Business Monday: New bar opens in old VFW Hall

Published 9:11 am Monday, September 29, 2008

Under the goal of providing a clean, upstanding establishment where people can go to have fun, Tequila’s Bar opened earlier this month in the former Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall on Clark Street.

Though the bar may have a Spanish name, owner Efren Bernal and manager Minerva Guerra wanted to reassure everyone that people of all backgrounds are welcome there.

“We decided to open so everybody can have fun and enjoy themselves,” Guerra said, translating for Bernal, who mostly speaks Spanish.

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All types of music will be played at the establishment, including some in English and Spanish, and even some country music, they said.

When people first walk through the door of the bar, there is the main bar section with several tables. Off to the right into the next room are a dance floor, an area for a disc jockey, some more tables and some pool tables. Downstairs is a space that can be used for private parties.

Guerra said no renovations had to be made to the building because most of it was already in place from former bars and establishments at the building beforehand.

The VFW was last in the building in 1996, but since that time it has been used for several restaurant and bar operations, including Seasons Fine Dining, Top Shelf, Andy’s Cellar, Andy’s Roadhouse and Grumpy’s.

Tequila’s officially opened for business Sept. 12, with the grand opening Sept. 19 and 20.

Though the business has started out slow, it has had good turnouts on Saturday nights, Guerra said for Bernal, who is the former owner of La Bamba, a grocery store in south-side Albert Lea. So far, they said, the turnout has included many types of people.

The bar is open from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays.

On Fridays and Saturdays, there are live disc jockeys, including DJs Mambo and Morado. Eventually there will be live bands there too, Bernal said through Guerra.

“We’re just going to go with the flow and see how it goes,” he said. “We’re hoping to be here for a while.”

Guerra said Tequila’s will at least be in operation for a year because that’s what the lease is for at the building, but she and Bernal hope it will be open much longer than that.

Eventually, they’d like to open the kitchen in the facility to provide food there as well. But for now, they are taking one day at a time, she said.

In the near future, dart boards will be added.

Guerra and Bernal encouraged people who come into the bar to bring their identification cards as no one under age 21 will be allowed to enter.

Guerra said she hopes the bar will be a place where people can go to have fun without any trouble.

“That’s what we want is for it to stay clean,” she said. “We want people to know they can come back here week after week and not have trouble.”

An extra security team is present on Fridays and Saturdays.