By Libby Day, SATX Music
Oscar Webber of Crown gives the camera some love. (Photo by Greg Gabrisch)
Although it wasn’t really the opening, it certainly was grand. Welcoming, intriguing, and buzzing with potential, Bottom Bracket Social Club is bringing new life to the warehouse and commercial district bordered by I-10, Fredericksburg and North Laredo streets.
After a year wrought with city-wide venue and bar closures, owners Clayton Baines, Tito Bradshaw, and Harley Smith III are providing San Antonio with a friendly, well-priced dive bar; a new spot to showcase live, local music–something the city desperately needs.
Bottom Bracket, located at 1603 N. Colorado, has technically been in operation since a soft opening on December 8 of last year, but the official grand opening took place on January 25, 2014. Owned by the same family since the 1950s, the building itself has a rich history. It first served the community as Buena Vista Poultry market and in its post-poultry years, the building has taken the name of a few different bars and icehouses. Most recently it was Aragon’s Blue Flame, in operation for more than 20 years.
“We just got lucky and stumbled upon the building for rent, and at a very good price,” said Baines about finding the space. “We always knew we wanted to own a business, but didn’t know until recently that it was going to be a bar.”
The opening featured music by long-time San Antonio standout Alyson Alonzo, previously of Vincent Vega and Sugar Skulls, and heavy-hitting bands Crown and Lonely Horse. All delivered A+ performances that kept the crowd hooked.
Alyson Alonzo rewards early arrivals with a sultry serenade. (Photo by Libby Day)
Lonely Horse closes the night to the beat of their own drum. (Photo by Greg Gabrisch)
Even the music in between sets was spot on, ranging from the Fugees to Ice Cube, a seemingly less important aspect that helped set the tone for a lively, heartfelt evening. As far as the booking of talent goes, Baines admitted, “We don’t really know what we’re doing so we’re just doing what we can and hoping for the best.”
Whatever they’re doing, it’s working. A diverse crowd packed the house. Young, old, hipster, neighborhood, and just hood were represented and seemed to be having a blast, whether playing Jenga, darts, or hanging out around two well-placed fire pits in the large outside area. Something must also be said for staff members, who were friendly, helpful and stayed that way even when things got hectic at the bar.
While Bottom Bracket is clearly on the path to becoming a San Antonio staple, there is still work to be done. The ladies’ restroom was out of order and two outdoor port-a-potties, clearly labeled “women only,” provided some consolation, but that’s not going to fly in the long run.
The beer selection is excellent and will only get better, according to Baines. However, the mixed shots need a bit of work. One patron light-heartedly reported, “…worst Starf*cker I’ve ever taken.” Hey, you win some, you lose some. Do yourself a favor and stick to straight shots–less sugar and more bang for your buck.
There was plenty of parking across the street and the place is bike friendly. An appropriate amenity, as the club is named after a bicycle part.
“A bottom bracket is a bicycle component that the crank arms and pedals connect to, to drive the bicycle,” Baines said. “It has dual meaning though. We didn’t want to be fancy or a cocktail bar or anything. We are the bottom bracket–like tax bracket. We’re just a dive bar with low-priced drinks.”
All I can say is don’t sell it short, gentlemen. I look forward to seeing more live music and community events hosted at the Bottom Bracket Social Club, and am proud to share the 78201 with this new bustling establishment.
BBSC staff after a successful grand opening, from left to right: Tito Bradshaw, Harley J Smith III, Daniella Velasquez and Clayton Baines. (Photo by Libby Day)
Bottom Bracket Social Club
Address: 1603 N. Colorado, San Antonio, 78201
Phone: (210) 267-9160
Hours: Monday–Sunday, 5 p.m.–2 a.m.
Indoor capacity: 70