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Iconic San Antonio train depot transforms into glamorous 1900s-era nightclub

Iconic San Antonio train depot transforms into glamorous new nightclub

1902 exterior
The Espee has been transformed into a world-class nightclub. Courtesy of 1902 Nightclub
1902 Nightclub
At 1902 Nightclub, guests are immersed in a variety of experiences in the gorgeous, historic space. Courtesy of 1902 Nightclub
1902 Nightclub
A wide range of performers dazzle guests at 1902. Photo by Kenneth Cooper
1902 exterior
1902 Nightclub
1902 Nightclub

San Antonio’s long-loved historic crown jewel formerly known as the “Building of 1,000 Lights” is once again illuminating the city, this time taking on the form of a world-class entertainment venue destined to dramatically alter the local nightlife scene.

The former Sunset Station Train Depot — located at 1174 E. Commerce St. in the St. Paul Square district on San Antonio’s Near East Side — has been painstakingly transformed into 1902 Nightclub, a sophisticated and dazzling hot spot that will host a variety of unique and immersive experiences.

The early 20th century transportation hub, later revamped as entertainment complex The Espee, has undergone another metamorphosis, one that embraces the building’s prized antiquity while setting the stage for the most debonair of present-day establishments.

Aiming to bridge the city’s rich cultural history with contemporary aesthetics and unparalleled service, 1902 owners Moris Saide, Tomás Vidal, and Manoli Zacharias — along with lead architect Luis Miguel Martinez — made great efforts to preserve the building’s treasured architecture, gently rehabilitating any threadbare areas and enhancing the integrity of the original structure by adding complementing modern embellishments in the massive 10,000-square-foot space.

For instance, striking elements that have long been intrinsic to the historic Spanish Mission Revival-style depot designed by celebrated architect Daniel J. Patterson, like stained-glass windows and banisters, remain, continuing to add an elegance to the venue, along with its grand staircase, beautiful vaulted ceilings, and vintage furniture, all of which evoke the feel of the early 1900s.

While the setting and ambiance are sumptuously inviting, it is the nightclub’s continuously varying entertainment — from DJs, musicians, dancers, artistic performers, even Grammy Award-nominated EMD artist Steve Aoki — that draws local party seekers to 1902, which officially opened in late November.

In fact, despite the venue’s mere weeks in business (and its palatial size), it’s not uncommon for the club’s affairs to sell out. After all, serving up a gorgeous, historically significant venue that features top-of-the-line entertainment, sophisticated libations and a “high-end mixology” program — including bottle service — as well as plenty of room to dance the night away certainly appeals to many San Antonians.

And given that 1902 is no average nightclub, guests are encouraged to dress accordingly (a dress code is strictly enforced) and to consider making table reservations. Private events and valet service are also available.

Next up, the new venue will host its inaugural New Year’s Eve party on Friday, December 31 from 9 pm-2 am in what’s sure to be a smashing success of a 2022 welcoming celebration. Guests can make table reservations for the event now.

“1902 Nightclub is a labor of love for myself and our partners,” says general manager Victor Valenzuela. “Guests will experience a venue unlike any other. … The atmosphere, drinks, and service will rival any nightclub in any city around the world. We have meticulously preserved the history of the train depot while pushing it forward. It’s an honor to bring it back and welcome guests.”