple liqueur, and cranberry juice. Both drinks were excellent — not particularly cheap, but well-executed.

Alas, the bar as it is doesn’t make sense. With the exception of a rodeo bar with an electric bull, anything would be an improvement. Actually, an electric bull would still be a huge improvement.

— Mark Jones

Ernie’s Bar @ the Crockett Hotel
320 Bonham
4pm-2am Fri-Sat; 4pm-midnight Sun-Thu
Beer: $4
Mixed drinks: $6



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