Alamo Ice House BBQ & Brew
802 N. Alamo St., San Antonio, Texas 78215
210-332-3344 / www.alamoicehouse.com
By Tara Machen
(LSM Jan/Feb 2015/vol 8 – issue 1)
In case you’ve been living under a river rock and missed the news, Texas songwriter and roadhouse rabble-rouser Charlie Robi- son is the proud new co-owner of his very own bar. But the Alamo Ice House BBQ & Brew, which the Bandera-reared “Barlight” and “My Hometown” singer and three friends opened in September, is more than just another watering hole: it’s the kind of sprawling, family-friendly outdoor music venue typically seen only in the Texas Hill Country, conveniently located right in the heart of San Antonio.
Robison’s business partners in prime music and BBQ include award-winning grill master (and Alamo City native) Jaime Gonzales, seasoned restaurant operations manager Jeff Fuchs, and veteran Major League Baseball pitcher (and University of Texas star) Brooks Kieschnik. With so much experience (and success) in their respec- tive fields, it’s no surprise that their joint venture is such a home run. From the first night they opened the doors, the joint’s had the welcoming vibe of a much-loved neighborhood hangout already steeped in decades of good times — and that was before they even got a chance break in the outdoor stage, given that a heavy rainstorm forced all of the grand-opening revelry (including live music sets by Pauline Reese and Robison) inside. Not that anybody minded the tight quarters, though, what with the all the ice-cold beer being handed out by hosts Robison and Kieschnik themselves (well, that night at least!), fresh- from-the-pit BBQ and all the flat-screen TVs (tuned to sports, naturally) that you’d ex- pect in a bar not only located smack in the middle of the home of the World Chamipion San Antonio Spurs, but co-owned by a three-time All Americana and two-time Dick Howser winner.
Still, when it’s not pouring rain, outside is where it’s really at. Nestled in a luminous spot in the rapidly redeveloping South Broadway (aka “SoBro”) area on the north- ern edge of downtown, Alamo Ice House boasts a spacious back patio with plenty of umbrella-covered picnic tables, perfect for enjoying evenings and afternoons with friends and family over beverages (beer, wine, soft drinks and tea) and tasty offer- ings from the uncomplicated menu selec- tion. The brisket tacos are generous and tender, with a savory but not-oversaturated sauce, and pair nicely with the kitchen’s particularly unique and delicious coleslaw, bright with lime and crisp with freshness. You can also order your tacos with pulled pork, chicken, or sausage, or opt instead for a sandwich served on a toasted bun and topped with slaw. Other sides include fries, beans, and potato salad, and “kiddos” can order chicken fingers and fries for under $5 — that is if you can lure them away from the washer-pitching pits.
And then, of course, there’s the music. The outdoor stage — which faces a large lawn with ample room for dancing, kicking back in one of the many Adirondack-style chairs or even spreading out on your own blanket — is just the right size for both intimate solo acoustic performances and full band shows, be they by Mr. Life of the Party himself or other local and regional favorites like Brandon Jenkins, Bri Bagwell, the Pear Ratz, Buster Jiggs, and K. Phillips and the Concho Pearls. And if you hap- pen to think that stage and lawn looks like the perfect venue spot to host a birthday party, rehearsal dinner, family reunion or other private celebration, Robison and his partners are happy to work something out with you for a small reservation fee and enough notice to find an open date; they even offer a variety of different party pack- ages to choose from right on the Alamo Ice House’s website.
So, if you’re into live Texas music, cold Texas beer, hot Texas BBQ, championship Texas sports, or even just the idea of chill- ing Luckenbach, Texas-style mere minutes away the most famous historical landmark in the whole Lone Star State … do yourself a favor and remember Alamo Ice House. And if you’re not into any of those things, well … try Delaware.