Steve-A-Reno’s has the blues
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The Guess Who
The Beatles, George Harrison
BY MELISSA CROWE
From the music choice down to the three digit phone numbers left scratched into the walls, Steve-A-Reno’s Rock ’N’ Roll Blues Bar encompasses a simpler era.
“It takes you back in time to whenever things were calmer,” Steve Jaschke said over a 1970s Eagles hit.
Faithfully serving fellow music lovers, Jaschke, 58, invested his savings and his talents into buying and building the place. The mahogany bar is something he handcrafted.
After months of delay, it opened in June.
He said his venue, which centers on his love of blues and rock ’n’ roll music, adds a laid-back attitude to Victoria’s blossoming downtown nightlife.
“I just want people to come in and enjoy the blues,” Jaschke said.
Steve-A-Reno’s is open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Jaschke plans to extend hours during football season, when two new TV screens will be installed.
There is space for a pool table and more work to be done on the outdoor patio. He also wants eventually to book live music for weeknights.
While the bar does not have a signature drink just yet, Jaschke said they can accommodate any taste from draft beer and imports to top shelf cocktails and wine.
If music is the main theme, the past is a close second.
The venue’s history, tall ceilings and almost infinite space had “that Austin feel” reminiscent of Sixth Street, he said.
A close inspection of the concrete walls shows glimpses of its past lives as a machine shop and later, a furniture store.
Even the name – Steve-A-Reno’s, a nickname he earned as a child in Victoria – fit with the vibe Jaschke wanted: better days.
During that time, Brown Boar was the only bar downtown and served as the dividing line between the city’s country venues and the light-up floor disco joints. He narrowly escaped the John Travolta platform shoe trend.
“Everything was DJ’s,” Jaschke said. “I’d rather pay to hear live music than to hear someone’s records.”
He realized the best way to hear the music Victoria venues wouldn’t touch was to open his own bar.
Although responsibilities and family obligations took priority, the dream never died. About 15 years ago, he started eyeing the building at 103 W. Santa Rosa St., off the main drag downtown.
When it finally came up for sale, he made an offer and made it his own.
“It’s got a laid-back blues atmosphere,” Jaschke said. “You can still have a conversation, it’s well lit ... Go back in time to whenever things were calmer.”