Located off Hunter Road, the tavern was recognized in 2013 as a historic landmark by the Texas Historical Commission.
The owners of Riley’s Tavern, husband and wife Joel and Angie Hofmann, purchased it in 2004 because of their interest in supporting musicians and preserving the historic charm of the building.
Joel is also a musician and plays at the tavern about once a month. He books Americana, classic country, blues and rockabilly acts for the tavern. Some of the notable musicians that have performed at Riley’s Tavern include Billy Joe Shaver, Johnny Bush and Augie Meyers, among countless others.
“I figured owning a music venue and working with other musicians and doing this would be a way to actually make a living while being involved in the music business,” Joel said.
He said the tavern is a welcoming place for people to visit and listen to good live music.
“Because we’re less than 10 minutes between each [San Marcos and New Braunfels], it’s not as far as it seems,” Joel said. “Whether you recognize the band name or not, it’s going to be good music that’s been vetted by other musicians.”
Riley’s Tavern has a beer garden, pool tables, shuffleboard, indoor and outdoor stages, and cottages to rent. The walls are decorated with signs dating back to the 1930s alongside the signatures and messages left behind by musicians and patrons of the bar. Food trucks and vendors also set up shop at Riley’s Tavern.
“We’ve kept it like it is for the most part. There were still things in here from the 1940s and 1950s on the wall all the way up until probably last week; we hung something new on the wall,” Joel said. “We don’t try to make it too fancy, although we keep it really clean compared to a lot of other bars. We don’t try to make it look like what it isn’t or try to modernize or change it.”
First in line
Riley’s Tavern resides in a space originally built in 1895 that served as a saloon and residential home before becoming the historic business it is today.
Shortly after Texans voted to repeal prohibition, J.C. Riley and his uncle drove a Model T to the state Capitol in Austin to secure the first license to serve beer issued in the state of Texas—Number 00001.
At midnight Sept. 14, 1933, 3.2% beer could be sold in Comal County, and Riley ran his business until he died in 1992, according to the Texas Historical Commission.
8894 FM 1102, New Braunfels 512-392-3132 • www.rileystavern.com
Hours: Sun.-Fri. 1 p.m.-midnight, Sat. 1 p.m.-1 a.m.