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Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon

  (Redirected from Esquire Ballroom)

Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon is an LGBT bar/honky tonk that was founded as the Esquire Ballroom in 1955 by Raymond Proske in Houston, Texas at 11410 Hempstead northwest of downtown.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11] In the 1970s and 1980s the club was considered the main rival to Gilley's Club across town in Pasadena.

The Esquire Ballroom closed in 1995 and remained unused for a number of years. The nightclub reopened as Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon in August 2013 as the largest gay country and western genre bar in the Southern United States, the second largest gay bar in the state of Texas, and largest gay bar in Houston. It continues to host music acts on the same stage that it used as the Esquire Ballroom. The venue has a significant heterosexual and mainstream following as well.[12][13]

In March 28, 2014, USA Today named Neon Boots one of the top ten dance halls in Texas in their "10 Great Places" series.[14]

Willie NelsonEdit

After his son Billy was born in 1958, Willie Nelson and his family moved to Houston. On the way, Nelson stopped by the Esquire Ballroom to sell his original songs to house band singer Larry Butler. Butler refused to purchase the song "Mr. Record Man" for $10, instead giving Nelson a six-night job singing in the club and a $50 loan to rent an apartment.[15] Nelson rented an apartment near Houston, in Pasadena, Texas, where he also worked at the radio station as the sign-on disk jockey.

Nelson was inspired to write the song "Night Life" during one of his trips from his home in Pasadena to his work, singing at the Esquire. Due to financial issues, Nelson sold the song to guitar instructor Paul Buskirk for $150. The song was rejected by Pappy Daily, who made Nelson's studio recordings at the time. Daily believed that the song was not country. Due to the amount of money that Nelson received for the song, he decided to record the song in another studio. To avoid legal actions, it was recorded as "Nite Life" under the artist name of "Hugh Nelson and Paul Buskirk and the Little Men".

Notable appearances and performancesEdit

Bill AndersonBill MonroeBilly WalkerBob Wills and the Texas PlayboysBobby BareBobby HelmsBobby LewisBuck OwensCarl SmithCharley PrideConway TwittyCrystal GayleDarrell McCallDolly PartonEarl ScruggsErnest TubbFaron YoungFerlin HuskyFloyd Tillman • Freddie Hardt • Gene WatsonGeorge JonesGlen CampbellHank LocklinHank ThompsonJack GreeneJean ShepardJeannie C. Riley • Jeannie Sealy • Jim Reeves • Jimmy Copeland • Jimmy DeanJimmy Dickens • Jimmy Dry • Jimmy Heap • Joe Berry • Joey Jay •Johnny BushJohnnie Lee WillsJohnny Rodriguez • Justin Fulcher Band • Kelly Scoppa • Kenny RogersKitty Wells • Larry Butler • Lee Roy Matocha Orchestra • Lefty FrizzellLeroy Van DykeLester FlattLonzo & OscarLoretta LynnMarty RobbinsMel TillisMerle HaggardPatsy ClinePorter Wagoner • Ray Krenek Orchestra • Ray PriceRed Steagall • Rita Hardt & The Rhinesones • Ronnie MilsapRose MaddoxRoy ClarkTammy WynetteTanya TuckerTom T. HallWanda JacksonWaylon Jennings • Web Price • Willie Nelson

In theatreEdit

The 1988 Broadway musical Always... Patsy Cline takes place in the bar. Produced by Ted Swindley in 1988, the story was taken and expanded from a section of the Cline biography, Honky Tonk Angel, written by Ellis Nassour. Always... Patsy Cline chronicles the real-life story of her encounter in 1961 with Louise Seger, a fan and Mississippi native who arrived early at The Esquire Ballroom in Houston for Cline's performance. In a chance encounter before the show, the two met and formed a lasting friendship.[16][17]


  1. ^ "The Esquire Ballroom History". Neon Boots. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  2. ^ "Kick up those heels at Neon Boots gay bar". The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  3. ^ "Neon Boots takes off where Esquire Ballroom left off". The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  4. ^ "Neon Boots, Texas' Biggest Country LGBT Bar, is Open for Business". The Houston Press. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  5. ^ "Texas-Sized Gay Bar Neon Boots Saddles Up In Houston". LOGO TV. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  6. ^ "Tight Jeans, Belt Buckles, and Rhinestones Dazzled 'Neon Boot' Preview Party Last Night". About Magazine. Archived from the original on November 11, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ "The largest gay bar in Texas is roaring into Houston: And you'd better bring your cowboy boots". CultureMap Houston. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  8. ^ "Neon Boots kicks up its heels at historic venue". The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  9. ^ "Dust Off Your Hat and Boots!". Outsmart Magazine. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  10. ^ "Say Howdy to the Largest Gay Country Bar in Texas". Houston Swamplot. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  11. ^ "Times Change: From the Esquire Ballroom to Neon Boots". The Beaumont Enterprise. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  12. ^ "Neon Boots kicks up its heels at historic venue". The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  13. ^ "Neon Boots, Texas' Biggest Country LGBT Bar, is Open for Business". The Houston Press. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  14. ^ "10 best dance halls where Texas country still swings". USA TOday. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  15. ^ Nelson, Willie; Bud Shrake; Edwin Shrake 2000, pp. 116, 117.
  16. ^ "Always... Patsy Cline". Always... Patsy Cline on Broadway. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  17. ^ "Stages' ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE Fabulously Spruces Up Show's 25th Anniversary". The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 11, 2013.

External linksEdit