Located at 8894 FM 1102 in Hunter, Texas, the nightclub Riley’s Tavern is in a structure built in the mid-1800s that at one time housed the Galloway Saloon. Situated near a railroad stop on the Missouri-Pacific line approximately halfway between San Antonio and Austin, it quickly became a convenient and popular watering hole for local cattle ranchers and cotton farmers as well as for train passengers and crews.
On September 19, 1933, a local seventeen-year-old resident named James Curtis Riley opened Riley’s Tavern. In the wake of Prohibition, this became the first establishment in Texas to obtain a drinking license. Its strategic location on Highway No. 2 (the Austin-San Antonio Post Road) and just inside the Comal County line catered to travelers and thirsty residents in the region, as neighboring Hays County was a dry county. Riley welcomed a diverse range of customers of different races and ethnicities.
J. C. Riley owned and managed the tavern until 1991 when he became too ill to run the business and sold it to Rick Wilson, who added a beer garden and began offering live music seven nights a week. In 1992 Riley died and was buried two miles from the tavern. By 2005 owner Joel Hofmann continued to offer live music throughout the week, and Riley’s Tavern remained a very popular gathering place for locals and tourists alike. In 2008 Riley’s celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary and remained the longest-running establishment to continually maintain a beer license.