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The Bar Tab



VFW Post 76
10 10th Street
4pm-2am daily
As the neon sign above the entrance says, the VFW Post 76 is the oldest post in Texas. And unlike almost all other VFW posts, the bar at Post 76 is open to non-veterans, as in no man (or woman) gets left behind.

Situated in a remote spot downtown at 10th Street and Avenue B, Post 76 has the San Antonio River to one side and a bunch of old car dealerships and warehouses to the other. But unlike many of the warehouses, which are in constant speculation for some sort of condo/loft revitalization, there is no worry of the Post going anywhere — the veterans own the building and are happy to keep the place where it is (with some renovations here and there of course).

The building is an architectural specimen. Designed by legendary San Antonio architect Atlee Ayers, the Victorian-style Post is worth visiting just to observe the building. A friend and I went on Saturday night to check it out. Though we had been told the Post was open to non-veterans, we felt a little uncertain as we walked up to the place. We rightly guessed the location of the bar entrance — on the right side of the portch — and tried to act like we knew what we were doing. As we walked inside, our concern immediately vanished.  There was no one there. Evidently, everyone was out watching the De La Hoya fight.

In this emptiness, how fitting that the bartender told us stories (that’s right) of how the building is haunted by a small girl, perhaps the daughter of the original owner. In addition to ghost stories, we were given an amazing tour of almost the entire three-story mansion.

The sense of history, fraternal brotherhood, and architectural curiosity evokes a likeness to Beethoven’s Maennerchor in King William. Whereas the latter serves high-end German beer, the most expensive beer at Post 76 is a Dos Equis at $2. At the moment they are running a special whereby you can order 8 Pearl Lights for $10. It’s ludicrous good.

The Post isn’t rambunctious but there’s something quietly awesome about the place. The members are happy for people to join them. If the neighborhood eventually changes with lofts nearby and the River Walk extending towards Pearl Brewery, the Post will be in a great spot.

— Mark Jones

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