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Former Historic Houston Dance Hall Now Texas' Largest Gay Bar

Justin Bryan

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This is from a Press Release today about the old Esquire Ballroom on Hempstead Hwy...

Former Historic Houston Dance Hall Restored and Becomes Texas' Largest LGBT Country and Western Venue


HOUSTON - The once thriving ballroom and concert venue known as the Esquire Ballroom is now Neon Boots Dancehall and Saloon. Built in 1955 by Raymond Proske, the Esquire was home to many well known act of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Most notable is Willie Nelson, where he was offered a job by house performer Larry Butler after Nelson asked him to listen to a few songs he had wrote including one called "Crazy." Nelson, desperate for money offered the songs for $10 each. Butler knowing that these songs were "too good" instead offered Nelson a $50 loan and job performing with his band. One night during his commute from Pasadena to The Esquire, Nelson wrote the song "Night Life" about working at the bar.

Another well know performer was Patsy Cline, in fact the Broadway musical "Always...Patsy Cline" takes part in the historical bar when she had a chance encounter with a fan and it chronicles her evening with the fan when Cline fears she may not be able to fill the ballroom with a large crowd. Many other infamous acts performed at the club including, George Jones, Charlie Pride, Jim Reeves and many more. Neon Boots has set aside a separate bar dedicated to this history called the Esquire Room. The room showcases various performers and Esquire memorabilia.

Since the Esquire closed in 1995, it has been several other ventures and bars that have come and gone. The new owners have completely restored the building and upgraded its features. The new dancehall will feature a huge dance floor and performance stage, six bar stations, table service, expansive outdoor area with deck and patio. The owners also anticipate installing a mechanical bull, sand volleyball court and horse shoes for outside in the yard.

Neon Boots is proudly Gay owned and operated and will serve a special niche in the Houston LGBT community that was lost after the Brazos River Bottom in Midtown shut its doors after 30 years. "When the BRB closed down, everyone was without a place to go and all of our friends and BRB family were without a place to meet and have fun together," says Jim Moore, a partner in Neon Boots. "There was definitely a void in our lives. Soon after there was a Facebook page that was called Orphans of the BRB."

Boots will be the largest Gay bar in Houston at over 10,000 square feet, the bar is also the largest gar bar of its genre in Texas. A far cry from the Brazos River Bottom. Debbie Diane, another partner, says "the goal isn't to recreate the BRB, but rather get our country and western dance-friends reunited back in a fitting new home." The club hopes to be a destination bar is advertising in Dallas, Austin and New Orleans. 

Neon Boots will have its Grand Opening Weekend August 22 through 25 with Saturday the 24th expected to be the big night. This Thursday, August 15 at 7PM Neon Boots will host a private party by invitation only until 11PM. All members of the media are invited as well, just show your media credentials at the door and take a look around. 


About RRJJJD, Limited Liability Company d/b/a Neon Boots: Neon Boots is Texas' largest LGBT country and western dance hall, bar and concert venue. Neon Boots strives to serve a niche in the Houston LGBT by providing a safe and fun atmosphere for everyone interested in country and western music, dance and lifestyle. While Neon Boots is Gay owned and operated, we welcome all people regardless of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or beliefs. When visiting Neon Boots please respect other peoples lifestyles and as always drink responsibly.


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