For entertainment, the most famous establishment in Bandera is Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar Saloon (308 Main St., 830/796-8826, open daily with live music Wed.–Sun.). Established in the 1930s, Arkey’s is a classic honkytonk with a sawdust-covered dance floor that’s experienced decades of scootin’ boots on its well-worn surface. The scene is more authentically Western than many of the nearby resort ranches, and the crowds (especially the veteran two-steppers) will give out-of-towners a true sense of country living. Arkey himself has been tending bar since the late ’60s, and he still occasionally takes the stage with his Blue Cowboys. Over the years, the saloon has hosted many high-profile guest performers, including Willie Nelson, Ernest Tubb, and Bruce and Charlie Robison.
Far less famous yet certainly entertaining in its own right is the Bandera Saloon (402 Main St., 830/796-3699, www.banderasaloon.com). Located among the restaurants and bustle of downtown, the saloon hosts live music on the deck overlooking Main Street every Thursday through Saturday. This is a good spot for dancing, drinking, and people watching, and if you happen to arrive on horseback, you’re in luck—tie up to the hitchin’ post out front, and you’ll receive an “I got a horse” discount the whole time you and your horse are there.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition