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2013-08-15

Next incarnation of venerable Cabaret Dance Hall

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

At last, renovation has begun on Bandera's iconic The Cabaret Dance Hall.

Purchased in 2008 by Steve Ball, owner of The Mansion in Bandera, after its rejuvenation, the Cabaret will become a state-of-the-art entertainment venue, available for rent for special events, according to reports. Weddings, theatrical performances, concerts, fundraisers and conferences are among the events expected to utilize the facility.
Although locals were clearly upset with what they considered the demolition of the landmark, most of the building was completely rotted and unsalvageable. Although work crews will attempt to save as much of the dance floor as possible, it will be, reports suggest, a much smaller version.
When renovations are completed, the Cabaret will boast a fully equipped kitchen and bar facility. If all goes according to plans, patios will be created along Oak Street. Additionally, like many old time dance halls, a transmogrified Cabaret will be capable of being an open air venue or closed off during winter and summer months. It will also - thankfully - include air conditioning.
Of course, the handsome neon cowboy will remain as will the venerable institution's name. The venue will also include historical information about The Cabaret Dance Hall.
Built in 1936, the once thriving honky-tonk had fallen on hard times in the last couple of years as it passed from owner to owner. Sprawling over two city lots, the cavernous 12,800-square foot building had earned a reputation as a "money pit" that ultimately dashed the big dreams and even bigger hopes of each successive proprietor.
Since 2006, Bandera's landmark watering hole has been vacant; the eager neon buckaroo dark; his twirling lasso stilled.
However, the downward spiral has been halted at last. Work on the massive renovation is expected to continue for four-six months. Sid Gibson is in charge of the renovations.
Look for more details on the transformation of Bandera's landmark dance hall as they become available. Yee-haw!


Pictured: Top - Photo by Judith Pannebaker
Due to unsafe conditions, not a lot of the original 1936 structure could be saved for repurposing.

Bottom - Photo by James Henry Frazier
Workers took the Cabaret sign down and hauled it into the building Saturday, August 10. The important dance hall drew lots of people to Bandera. However, it's been dark since 2006.