Beer ‘N All provides true convenience and a few cheap thrills
As the last gallon of gas slowly trickles into Manuel Chapa’s silver Ford Mustang, he looks back at the Exxon Tigermarket he stepped out of minutes before, and wishes he had grabbed a cold Bud Light to quench his thirst in the 96-degree San Antonio heat.
|Fruity margaritas and attractive servers await you at your local Beer ’N All.|
Chapa, beat after a long day working at a local contracting company, isn’t thrilled about making an extra trip back into the store, but his consternation dissolves when his attention is captured by a much more inviting solution across the street.
Lined up on the side of the road in a nice little row at 823 San Pedro, four young ladies — wearing only shiny halter tops and matching thigh-high skirts — wave American and Mexican flags at the growing rush-hour traffic. Do not mistake this demonstration, however, for another student protest over immigration reform.
The sign on the garage-like structure behind them seems to encapsulate the overall intent of the well-located business: Beer ’N All. The simple, catchy moniker calls out to Chapa as it seems to to many drivers, who can be seen contorting their necks to get the longest view possible of the scantily clad girls before the red light turns green.
As if at a fender-bender on the highway, eyes stare from both directions. Many drivers wave; others honk their horns in approval. Some — caught off guard by the carnal exhibition — double back to get another glimpse.
Jumping into his car, Chapa drives toward the establishment, the swaying flags luring him to an alcohol paradise.
“We see that all the time,” Beer ’N All owner Steve Bergenholtz said. “They’ll get their gas at the store there and then come get everything else — their beer, water, cigarettes — here.”
The first Beer ’N All, “a Hooters express,” says Bergenholtz, opened at the San Pedro location in December 2005. The business is designed so that customers can drive through the building and order everything from Dr. Pepper to beef jerky to margaritas made with real fruit. Customers never have to exit their vehicle to search for their purchases. They simply place an order with one of the attractive attendants, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
“Look at that,” Dingo Treviño says to his friend as they watch their toned attendant walk toward the car with two 40-oz. Budweisers and a watermelon margarita. The margarita, like all the mixed drinks served at Beer ’N All, is handed to them hot-sealed inside a plastic bag to circumvent open container laws. “What more do you want than beer being brought to you by beautiful girls?” Treviño asks.
Apparently not much more, since male patrons, which make up a surprisingly low 55 percent of Beer ’N All’s clientele, admit it is the girls and not the actual convenience that has them coming back for more.
“The view is better here,” said Juan Gomez, who says he comes at least twice a week with his 19-year-old son Frank. “We’re here all the time because they’re here all the time.”
Customers are not limited to horny father-son tandems. Bergenholtz says female visitors make up 35 percent of the more than 18,000 unique visitors each of the three San Antonio stores receives per month (the other two locations are 1331 SE Military Dr. and 5132 West Ave.).
“The service is good and the drinks are tasty,” said Josie Castillo, who drove through for a Strawberry Colada. “I’m just waiting for one to open where I live.” (Margarita lovers will be happy to know that Beer ’N All will soon be adding ice-cream-based margaritas to their already extensive drink menu).
The last 10 percent of customers, Bergenholtz says, are families, who usually make a quick stop for a soda or bag of chips for the kids. Of course, maybe Dad is using convenience as a cover for his true intentions.
“We come here for the, um, the fast service,” Johnny Correa said sardonically as he grinned at his wife sitting beside him, his two kids in the backseat.
“He better say ‘fast service,’” his wife said. “He’s not allowed to come here unless I’m with him. I don’t want his eyes to start wandering.”
Playing the role of attractive nuisance is 20-year-old Kate Lewis, who has been working at Beer ’N All for the past four months. A junior speech-communications major at Trinity University, Lewis said working in a non-office environment suits her and the money is good (employees are paid $10 an hour plus tips).
“It’s out in the sun and it’s fun,” said Lewis, adding that she makes more money than one of her roommates who works for the DA’s office. “It’s funny watching all the guys driving by and have to take doubletakes. At first they drive by and might not notice. Then they’re like, ‘Whoa! Hot chicks!’”
So, what does it take to become a Beer ’N All girl, you ask?
“You have to be 18, friendly, and attractive,” said Evis Sanchez, “mastermind of operations.” “You have to be able to fit in `about a dozen` uniforms.”
“`The uniforms` come in small and medium,” said Bergenholtz.
“We have large,” Sanchez corrects.
“We do?” Bergenholtz asks, surprised.
“We have some,” Sanchez replies. “Not for girls that are big big. But for some that, you know, have big `hips`.”