Pick the time and occasion well to maximize the chance of a fun crowd.
Because of Texas T Pub’s Alamo-adjacent downtown San Antonio location, a visit’s quality is going to be heavily dependent on the assembled crowd. Nearby residents, curious tourists, regulars and every version of downtown inhabitant are likely to wander into Texas T Pub beneath its simple sign that hangs from the long white awning connecting the San Antonio dive bar to neighbor cowboy hat store Parris Hatters.
And because of the hit or miss crowd that can sometimes populate Texas T Pub, one experience may be wildly different than the last, the bar maximizing what it means to be a dive bar in every way. Opened in 1986, the San Antonio dive bar’s matriarch is Adela Loera-Fuller who purchased the bar with husband Thomas Fuller. Thomas, who sadly passed away in 2018, and son Tommy serve as namesakes to the bar, adding the “T” in Texas T Pub.
Since 1986, little has changed inside or out, the Texas T Pub-Paris Hatters pairing one of the most stable retail corners in downtown San Antonio. Paris Hatters, founded in 1917, sits under its own set of iconic signage, making for an unmistakable urban landmark for both businesses. The partnership is more than just neighborly, Paris Hatters long serving as leaseholder to the Texas T Pub space. Today, Adela can frequently be seen manning the bar, though day to day operations fall more frequently to younger sister and bar manager Terry Loera.
The Texas T Pub storefront is a simple one, black tile bending into a small indentation that contains the dive bar’s front door. Inside, Texas T Pub occupies a single, long room broken up into phases that transition from seating in front to pool tables in middle to finally the bar itself in back. Lighting, as would be expected, is dim inside Texas T Pub, a scattering of neon beer signs augmenting a modest set of interior lights. The pair of Lone Star-branded pool lights might provide the strongest illumination here, spotlighting the well-loved pool tables that attract frequent attention.
Toward the rear of the space, the bar’s long counter is backed by simple, tiered shelving that houses the bar’s liquor offerings, behind it an equally simple mirror. The beer refrigerator contains a set of largely domestic favorites, as well as selections pulled for the community of regulars that frequents Texas T Pub. The San Antonio dive bar, is of course, cash only with an ATM on site. The aptly named bar cat Kitty Cat long held court within the Texas T Pub walls but passed away in 2022 after a bizarre ordeal that involved the cat’s kidnapping from and return to the bar.
As downtown dive bars across the country dwindle due to the ever-present threat of redevelopment, Texas T Pub’s ability to stick it out in San Antonio is commendable, the bar’s community of locals and regulars organically grown over the years. The dim dive bar on the fringes of the Alamo tourism district is a function of that night’s crowd, a dynamic likely to influence the quality of an individual visit.