September has come and gone in a flicker of an eye. With the end of this month comes the culminating conclusion to our Dive Bar Series of Dishin’ It. Well, at least for 2017...maybe. This past week we found ourselves in our friendly, neighboring city of Edinburg and hit up two of the most iconic dive bars in the area. However, we did add a twist to this week's Dive Bar review by enjoying a little “Satur-Day Drinking” to the mix.
Set in the old (now commonly referred to as “vintage/hipster”) Echo Hotel and Conference Center, the Tropicana Lounge was our first stop. We were greeted by a friendly, somewhat advanced in years, bartender by the name of Noe, aka “The Hippie” as he was called by his usual suspects. and proceeded to order our classic vodka sodas with fresh lime.
Trisha: Wow! Just in smelling this, I don't think there's any soda in this vodka.
Gaby: It IS called “happy hour”. (wink)
Our bartender, Noe, chimed in with,“And I am happy too!”, before jumping into the detailed telling of his stories about his five-year stint as a Rock and Roll DJ in Germany. Even though there wasn't a Touchtunes machine, Noe turned out to be entertaining enough that we did not need one.
Trisha: Gaby was immediately floored as she found a comrade who she could speak German with. Here we go again. (lol)
Gaby: I wouldn't say floored. It was more like impressed. Out of all the bars and eateries we have visited throughout the year, this is the one place where I find “my people”.
Trisha: Yup, floored.
Talking about floors, we’ll let the retro carpet slide, but the long, wooden bar was charming. On the opposite side of the bar, two friendly, regular bar patrons gabbed about the good ol’ days as the collegiate football games played on the TV screen and we swooned, that might be an understatement, over Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury.
While we were happy to stay for a few more rounds and take advantage of the daily Happy Hour offering $2.50 domestic beer and $3.75 wells, duty called and we were off to Danny’s Sport Bar & Grill on East University Drive.
*FYI- Outside food is not allowed when the hotel restaurant is open.
After forging ahead to arrive at the second destination in our day drinking adventure, we bravely walked into the bar, basically five slabs of concrete (4 walls and the floor) and one window covered with blinds. Everyone’s faces turned towards the door, stared long enough to satisfy their own curiosity, and then went back to their regularly scheduled business.
Feeling like total outsiders, as has typically been the case this month, we walked towards the bar and, within minutes, Danny himself came up to us, introduced himself, gave us a genuine and welcoming smile, along with a couple of solid, affirming handshakes and said, “Hi, I’m Danny. Welcome and so happy to see you here!”
We were taken aback and shocked with this hospitable behavior that seemed so out of the norm in comparison to an experience we had just had a few weeks ago in Mission, Texas, during the second stop of that evening.
Gaby: On one side of the bar hung a cork board that read “Good Friends, Good Memories” with photos of regulars and Danny. Our initial, positive experience made us want to be up on that board!
Trisha: Don’t forget the legit purse hooks at the bar and high top island. We hit the dive bar jackpot!
Word of advice, Danny’s does not have liquor, but they do allow you to bring in your own bottle. Score! Domestic beers, wine and house margaritas are always on the menu, along with a small, yet yummy, bar menu. You can can choose a mixed appetizer basket, fried mushrooms, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, or go for some hamburgers and flautas, all for less than $8. Also, don’t forget to get a basket of their delicious wings (mild, Buffalo or Lemon Pepper flavor)..
We ordered a house Margarita while we waited for our food to arrive. Not ten minutes later Danny pops out of the back and comes to us and exclaims, “I am so sorry it has taken so long. Please have another margarita on the house,” and he placed an empty upside down cup in front of us. This was the second time this had happened to us that day.
Trisha: Danny, what does this little red cup mean? “This means beer on ice. You may not be ready for the next drink, but it'll be ready for you.”
Gaby: Ooooh, it's the Language of Cups! You learn something new each day.
Danny’s Sports Bar & Grill has been open for 11 years. You can thank “Mrs. Danny’s Sports Bar & Grill” for this gem. After a serious talk with her husband, Danny, he decided to take a risk and “[not] work for somebody else if [he] could have his own place!”
We were encouraged to stay for the weekly Saturday night karaoke from 9:00 PM to 2:00 PM and, once again, although so VERY tempted to stay, we were ready to head home for the evening.
Danny’s offers weekly pool tournaments and FREE BBQ during Dallas Cowboys games. The cost to enter the pool tournaments is $10. Also, there’s FREE pool on Mondays with daily beer specials including $2.25 domestic beers and $2.75 imports from 2:00 PM - 7:00 PM. After 7:00 PM, there’s $2.75 domestics and $3.00 imports. The beer buckets run at a cost from $16 for domestics to $17 for imports. Don’t forget Ladies Nights Wednesdays for $2 domestic beers.
As mentioned, the Tropicana Lounge is inside the Echo Hotel and Conference Center, more specifically located at 1903 S Closner Blvd, Edinburg, TX 78539. Call ahead to (956) 383-3823 or visit during their regular business hours, Mon-Fri from 4:00PM - 2:00AM and Sat-Sun from noon-2:00 AM. Follow them on Facebook too.
For the fun at Danny’s Sports Bar & Grill, stop by 1202 E University Dr., Edinburg, Texas, open daily (Sun-Mon) from 2:00 PM - 12:00 AM, or call Danny at (956) 316-1332. You can also follow them on Facebook.
Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors and Watts is the communications director for Visit McAllen. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on various locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley.