Spirits

Hangin’ Around Bracken Texas at the Hangin’ Tree Saloon

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The first time at Hangin’ Tree Saloon, you are going to wonder where you are (18424 2nd Street in Bracken, Texas) and maybe how come you haven’t seen this place before (it’s a small community two blocks from the Bexar county line). Now that you have established that, consider this saying: “Now that you’ve found Luckenbach, where the heck is Bracken?” And, now step through the double swing doors.

Sit inside or out

Photo: Facebook/Westside Roaming Skullz MC

The area was settled in 1849 and Big John’s Hangin’ Tree Saloon, as it is officially known, was built in 1915 as a two-lane, nine-pin bowling alley. Twice expanded past its original size, it was remodeled in 1956 and closed in 1978. Then in 1989, Big John Oaks turned the old bowling alley into a honky-tonk, likely naming it after a Marty Robbins song, and fashioned the bar from the former wooden lanes of the bowling alley. Where the bowling pins used to be, now sits the bandstand. Open seven days a week, starting at noon, about 175 patrons can get inside the Hangin’ Tree Saloon with a spillover porch in the front and a patio in the back.

There is something new every day of the week: Mondays are for drink specials, Tuesdays entertain karaoke from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Wednesdays have free pool 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., dart and pool leagues are on Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays have live music, and finally, there’s Sunday with a shuffleboard tournament at 1 p.m. Adult beverages are in the beer and wine category only but the bartenders are really good at their jobs. If you’ve been to Hangin’ Tree before but not in a while, note that credit cards are now accepted. The crowd is well mixed with regulars and local tourists, especially on the weekends. Wear your boots and bring a koozie!