Before we get down to our very, very important business of figuring out just what the hell is up with Sally’s Happy Hut, I think a brief re-introduction is in order, in the form of a handy FAQ:
Who, or what, are the Scientists?
We are a group of intrepid, thirsty explorers dedicated to expanding the field of alcohol-related research. Once a month, we use our expert knowledge of all things imbibable to educate you, the layperson, on interesting places to get shitfaced.
Are you guys actual scientists?
Um, no … but we’ve got a few architects, and I used to read Zoobooks. It works out.
Anyway, back to Sally’s Happy Hut. True to its name, Sally’s does appear to be rather hut-like: square, cozy, and seemingly built out of adobe (unlike that total poser, Pizza Hut). It’s the “happy” part we had trouble finding, as the bar was mostly empty on the Thursday night we visited. Our research team more than doubled the number of other people in the bar, including what appeared to be a nine-year-old girl. (Fun Science Fact #891: In Texas, minors are allowed in bars if they’re with their parents. For the record, none of us saw her drink anything. Also, she could have had Benjamin Button disease and really been 68 years old.) Bartender Sarah Rosas, daughter of the titular Sally, said that we basically just missed everybody: most people stop in for the ultra-cheap happy hour from 6-8 p.m. ($1.75 domestics) and free pool on Mondays. Fair enough, but the vibe was definitely starting to go south after the first round of Lone Stars and Miller Lites. “This place is not making me very happy,” Dr. Shaver said, looking around the room.
The Happy Hut’s walls are mostly bare, decorated with handmade Dallas Cowboys art, old U.S. armed forces flags, and standard neon beer signs. Typical bar snacks and what looked like a jar of pickled eggs lived behind the bar. A disco ball hung over the dance floor, which was sandwiched between a few small tables and a lonely pool table. “If we converted our garage into a bar, this is what it would feel like,” said Dr. Adams. “We’d cut a hole in the wall for an AC unit, and use that foamy stuff to seal it up.”
Dr. Gonzalez concurred, as it seemed like that’s exactly what the bar did to install their air conditioner. One of the two jukeboxes in the bar spat out increasingly random tracks, with one sequence that included Garth Brooks, Rihanna, bachata band Aventura, and finally Radiohead’s “Creep.” “That’s, like, the most depressing song ever,” Dr. Skelton said. My personal choice would be “Bein’ Green,” but the fact remained: happiness had taken another hit.
But that was nothing compared to the uncomfortable silence that hung in the air when the jukebox abruptly stopped, and we noticed we were one of only two occupied tables in the place. Sarah dutifully kept bringing us longnecks, but there didn’t seem much point in hanging around after the third or forth round. That evening, cheap drinks alone couldn’t make up for a lack of atmosphere, varied beer selection, or good music, so we got up to leave looking for a last-minute silver lining.
“From now on, I think will refer to my vagina as ‘the Happy Hut,’” said Dr. Adams, pushing her chair in. Well, at least somebody got something out of it. •
The Scientists is a semi-anonymous drinking club on a mission to test San Antonio’s best/worst/weirdest bars and clubs. We take our mission very, very seriously.
Sally’s Happy Hut
1902 West Ave.
Vibe: Cozy but drab — this place is just the basics: Roof, walls, and cheap beer (which is even cheaper during happy hour).
Best Use: Hiding from the outside world, or sharpening your pool shark abilities for free on Mondays.
Prices: Mon: $1.50 domestics, Tue: $1 domestics, Sat: $2 imports, 6-8pm happy hour Tue-Fri, $1.75 domestics