You know where to sit.
Texas Hill Country is a continuous stream of surprises, every twist in the many roads that snake through some of the state’s best scenery shedding light on a diner here and a dive bar there. New Braunfels is a little bit more than a dusty stop along a well-traveled road as the city has grown steadily thanks to its connection to San Antonio’s slow creep outward. Among New Braunfels’ Hill Country drinking options, Hoity Toit Beer Joint is the clear king, a Texas dive bar with some many interesting quirks and features that landing them all in one review is an impossible task.
While it is difficult to know where to start with Hoity Toit Beer Joint, the twisted blue neon over one of the dive bar’s interior seating areas that reads “Asshole Section” is probably the place to start. The signage inside carries a tone well established by the signage outside, the bar’s signature sign a similarly impressive display of twisted neon set against a stark, red backdrop. The same color can be seen along the edge of the roof over the dive bar’s front patio, white lettering visible on its edge with the motivating phrase, “you can’t get there from here without a six pack.”
The seating on the front patio consists of wooden benches and tables providing just enough space for a few groups willing to brave the Texas heat. At night, the neon from the bar’s sign pairs with red rope lighting keeping the stark color contrast alive in the evening. The first step inside is dive bar intense, the Asshole Section sign, the Christmas lights along the wall, the beer signs throughout the space, the surprising depth to the building, all of it combines to create a pretty perfect Texas dive bar vibe. That the beer coolers here are complemented by an extensive system of metal basins filled with ice and frigid Shiner only adds to the experience.
Hoity Toit Beer Joint’s popularity is demonstrated by the collection of koozies along the wall behind the bar. Though there are koozies for sale inside, these particularly koozies perched above the proceedings belong to locals and regulars who snag their personal koozie upon entry. The beer that fits snugly in those koozies is beyond reasonably priced, nightly happy hours dropping the price bracket down even more on the domestic bottles that dominate the selection. Drinking a sub-$3 Lone Star in a Texas dive bar on a hot day surrounded by neighborhood regulars is a hard experience to beat.
Just inside the front door, a long corridor includes the koozie selection already mentioned as well as dive bar standard trophies, some of them with Bud Light cans as load-bearing elements. Gaming machines are interspersed here as well among some other odds and ends as well as the first of many Christmas light strands inside. This haphazard collection quickly gives way to a cavernous interior space split up into two rooms, the first of them featuring the snaking bar itself. A dividing wall between this first corridor and the main room is home to the proclaimed Asshole Section, which, signage aside, might be the best seat in the house.
Christmas lights creep up the poles in this main room as well as throughout the ceiling across the entire footprint, providing that healthy dive bar glow that makes drinking a little more fun. Low tables make up the seating in this first room, a decent set of seating options dotting the space. Also present is the classic jukebox that doubles as stage dressing for periodic karaoke nights, a small corner of the dive bar overtaken by those bold enough to sign and drink at the same time.
A curve in the bar extends into the second room blocked off inside Hoity Toit Beer Joint, a dedicated space for two pool tables that command the area. You guessed it, more Christmas lights can be found back here to keep the ambiance flowing and though there are windows along this rear wall of the space, the blinds are mercifully shut most days, keeping the pesky suggestion of sunlight a rumor rather than a reality. Bar signs throughout both rooms feature the classic selection of beer brands, but are probably on the minimal side as far as cluttered dive bars sometimes go. Keep an eye out for the functioning Clydesdale Budweiser rotating lamp, a rarity in working order.
Of course, there’s more to see, from the old-timey scale to a vintage piano to many more odds and ends throughout the space. And that’s part of the fun here, a first visit to Hoity Toit Beer Joint more of a scavenger hunt than a solitary drinking experience. The clear community vibe here though is what sets the experience apart, from the reserved koozies to the dive bar’s sheer affordability, this is a comfortable, welcoming, warm neighborhood dive bar to grab a domestic bottle and ridicule the poor souls sat in the Asshole Section.