An Update on San Antonio's Bar Fires of 2016

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PHOTO BY ANDREW LOP
  • Photo by Andrew Lop

The month of October brought with it a cluster of fires at some of our favorite bars. Though SAFD assured that there was no fire-happy arsonist wreaking havoc on our watering holes, four area joints were affected in part by several, separate fires. Here’s how it all broke down.

The first, on October 22, was a fire at the Sheraton Gunter Hotel inside one of their banquet halls, which caused some floor damage to Bar 414. The Robert Johnson-themed joint was able to get the doors open just a few weeks later, but others weren’t so lucky.

On Halloween morning, Francis Bogside/Brigid suffered extensive damage caused by its relatively new pizza oven. Bartenders Andres Vega, Andy Palacios and Carolyn Harwood from the favorite bar and restaurant have either been absorbed into sister bars Blue Box and George’s Keep, or others, such as bar manager Christine Hill and chefs Halston Connella and Justin Richardson are busy readying recipes for the opening of Hanzo, the bar group’s upcoming izakaya based out of Lincoln Heights. According to Hill, construction on Bogside began last week. 

A week later on Election Day, a small electrical fire took Folc out of the game for the foreseeable future. Sister bar Park Social is still in working order and celebrating a Maui Christmas every Thursday with bubbly Poinsettia No. 2s, Holiday Voodoo Grog and other tiki faves. Keep warm with the Aztec Slugger, Park Social’s take on spiked hot chocolate with mezcal, hot chocolate, heavy cream and spices, or try the warm and spicy Bum Rudder with Smith & Cross Jamaican rum, house falernum, Don’s Spice No. 2, cinnamon coconut butter and hot apple cider.

Finally, beloved necio/a haven Phantom Room was engulfed in flames the morning of November 16. The fire destroyed most of the structure aside from the main room and was initially considered a total loss by SAFD. The event also caused concern on the Strip of gentrification (see $200,000 townhouses next door) and led to outcries and a change.org petition. Nonetheless, owner Danny Delgado (also behind The Squeezebox, Faust Tavern, Hi-Tones and Lowcountry) said the plan is to rebuild. For now, Phantom’s staff has been absorbed by his other bars for the most part, and fundraising is already underway through several parties at Hi-Tones and Squeezebox.  “We are extremely grateful for everyone's support through all this. It's greatly appreciated,” Delgado said.



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