Boerne’s Richter Tavern Honors Hill Country History
Signature cocktails are prepared at a bar that’s 100 years old
Situated just 90 miles from downtown Austin, Boerne is the perfect destination for a romantic escape, a family getaway, or a road trip with friends. Known as the hub of the Texas Hill Country, Boerne has long been popular as an escape from nearby San Antonio, and it remains a favorite destination for visitors from all over the state of Texas. With many travelers this summer opting to hit the highway instead of the skies, in-state travel is expected to be more popular than ever. The wide range of lodging options in Boerne offer everything from familiar branded hotels to upscale resorts and vacation rentals. So, fill up the gas tank, grab your bags, and hit the road for your trip to Boerne where you’ll find a perfect blend of tradition and trendy, historic and hip, and rustic to refined.
The town itself dates to 1852, when Boerne was first laid out around Main Plaza, which remains the heart of town. As the automobile began replacing horse and buggies, an enterprising man named Arno Richter opened “Richter’s Garage” in 1918 at 153 Main Street, where he would work on cars, including the popular Ford Model T.
As the town thrived and bustled with commerce, a favorite pastime was to gather in one of the many saloons where stout beer and whiskey flowed freely. One of these watering holes, the Metropolitan Saloon, featured an ornate, wooden bar that survived a fire at the turn of the century thanks to quick work by locals. Though the building would not survive, the bar would continue to greet thirsty guests at various local establishments along Main Street for decades. The bar was restored and brought back to life in a grand way as the focal point of a fabulous new Boerne destination situated in the footprint of Arno Richter’s original garage. This historic building features shopping, dining and drinking — but in a way that this town has never seen before. In fact, that was exactly the point when the husband-and-wife owners, Guy and Joi Sanders, first envisioned the new incarnation of the Richter Building. They wanted a place that was hip, yet still steeped in its historic roots.
The immensely popular destination now houses Richter Tavern, Richter Cork and Keg and Richter Bakhaus. In addition to dining and drinking venues, the Richter Building is also home to retail shops, collectively known as The Shops at 153 Main which include Plaza Taxco, a silver jewelry and Mexican handcrafts store that also has a popular following through their La Villita and Market Square locations in San Antonio; Uptown Chic Boutique and Gifts, which features on-trend women and children’s fashions, and The Boerne Bookshop, where both children’s classics and best-sellers line the shelves.
Once inside the open hallway, you will come upon an authentic Ford Model-T and a display of original parts that were found during excavation. Throughout the building, owner Guy Sanders’ original artwork is featured.
Richter Cork and Keg is a cozy first-floor space that offers lunch and dinner, premium wines, local and national craft brews. Popular Richter Bakhaus is a fabulous artisan bakery and latte cafe. Up the staircase, you will find Richter Tavern, a 1920’s industrial-themed bar and restaurant that you will swear has always been there due to the painstaking restoration that stayed true to the architecture and history. Joi Sanders was largely responsible for the interior décor and finishes, and the husband and wife team both shared a vision for how they wanted the place to look, striving for “authenticity” as much as possible in every detail. The Metropolitan Saloon’s original bar — one of the oldest in the Texas Hill Country — has found new life once again with patrons saddling up to sip signature, hand-crafted cocktails.
Richter Tavern serves seasonal-inspired specialties from Executive Head Chef Bill McGrory, who prepares new twists on classic American cuisine. For dessert, they feature an assortment of cheesecakes, as well as their signature Berries ‘N’ Bubbly Sorbet.
Both indoor dining and outdoor eating space is available, with second-story balconies that overlook the heart of downtown Boerne. To complete the sophisticated feel of the 1920s, silent movie clips project onto interior brick walls, and “Bogie and Bacall” restrooms add to the vintage vibe.
Many other historic buildings in Boerne have also been repurposed with new life while maintaining architectural and historic integrity with modern-day uses as breweries, inns, restaurants, and retail establishments. While in town, take a stroll along the famed Hill Country Mile, where you’ll find an array of shopping and dining, or search for the public art sculptures that are scattered throughout the Hill Country Mile, trail systems and the library grounds