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Corner Bars: A Treat for BOIs and Visitors Alike

Updated 1271 days ago

Some people dread the sound of that blasting alarm clock in the morning, screaming that it’s time to get up, get out and get your hustle on. But at the end of the day, Linda McBride does her part to help folks unwind.

McBride, you see, is the laid-back bartender at Albatross Bar at 815 21st St., a popular watering hole that caters to locals who need to wind down after a hard day’s work.

Here’s what she said.

"You might walk in here sometimes and it’s full, and there’s not one car out there. We have a lot of walk-ins, a lot of bikers and even doctors. It’s a very mixed crowd. If you want to go to a good neighborhood bar, this is it. We call it our five-star dive bar, and we’re very proud of it."

The Albatross is a prime example of what makes Galveston such a charming place to live. Hop in your car and drive just about anywhere on the island, and you’ll see funky little cool corner bars, just beckoning you to stop in.

And as well you should, says Mandy Webb, bartender at Crow's Southwest Cantina Bar and Grill at 2408 Strand in the island’s historic downtown district.

Here’s what she said:

"Crow’s is the only venue in Galveston that has live entertainment seven nights a week. We have karaoke, acoustic jams, and three open-mike jams a week. And we’ve got a whole restaurant in the back – and of course, the coolest bartender ever."

She speaks the truth. Music buff that I am, I’ve heard some of the best live music on the island at this cool nightclub.

“We’re very laid back and ‘Island-ee,’” Webb said. “We’re almost ‘Austin-ee,’ with a splash of biker.”

When it comes to island nightlight, there’s something for everyone. For a slice of that diversity, just step into Robert’s Lafitte bar at 2501 Ave. Q, a few blocks from the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier on the Seawall.

Craig, the bartender, explains the club’s draw:

“We’re the oldest gay bar in Texas owned by a single owner. “We opened 46 years ago last August. We cater to anybody and we accept any and all types – gay, straight, male, female, black or white – it doesn’t matter. Come on in and have some fun.”

Boredom is not part of the picture at Robert Lafitte’s, especially when drag queens grace the stage on Fridays and Saturday nights. Entertainers like Shanite Monroe, who took a break from a recent practice to chat with me.

“It’s home to everybody. It’s down to earth, everybody loves everybody and we’re one big family here,” said Monroe, the reigning “Ms. Possum Queen,” a title she won for her comedic talents on stage.

For a slice of Black Galveston, one of the coolest bars to hit is Club 68 at 3112 Market. There, BOI (Born on the Island) residents catch up on local gossip and snap their fingers to some hot R&B on the jukebox.

Islander JB Johnson shared why the club is so popular:

“If you love old-school R&B music, this is the place to hang out. The atmosphere is nice with a mature older crowd and the service is excellent. It feels like old times when you are able to see people you haven’t seen in years. RIP to the owner Eddie Jones, a kind man with a beautiful spirit. His legacy lives on through Club 68.”

So when you drive by interesting looking hole in the wall, do drop in. You’ll be surprised at what you might find.

Article written by Robert Stanton - Isle Guy