Saturday, December 08, 2007

Gentrification at the Neighborhood Bars

Last week my sisters were angels and they took my kids for me. One sister took them for a couple of hours while I went to a reunion planning meeting. The other sister then offered to take them overnight so me and hubby could have some quality time. It was VERY NICE of them!!

So Rey and I went to a restaurant down the street that we really like. I had already had dinner at my meeting, but I had another margarita while he ate dinner. When he finished eating and we had listened to the mariachis, we just sat there looking at each other. It was funny. We are both such social creatures that we were craving the company of others too. So Rey said, "I'll fix that," and he calls the king and queen party animals, his parents.

It turns out that they are at the neighborhood bar down the street from our house. The same place I met them for the first time 12 years ago. That was the same night I learned what a "set-up" was. This is the kind of place where they play pool and darts and you're allowed to bring your own bottle of liquor. They only sell beer. (You have to understand my surprise- I grew up in a very conservative religious home.)

They go there at least once a month with a group of friends who they've been going there with for 20 years or more. So, we go meet up with them and we had a really nice time. I danced with Rey's dad, Rey danced with his mom and Rey and I danced a couple of songs too. It was fun! That's the thing about Rey's parents. You are always guaranteed a good time when they are around.

The funny part about the night was what Rey and I saw (apart from the Mexican Elvis wannabe, complete with long sideburns and pink tinted sunglasses) a table of non-Hispanic people. YES! At the neighborhood corner bar. The kind of place that Hispanics like Rey's parents, older multi-generation Hispanics, have been patronizing for over 20 years.

These small neighborhood bars in the Hispanic parts of town have always had the same crowd visiting. Many of the people live in the neighborhood, or like Rey's parents and their friends, used to live in the neighborhood. They drive across town from near Missouri City, Katy and other suburbs, just to visit their old bar. And now as the demographics of our inner loop neighborhoods are changing so is the clientele.

At the end of the night we saw these new patrons standing by the door looking very pleased, with their tamales in hand. A lady comes by around 1:30 and sells some great tamales. I know because my mother-in-law buys them.

"Look," Rey said, "they just came for the tamales. Now that they have them they're going home." I cracked up.

I wondered if now that our traditionally Hispanic neighborhoods are changing, and more non-Hispanics are moving into their 3 story townhomes, if our bars are going to be changing too. It seems so.

I imagined them telling all their friends about the fun little bar they found and the wonderful tamales they bought from a lady who goes to the bar specifically to sell them. I could imagine their friends saying, "REALLY??"

Even the bars in the barrio are experiencing gentrification.

1 comment:

foxyroxy said...

this is grat we should make time to spend with our hubbys so we can get the fire going keep writting.