On this website over the years, I’ve had a lot of traffic coming to read “A Look Back at Gilley’s 1980.” However, by and large, this is primarily my writer’s website with book reports, photos, and self-serving promo’s for indy paperbacks I’ve published. I find it ironic (or is it just typical of the times?) that more people are landing here to read about a saloon than an opinion on the artistry of Goldfinch, or what it’s like trying to read Proust.
Here are some of the other places I remember from the early 80s in Houston. Those were great days. If you were there, you’ll recall some of them. I’ll add to the list as they come to mind. (though some I cant remember their names).
Any places you recall and want to share? -> wpmfla at gmail.
Todd’s – Had the feel of a neighborhood bar, usually a good crowd, polite, well-to-do, and above all looking for love. Todds was one of the best meet markets on the Southwest Side. The dancing was full throttle by 5 pm. For the less energetic, there was backgammon.
Shanghai Red’s – Red-hot happy hour with dancing and a free buffet, all with a great view right on the Ship Channel. Disadvantaged locals ate for free and left, like a community service.
San Antone Rose – Cold longnecks, mixed dancing with C/W and Top 40, a little for everyone. On San Felipe, West Side. The Rose had a free happy hour buffet too. Their tamales were delicious, but smelly. You were aware of them for 24 hours after ingestion.
Cowboys – A crowded sort of upscale C/W bar. I think it was on Westheimer or Richmond, out west. I was there when a fight broke out. A friend of mine got clobbered.
Spats – A high-end bar and dance place in a strip office center near the Galleria. You had to know where it was. Beautiful people, heavy druggy amorous glamorous and booze-soaked. A paragon of disco’s.
Munchies – an artsy ice-house on Bissonett near Rice with string quartet music and mimes. There was another great ice-house closer to Bellaire but I can’t recall its name.
Chaucer’s – an Arts Museum area bar on Bissonett and Montrose in the basement of the old Plaza Hotel. My favorite after-work hangout. I had a crush on Vivienne, the bartender. One night I had too many and slept in the hotel’s “crash room.”.
Marfreless – in River Oaks, an unmarked somewhat snooty bar for lovers with sofas and curtained nooks. I went there with dates several times as one more masher in the crowd.
Sillouhette Lounge – on the unfashionable side of Bellaire Blvd, a cozy neighborhood nudie club. Friendly, non-threatening. They don’t make em like that anymore.
Rockefellers – in the Heights, an old bank turned into a mini concert hall with big name shows and retro nightclub tables. I went on invitation from friends who were gay. Those guys were always tuned in to the trendiest places in town.
Cooters – I think that was the name, anyway. A large dance club and saloon on the opposite end of the shopping plaza from Todd’s, on Richmond Avenue. Had the reputation of a pick-up joint. Some of the baseball Astros drank there. Some of the visiting Mets were arrested there.
Shamrock Hilton – The hottest place in town on March 17th. Great ballroom drunken mix. Lots of random kissing. One eventually learned to book a room far in advance.