One thing that has been certain in Texas from the beginning is a place a Texan could go and get a strong drink.  Taverns, Saloons, Bars, Speakeasies.   They have all been a part of Texas History.

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Over the years, due to prohibition being passed and then repealed, many of the original taverns, saloons, speakeasies, and bars did not survive. However, one such establishment has stood the test of time and can be found in the small town of Hunter, Texas, situated between New Braunfels and San Marcos.

Standing in Hunter, Texas is a tavern.

Riley's Tavern

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Riley's Tavern has a long rich history.  But before we get to Riley's history, we have to look at the history before Riley's became Riley's.

Hunter, Texas was a town that sprung up in the 1800s as a large cotton industry town.  The town also served as a stagecoach route from New Braunfels to San Marcos and is considered a part of the El Camino Real National Historic Trail.

In those times, Hunter, Texas was home to the Galloways, a saloon where people would gather to drink and socialize.  Once the cotton industry declined, the depression hit and prohibition happened, Galloways also disappeared, but it really didn't.

The minute Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the saloon was alive again.  However, it no longer stood as Galloways it became Riley's Tavern, but you'll find the history of Galloways nestled within the walls.   In August of 1933, once Prohibition was repealed in Texas, 17-year-old J.C. Riley (along with his uncle, you know, he was only 17) was the first in line at the State Capitol Building in Austin to get a liquor license and was issued the first license 00001.   Since 1933 Riley's has been open and serving drinks to Texans for over 91 years.

Riley's Tavern received a Texas Historical Marker in 2013, but the history of this Tavern is long and deep.

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The inscription reads:

Rileys Tavern, Hunter's oldest business, is housed in a circa 1895 building that was the Galloway Saloon and later home to the Bernardino Sanchez family. In 1933, Texas was the 23rd state to vote for the repeal of Prohibition. Shortly thereafter, J.C. Riley and his uncle drove a Model T to the steps of the state capitol in Austin to obtain the first license issued in Texas number 00001. At the stroke of midnight on Sep. 14, 1933, 3.2% beer could be sold and Comal County had sufficient stock available to meet the demand. Riley operated the business until his death in 1992. His tavern, midway between Austin and San Antonio, has been a popular destination for decades of travelers, with many from neighboring dry counties.

The next time you are in the San Antonio, New Braunfels, Austin, or San Marcos area, you should hop onto FM 1102 off of I-35 and stop to drink at Riley's Tavern.

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