Historic Balinese Room Destroyed

Another great Galveston landmark gone. The Balinese Room, which jutted out 500 feet or so into the Gulf, has been “ripped apart” by the storm, according to reports. Some pictures of the damage here.

It was a center of coastal nightlife for decades, spawning some great stories of Prohibition-era scandals. Sinatra actually sang there once; there are–were–some cool photos of him hanging in one of the hallways. Hope they got them out of there when they evacuated. Much later, in the 70s, ZZ Top wrote “Balinese”:

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.

It’s amazing the place stood as long as it did. I remember going out there 40-plus years ago with my parents, and actually being a bit scared. You could feel the whole ramshackle building  shaking in the Gulf wind. On a visit a couple of years ago  I walked all the way out to the end of the building for a quick hit of nostalgia.  The photos below show you just how vulnerable the place was.  

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “Historic Balinese Room Destroyed

  1. What a terrible tragedy to happen to a place I once called home. When I was a little boy(age 5) my parents worked at “The Balinese Room” it was a swanky dinner theater back in 1975 but to me it was magical place. My parents(Rose & Johnny) were related to the mangers(Richard/Linda Castro) at the time so they/we were often there late into the night after closing. Being a youngster with extremely young parents– I remember running all over this place with life size Palm trees, a huge stage that was decked out with furniture for theater with famous actors & musicians. I remember being in the dressing rooms and playing hide & seek with my cousin Diane(her grandfather was the chef) etc. The place had a strong presence about it that I remember even today. I would often fall asleep in a booth while waiting for my relatives to finish partying and remember being carried down the long long hall that was lined in lit paintings(which at the time seemed like an eternity to get back to the front door). I never got to see it as an adult as it was often closed when I returned for visits to Galveston and am saddened that it’s gone now. I’ll always remember that place and am glad to have had experiences there… Anyone else ever go there back in the day? Just curious. Thanks, Jonathan now in Dallas.

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