Second location for classic San Antonio hangout pedals into Hemisfair
It's a little strange to see a bar so steeped in San Antonio history duplicate itself. After all, a large part of the charm of the original Bombay Bicycle Club is its patina – the faded yearbook photos on the wall, the roughly carved initials on the booths, and the threadbare upholstery of its Victorian settees. But if anything, the second iteration of the Brackenridge Park area dive proves another well-worn idiom: Everything old is new again.
Bombay's long-awaited second location officially opened on October 12, ushering in a new era for the Alamo City classic. The concept originally debuted in 1973 after a change to Texas' allowed on-premise liquor sales for the first time since Prohibition. Bombay was one of the first local businesses to take advantage of the shift away from BYOB.
The nascent form of the business was not unlike that of the bar today, though notably, the earliest version did not include a kitchen. The 1880s Brunswick Bar was already installed as the focal point, lit by repurposed hotel lamps. Over time, the décor took on more layers as kitschy objects and mundane photos were added piece by piece.
The Hemisfair location tempers some of that chaos while still paying homage to some of the fern bar trappings of Bay's past. A sturdy bar still anchors the space, but contemporary touches like a moody banana leaf wallpaper and emerald velvet barstools play into the restaurant's world Instagram-indebted present. Most strikingly, the bar's parlor is surrounded by a grid of dozens of stained-glass panels.
Although the look has been modernized, the menu sticks to the tried-and-true. According to a rep, the Hemisfair spot serves the eatery's popular burgers, nachos, loaded tots and fries, and several salads. The full bar also shakes up a couple of Bombay classics, the black cherry margarita and spicy Devil Water.
Drawing on the success of the original's relatively recently added Oak Room, the new Bombay also offers al fresco dining. The new digs, however, are a far cry from the backyard feel of that patio. Instead, resort-style umbrellas canopy a deck shared with CommonWealth Coffeehouse & Bakery.
The opening of Bombay Bicycle Club adds to the fever pitch at the rapidly redeveloping Hemisfair. The Yanaguana Garden area already includes some of San Antonio's buzziest concepts, including Box Street All Day, Dough Pizzeria Napoletana, Re:Rooted 210 Urban Winery, and the newly opened Künstler Tap Haus. Still to come is Jerk Shack chef Nicola Blaque's third concept, Port Royal and Kusch Faire, an anticipated Sichuan-inspired project from the Dashi team.
"Hemisfair is the most exciting project in town — in the state, for that matter," said operating partner Bill Leighton via an earlier release. "Why wouldn't you want to join a group that measures their success by the volume of laughter in Yanaguana Garden?"
Guests can join in glee at 607 Hemisfair Blvd. from Sunday through Thursday, 11 am to 10 pm, and 11 am to 11 pm Friday and Saturday. According to the rep, the hours and menu will expand as the opening crew gets its bearings.