When you're a single gal in the city, sometimes a night of dancing and drinking at the newest gay dance club is all you need to temporarily forget that you've got a case of the blues (let's just say I was the mayor of Broken Heartsville). Anxious to seek refuge from my typical bar circuit and, well, given my ailment of the moment, I was beyond excited about the idea of hittin' the town with my best girls and checking out BabiO's, the latest addition to San Antonio's gay bar community. But, as fate would have it, my idea didn't go according to plan. After contemplating the notion of staying in and watching classic movies on TCM, I instead got dolled up and flew fashionably solo to BabiO's on a desolate Thursday night. I walked in and was disappointed when I realized it was just me at this spacious bar. After I let that sink in for a minute, I soon realized that the club itself was remarkably stylish. Reminiscent of an international discotheque, the club's theme was contemporary with artful décor (think mirrors, lots of silver, fancy wallpaper). White sectional Mid-Century modern sofas make up the expansive lounge area, while soft, dim white lights and sconces gave the club a relaxed, chic vibe. A dude mannequin with a brightly lit bowl for a head, dressed only in designer-looking tighty-whiteys caught my attention, considering we were the only two patrons there. Left with no choice but to drink and suck it up, I darted straight for the bar. Santos Salazar, the owner, was tending bar by himself and greeted me warmly. After chatting for a bit about the concept of the bar and its opening (first weekend of May), Salazar asked what I wanted to drink and I responded with, "Whiskey, please." Salazar's eyes lit up and he asked with a smile, "You want to try a tamarindo margarita?" I graciously accepted his hospitality and was starting to feel a little better once I took the first deliciously sweet, tart sip. Margaritas are his specialty and definitely worth a try. Besides tamarindo, peach, raspberry, and baby mango are also on the menu. Drinking and dancing aren't the only components of the BabiO's experience. An enthusiast of Mexican cuisine, Salazar showed me the food menu filled with mini-tacos, quesadillas, tortas, and other specialties, explaining that he wants the club to be a place where you can "Eat, drink, dance." By the time I knew it, an hour had passed and only three other patrons had moseyed on in, so I decided to call it a night and give it another go on Friday. I returned, but this time to a much livelier scene. BabiO's was hoppin' and Salazar was still busy working behind the bar and happily serving his customers. Once I had my whiskey in hand, I made my way through the jam-packed dance floor filled with sharply dressed young professionals, eccentrics, and girls dressed in the quintessential club outfit of strappy sky-high heels with an unforgiving tight dress, and enjoyed the balmy weather on the comfortably large patio out back. As I waited for my bombshell best friend to arrive, I watched music videos accompanying the DJ's set, such as Erasure's "A Little Respect," Kanye West's "Gold Digger," and an awesomely bad freestyle music video full of teased hair and tragic, late 1980s fashion mishaps. Once my friend showed up the Thursday fiasco was redeemed, and my Friday ended up being a perfect girls' night out with my fabulous best gal, at a fabulous dance club.
527 W. Hildebrand Ave.
Vibe Midtown gay bar with ultra-cool contemporary décor, laid back lounge vibe, and a bevy of late-night dancing queen and kings
Best Use Margaritas on the patio, dancing into the wee hours of the night, girl's night out
Prices $3 domestic beer; $4 imports and wells; $5 premiums; $7 specialty margaritas (try the tamarindo)