Neon Boots, Texas' Biggest Country LGBT Bar, is Open for Business
By the time we made it onto the dance floor, I'd found out she is one of six partners who helped bring Neon Boots to life. And though I apologized for my two left feet, she gently reassured me that I'm not as bad as I think I am, and with a few dance lessons on Thursday evenings, I'd be ready to tear up the dance floor.
In addition to Diane, Jim Daily, Rodney Myers, Jim Moore, Ron McIeroy and Jim Gerhold operate Neon Boots, with the help of General Manager, Robert Harwood.
As the story goes, all six partners met at Brazos River Bottom - Houston's original LGBT country bar. But when the bar closed its doors earlier this year after 35 years, each of the six partners was looking to open another country bar for their community, and after reconnecting through Facebook, found a way to make their vision come to life.
And as I watch Diane's eyes light up as she line dances to Garth Brooks, it's apparent that Neon Boots is a true labor of love.
"We're filling a niche," said Galloway, as he motions to the bar. "There are no other country western bars for the gay community, and I don't know if there could be a better place for this."
Of course, he has a point, and much of it was made on Saturday evening.
For all of Houston's progression, most gay businesses seem to stay within the confines of Montrose. But Galloway says that's a thing of the past.
"We have a lot of clients coming up to us, thanking us for opening a bar that's more local to them," said Galloway. "Montrose has become a little yuppie, and not everyone can afford to live there, so people are starting to move more northwest to these up and coming neighborhoods."
Because it's situated in the middle of Oak Forest, Timbergrove and Spring Branch, Neon Boots managed to pull in customers of all ages, who came from all over town and all different walks of life for its four-day opening weekend. And though it's considered a gay bar, the staff at Neon Boots stresses that it is "straight friendly," and assures patrons that all will be served with the same level of respect and appreciation.
"I'd say about 40 percent of our clientele was straight this weekend," said Galloway. "And most were wonderful, but we did have a few that didn't realize what they were walking in to."
Which is why preconceived notions should be left at home.