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balinesecasinonight

“Deep in the South of Texas, not so long ago, there on a crowded island, in the Gulf of Mexico...

It didn't take too much money, man, but it sure was nice. You could dance all night if you felt all right, drinking whiskey and throwing dice.

And everybody knows, it was hard to leave. And everybody knows, it was down at the Balinese.” - ZZ Top

balinese room galveston texas

Built on a pier stretching 600 feet (183 m) from the Galveston Seawall over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Balinese Room was a famous nightclub in Galveston, Texas. Operated by Sicilian immigrant barbers- turned-bootleggers, Sam and Rosario Maceo, the Balinese Room operated for decades as a dance hall and illegal casino. Featuring entertainment by Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, George Burns, The Marx Brothers and
other top entertainment of the day, the Balinese Room was an elite venue in the 1940s and 1950s. Patrons included Howard Hughes, Sophie Tucker and wealthy oil barons from Houston.matchbook balinese room, galveston tx

In 1929 the Maceos took over a small restaurant at the intersection of 21st StreetandSeawall Boulevard named "Chop Suey." They renamed it "Maceo's Grotto," and it was one of many bathhouses and dance clubs that popped up along the Galveston Seawall. Remodeled in 1932, it became a Chinese restaurant called “Sui Jen,” and a 200 foot pier stretching out over the Gulf of Mexico was added to the building. Located across 21st Street from the city’s most exclusive hotel, the Galvez, the restaurant was an easy walk for visitors.

The pier was expanded to 600 feet in 1942. That same year, following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the name was changed to the more exotic sounding Balinese Room. The decor was modified accordingly, and the Balinese Room's private back room was equipped with the most modern gambling equipment. During this period it is said that head bartender, Santos Cruz, created the Margarita for singer Peggy Lee in 1948. He named it after the Spanish version of Peggy Lee’s name, Margarita.balinese room mural galveston texas

It was well known that, in violation of the law, a casino was operating at the far end of the pier. After campaigning to “close down Galveston” and its illegal casinos using the Texas Rangers, Will Wilson was elected as Texas Attorney General in 1956. The Rangers raided the casino often, but their efforts were thwarted by the length of the pier, known as the "Rangers Run." Tables, cards and chips disappeared into secret wall and floor pockets by the time the Rangers arrived at the end of the long, narrow club. Upon their arrival, the band would be playing the song "The Eyes of Texas.”

The Balinese Room closed its doors on May 30, 1957 and was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1997. In 2001 it was remodeled and reopened in without the gambling. During the early morning hours of September 13, 2008, the Balinese Room was completely destroyed by Hurricane Ike.

 

The Texas Gulf Coast Bull Terrier Club invites you:

What: Casino Night - Balinese Style

Where: Galveston Convention Center, Upper Ballroom

Date: Friday, October 18, 2019

Time: 7:00 pm until 11:00 pm

tgcbtc casino night silverwood 2019

 

Please check back soon for ticket information. Thank you!