London Dance hall: Visited Oct 1, 2022

London Dance hall, 17430 N. Hwy 77, London, is a great, old hall, over 100 years old. Phone number is 325-475-2300. We met two of the new owners, Paige and Tyler, who gave us a tour of the building, introduced us to the local historian on the dance hall Ruth, and to Collyn, cashier in the saloon, and made us feel right at home. Check out their Facebook page for upcoming events.

Paige and Tyler

Ruth ran off a list of names from previous owners, and these were just the ones in her lifetime! Tom and Unis Amerson, sold it to Ms. Freddie Skienow. Ms Nevbell Sexton; Gilbrt and Louis Lopez; Cracker Waller, Earl Posten, Ms. Billy Ivy, and the current owners Paige and Tyler.

Ruth with the floor wax

Ms. Billy Ivy always told Tyler he needed to own the dancehall because he has danced there since he was a kid, was always at the hall, and loved the building as much as she did. Ms. Ivy kept the dance hall family friendly, encouraging families to bring their kids and that continues with Paige and Tyler’s ownership.

COVID came, Ms. Billy died and the hall was available at a good price, so Paige, Tyler and two other couples pooled resources and experience and purchased the hall. Tyler works in real estate during the day, Paige and Collyn work at the newspaper in Menard. They had restaurant experience, but never owned a dance hall, so this is an exciting adventure for them.

Saloon side

The saloon is open Thursday through Saturday at 5:00 pm. Ladies night is Thursday. The hall is open on Saturdays when there is a dance, with doors usually open around 7:30 – 8:00. Bands usually play from 9-1. Cover is $20 per person. They staple the ticket to your shirt, though if you have a nice blouse or dress they’ll attach your ticket to your partner. If you’d like to reserve a table (recommended) it’s an additional fee, call to reserve. Table sizes range from small (4) to large (12). There is standing room off to one side of the hall, which I loved. People congregate here, visit, and get asked to dance from this spot, keeping the dance floor free for its intended purpose – dancing!

Parquet dance floor

Smoking is allowed outside.

outdoor smoking area

Case Hardin played the night we visited. Great voice, great band, fantastic dance music. We stayed on the floor most of the night. For some reason, I didn’t get a photo of the band – Sorry Case!

Building additions seen in the roof and floor

The hall has cold beer and set ups available. BYOB or wine, as they don’t have their hard liquor license yet. Shirts, koozies, pizza, popcorn, candy, and beer can be purchased in the saloon.

Items for purchase
Rendition of older version of hall on the top shelf
Rest of the older version on the top shelf

The current building has been expanded several times from its inception. Ruth pointed out the distinctions in the floor. The original hall stopped where the current parquet dance floor ends.

Parquet floor was the end of the old hall, concrete was the old saloon

Next to that was the saloon, which has a concrete floor. According to the San Angelo Standard Times article on the saloon wall, people have been coming here since WWI.

Newspaper article

The original building was a 12 room hotel with one bathroom. Former owners started a remodeling project, intending to use the upper floor as a home, but never completed the project. Paige let me climb the steep stairs to view the halted remodel. She said it would be great to convert it to a hotel again.

stairway to the old hotel
Gutted hotel area

At one time the larger building housed a skating rink. Billy had an art gallery and a convenience store on either side of the hall for awhile. Sometime in 1985, to bring the building up to code, Billy had to upgrade the restrooms. The men’s door to the outside was sealed and a new room made for an indoor bathroom. The women’s restroom was also remodeled and moved away from the band stage to its current location next to the back band door. Billy painted the oak tree in the bathroom as a tribute to the men’s former location for relief. Another point of whimsy is the truck door used as a stall door for the men.

Billy Ivy’s Tree
Men’s stall door
history on the tree

Early days if you wanted a beer, you exited the hall and walked outside to enter the saloon. There was an alley between the saloon and the hotel. The hotel area is now over the current saloon. The tiled area in the photo below was the saloon, the concrete area was an alley between the saloon and the old hotel.

Concrete area used to be alley. Tile was the old saloon

We knew from talking with other hall owners there are many hidden costs. Music fees for the DJ to be able to play music; alcohol licenses – beer and liquor are two separate applications and fees; concession, drink, and supplies costs; costs for security on site, staff payroll, and the bands; business license, DBA, and marketing; taxes, utilities and mortgage payments; and one we learned about at London was a required permit for EACH pool table. Really??!

saloon bar stools
dance floor
more seating
cool piano in the saloon
more bands who have played here

London is a quiet little place. The dancehall is a place for gathering, meeting, and dancing, just as it has been for the past 100 years. I invite you to go visit and see for yourself!

The stars are big and bright…

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