Midwinter gathering: Place still uncertain

There will be an extremely informal gathering of (a few) C&I readers at

5 p.m., Monday, January 23, 2006, in San Antonio

Update January 9, 2006: We have a winner: The Menger Bar. See here for slightly more details.

In this post I asked for advice on possible watering holes at which we could gather, given that I’m not planning to make reservations or arrangements, just show up.

I’ve remembered a little more and done a little more looking (via the web, of course) at the places I was suggesting. They’re all a little problematic:

  • Boudro’s, probably the best option for quality of wine and like that, is really a restaurant, not a restaurant/bar, and you really need to “be seated” to order. I don’t think it will work for this purpose.
  • I now remember that, while Republic of Texas is fun, the riverwalk portion (as opposed to the inside portion) is small and busy. It may not be ideal either.
  • Menger’s bar, while historic, is both off the riverwalk and sort of an unknown. You have to really know you’re going there.

So here’s a couple of other possibilities–and I’d really love some informed feedback, before I make a decision (which will be some time next week):

  • Rio Rio Cantina/Naked Iguana saloon: I know Rio Rio has good food, and I believe (but can’t remember for sure) that there’s a pretty good size open riverwalk area.
  • Tex’s Riverwalk Sports Bar at the Hilton Palacio del Rio (my favorite chain hotel in SA, although not where I’ll be staying); the outside portion is directly off the riverwalk, and strikes me as a plausible candidate–the Hilton is very close to the convention center and Marriotts. (There’s also Ibiza patio restaurant at the Hilton, probably OK for drinks at 5 p.m., and Durty Mary’s, but the latter tends to be insanely noisy.)
  • Steers & Beers in the Rivercenter Mall–I think, but I don’t remember it all that well. (Otherwise, the mall’s mostly been conquered by chains, and Hooter’s is not a candidate!)

Feedback? Other suggestions? Right now, I’m leaning toward Tex’s. The Menger bar is still a possibility.

Oh, and if you’re coming, do let me know, with (of course) no obligation, since nothing’s being done in advance.

7 Responses to “Midwinter gathering: Place still uncertain”

  1. Aaron says:

    My mother-in-law suggested a remembered German restaurant with homebrewed rootbeer at street level over the riverwalk – she couldn’t remember the name, maybe Schilo’s Deli?
    I’m a sucker for good German food.

  2. walt says:

    Well, in this case I’m looking for a place to get drinks, and on the riverwalk is preferable. Nothing against German food (the Gruenig side of my family is, as you might guess, German), but not quite what we need in this case.

  3. Walt,

    I’d vote for the Menger if you were taking a vote. It is quite and seating is pretty good. I’ve practived dance moves there before a music conference without any problems.

    Rio Rio has good food, however even with the large outdoor seating it does fill up.

    Schilo’s has good food and rootbeer. I always visit it when in SA. It has long lines for lunch. Best try it for supper or breakfast. I’ve had rootbeer there for breakfast.

    I’ve only been to Steers and Beers once, it was loud and had a fake cowboy feel. I’ve not gone back. Maybe I just hit it at a bad time.

  4. walt says:

    David, THANKS! That’s very helpful. Steers and Beers is off the candidate list (actually, a menu that shows which expensive red wines to combine with cheap TexMex cuisine doesn’t inspire confidence anyway…)

    So now it’s down to Menger, Tex’s, and Rio Rio. Knowing the Menger Bar is on the quiet side doesn’t hurt (not surprising; the Menger is historic but just a touch off the beaten path). As for Rio Rio, I’m hoping that Monday p.m. will be enough lighter than the weekend that it won’t be too bad; same is true for Tex’s. Of course, if another big convention rolls into town…but usually, Monday at Midwinter is fairly calm.

    Anyone with curent awareness on Tex’s?

  5. David Bigwood says:


    Another idea, The Plaza. It is a bit behind the convention center. It has a very nice garden in back with peacocks. If I remember right the lounge overlooks it. Not too busy or noisy the time I was there.

  6. Dave Tyckoson says:


    I think that the Menger is really the most appropriate place for your “meeting.” After all, this is where Teddy Roosevelt formed the rough riders. Since you are the leader of the Rough Riders of Library Technology, I can think of no more appropriate venue. The Menger is located “across the alley from the Alamo”. Any librarian who cannot figure out where it is should not be part of the group. If I can invite myself along, I’ll meet you there.

  7. walt says:

    Dave: “If I can invite myself along”? Consider yourself invited–you read this blog, and I suspect you’ve read at least one or two issues of C&I. (Heck, you’d be invited anyway.)

    I love the line…and I’m actually leaning in the Menger’s direction anyway. (Depending on how things go in San Antonio, I may be leaning sharply in the Menger’s direction by Monday!)

    I’ll wait for other comments until Monday, but right now, it looks as though the Menger Bar is a good choice.