Last Call salutes Saluté

A couple of weeks ago, when I was neck deep in Last Call (the glossy, yearly bar guide that may slide out of your hardcopy version of this week's Current) and trying to unwind at Saluté, I had a light bulb moment. Just beyond the stiff drink Azeneth Dominguez had served me was a vintage bar sign in the shape of a traffic light that reads, ”BAR IS OPEN,” “LAST CALL,” or “BAR IS CLOSED,” depending on the position of a little switch (which takes strong finger muscles to twist, I found out). Even without the traffic light warning drinkers that last call was approaching, the red neon Saluté sign casting a moody glow on tequila bottles and martini glasses would make for an excellent cover, I thought.

The next week, I returned with camera and tripod in tow and asked very nicely if I could take some photos of the sign. Azeneth let me behind the bar, Plata let me invade his DJ space, and everyone else in the bar (all four of them — it was just after 10 p.m. on a Thursday) was perfectly sweet and unbothered by the fact that I was sitting on the floor, climbing over bar stools, crouching under turntables, and taking an awful lot of pictures (118 of them to be exact).

Unbeknownst to me, a handsome-looking graphic cover for Last Call was already in the works, and as you can see, it employs a certain Biblical charm that’s ironic when you take into consideration what’s lurking inside: drag queens, strippers, and, among other things, a listing for a bar that prides itself on being the “Home of Wild Pig Sex.”

As a special thank you to Saluté International Bar (“the most fascinating time capsule on the St. Mary’s Strip” according to the Biblical bar guide known as Last Call), here it is: the cover that just wasn’t meant to be.

Saluté International Bar

2801 N St. Mary’s

(210) 732-5307

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