Gloria’s

Gloria’s is a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants from Dallas/Forth Worth down to San Antonio. Every Saturday night in Austin they have a live salsa band.  I’ve never eaten there, but the bar service is pretty good – and decently priced before 10 p.m.  when the prices go up.  Before 10, there’s also no cover and it’s 21+ after 9 or so.  (But if you get in before those cut off times, they won’t ID and you don’t have to pay the cover to get back in.)  The band starts at 11 p.m., and it’s a pretty good band.  They play a decent mix of salsa, cha-cha,  and merengue; I’m not sure I’ve heard a bachata song there.  I’ve only been there twice, though.)  I went last Saturday with a small group.  There was a large crowd the first time I went, but this time it was a smaller crowd – maybe because so many people were out of time for Labor Day? It’s definitely a locals’ spot! There’s also a DJ who plays club music in between sets for the band, which is why Gloria’s is way more fun with a big group to stake out a spot with on the dance floor!  The venue itself is the nicest of all the places I go to, with a small outdoor patio with seating and a big waterfall feature behind the bar – I love water features.  They move all the tables out of the center of the floor and there’s a small stage for the band and seating along the back wall, which is actually a curtained window.  The first time I went, it was quite packed on the dance floor, but this time there was plenty of room to dance around.  I guess it’s hit and miss there! It’s probably the loudest place I go to as well – my ears were ringing a little bit after I left, though it cleared up by the time I got home.  They don’t have free water – you have to buy a bottle.  They don’t check bags, though, so you could take your own water in, no problem.  It’s pretty fun, parking’s not bad, and it’s a nice variety of music.  Though if club music and atmosphere isn’t your thing, I wouldn’t bother with this place!