If you happen to show up at Boneshakers around 8:30 p.m. on a Sunday night, you’ll see a sign that rivals “Gone fishing.”
“Beer, bands, and bicycles” is the mantra of this new beer bar and music venue — a place that’s already being called “home” by alternative types, hipsters, cyclists, and a random array of folks who couldn’t resist the David Lynch-ian allure of green flood lights against a darkening sky.
“Boneshaker” is a nickname for one of the earliest bikes with pedals. With iron tires, wooden wheels, and a wrought-iron frame, these front-wheel-drive velocipedes provided painfully uncomfortable rides.
Current staffer Callie Enlow suggested Boneshakers deserved to be Bar Tabbed, citing several intriguing elements that won her over on her first visit: cool art on the walls, a laid-back ambience, and, um, free beer. By the time you read this, Boneshakers’ mastermind John Paul (or J.P.) Perez will likely be holding a beer license. But until then, folks 21 and up can enjoy a complimentary draft (think art opening meets keg party with a tip jar for a worthy cause) while supplies last.
The night I decided to take Callie’s advice, I asked a friend who’d been to Boneshakers several times how to get there by car. This threw him for a loop. After thinking for a while, he finally gave up and said, “You should really approach it from the Mission Hike and Bike Trail.” Just look for the green lights.”
Arriving at Boneshakers (in a truck), I was taken aback by the size of the crowd. A “San Anto Showcase” organized by Laura Tomorrow was in full swing, and people were crowded around tables drinking beer from plastic cups. An aerosol mural (by artist Justin French) depicting the bar’s mascot in swirls of color greeted me at the front door. Inside, the band Pussyfoot played to a crowd who seemed amused when songs were restarted for second (and even third) chances at getting the lyrics right. The band’s CDs were packaged in crafty, homemade felt bags, and a giant chalkboard behind the stage was lovingly decorated (by Kale Muniz) with the names of all the DJs on the bill with Pussyfoot. To call it underground, DIY, unpredictable fun would be stating the obvious.
A few days later, I returned to chat with J.P. and the rest of the Boneshakers crew: “Nars” Muniz (Boneshakers’ honorary treasurer), and Xavier Hernandez and Matt Perez (both students majoring in entrepreneurship). Sitting down at a picnic table facing the river, I asked J.P. how he saw Boneshakers developing. “Our focus with music, art, and even beer is not so commercial. We want originality, and we want to give artists a chance to ‘come up,’ and give cyclists a bar they can call home,” he said.
About this time, Matt (who’s also the resident fix-it guy) had flipped a bike over to replace a tube. “We take the serious repairs over to our friend J.R. at S.A. Cycles, but we fix a lot of flats — even road tires — sometimes up until 2 a.m.,” J.P. said, watching his nephew work. “You’re not going to find that anywhere else.”
Inside, Nars was serving everyone one last beer before they set out on the weekly Boneshakers Ride. Although this would’ve been an excellent opportunity to join a cool crew of kids on a tipsy ride to the Missions and beyond, I was bikeless. So I took a few parting photographs of the gang and one of the handwritten sign taped to the front door: “Went riding. Be back soon ” •
116 W. Mitchell
Vibe: Mission Reach oasis where beer, water, and bicycle tubes are served in a progressive, friendly environment.
Best use: The Boneshakers Ride (Sundays around 8pm) is an open ride followed by an outdoor film screening. In the near future, you’ll be able to ride the Mission Trail from Boneshakers all the way to Mission Espada. When you get thirsty, just look for the green lights.
Prices: Water and Gatorade: $1. Flat tire? Boneshaker’s can fix it for $6-$7.50. Bike rentals: 10am-8pm Monday-Saturday and 1pm-7pm Sunday; half-day: $15, all day: $25.