Each year, as February draws to a close, the energy in Bulverde, Texas builds towards one thing: the opening of rodeo season. Tejas Rodeo Company kicks off the festivities in style, hosting celebrations of colts, cowboys, and cattle every Saturday night. There, horses pull chuck wagons, ranchers lasso longhorns, and brave souls ride bulls to the delight of the crowd, who can emulate their heroes on a mechanical bull. Fans can even keep track of the rodeo rankings and return each week to cheer on their favorites in tie downs and barrel races. And after the last cowboy tips his hat to the crowd every night, live musicians steal the spotlight with country music that's capable of luring any age to the dance floor.
Few things complement that rodeo spirit like a steak, and Tejas' Steakhouse and Saloon has enough steak to act as currency should the dollar fail. Chefs source premium Akaushi beef from Beeman Ranch, cut it into two-ounce medallions, and season it with a signature rub before searing it to order. And those cuts of meat look right at home between the restaurant's walls. Wood paneling brims with saddles, chaps, pistols, and other authentic cowboy artifacts. The oldest item there? "Yellow Boy," a Winchester rifle made in 1870, the same year the color yellow was invented.
Since 1908, Anhalt Dance Hall has drawn crowds to two-step and do-si-do to traditional Texas tunes on a sprawling wooden dance floor. In December, the club will host Rocky King & Dance Hall Cowboys, who follow in the bootsteps of such Texas greats as Ray Price and Western swing forefather Bob Wills. The energetic strains of twin fiddles and steel guitar lure audiences to twirl around the 103-year-old dance floor, showcasing their shuffle-step and triple axel. Dancers can refuel with BYO snacks or stop by the bar for a cold beer or wine cooler (not included).
The ice-cream churners and pastry producers at The Sweet Spot delight patrons with a myriad of homemade ice-cream flavors, made-to-order milkshakes, and freshly baked cupcakes. An icy glass tundra houses creamy concoctions, beckoning sweet-tooth jaws to descend to the floor in awe of traditional ice-cream flavors such as rich chocolate or fresh strawberry, as well as inventive taste creations, including cotton candy and tropical Caribbean. Gaggles of milkshake gulpers can choose the ice-cream flavor of their liking to morph into a thick and creamy milkshake, sating liquid appetites and exercising long-lost spaghetti-slurping skills. Festooned in bright colors and mounds of sugary frosting, a parade of cupcakes pleases a plethora of cravings, with flavors such as bubble gum and carrot cake, each perfectly shaped to be enjoyed without a fork or to be hurled at insolent garden gnomes.
The team at Big Apple Bagels builds chewy, ring-shaped bread bites from scratch and wakes palates with steaming cups of Brewster's coffee. The menu teems with eats inspired by New York City deli fare, such as bagel-based club sandwiches and nearly a dozen styles of cream cheese—including three whipped varieties and one milked directly from a somersaulting cow. Bagel flavors range from plain and sesame, while swiss melts warm palates with gooey layers of cheese. Gourmet muffins introduce mouths to fluffy, cake-like texture kept moist—yet low in cholesterol—with soybean oil.
Touting the Best Burgers in the Full-Service Chains category according to the 2010 Zagat Fast-Food Survey, Red Robin features gourmet burgers stacked high with manifold fixings. The chain started in the 1940s under the name Sam's Tavern, where its proprietor Sam could be heard singing "When the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along)." He loved that old tune so much that he changed his tavern's name to Sam's Red Robin. Today, Red Robin still serves up the same gourmet burgers that put it on the culinary map in 1973—such as the Royal Red Robin burger topped with a fried egg—but the menu also includes more than 15 fire-grilled burgers, hearty mac 'n' cheese with riblets, zesty mexican grilled chicken, and towers of crispy onion rings.
Red Robin's aptly named 'Green Team' ensures that the chain implements green initiatives. All of Red Robin's produce is pesticide-free, and all of its eggs come from suppliers that do not use battery cages. The company is also dedicated to using recycled and recyclable packing and shipping materials sourced from suppliers certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and high-fived by Mother Nature.
When Jim Kiest of the San Antonio Express-News visited Hooligan’s Bar & Grill, he left with one important takeaway: “It is a great place to hang out when you’re not quite sure what you want to do. You’ll figure it out when you get there.” Kiest hit the nail on the head, given Hooligan’s eclectic collection of events and games. On any given night, a DJ might spin current hits for patrons to tap dance to or a cover band might storm the stage and pump out jams from the 1970s, ‘80s, or ‘90s. The music supplies a lively soundtrack for free rounds of poker, coin-operated pool games, an arsenal of darts and video games, and even dodge-ball matches.
Regardless of the ever-changing events schedule, patrons will always find three staples at Hooligan’s—food, drinks, and plenty of TVs. While watching Monday-night football or a UFC fight, bar-goers can munch mild to extra-hot wings, classic 8-ounce burgers, and individual pizzas, all washed down by domestic beers or fun cocktails such as cherry bombs and washington apples.