Homeowners’ united front, persistence may finally bring peace after illegal bar shut down on NW Side

‘They didn’t really have a good excuse, other than maybe they didn’t know all the rules’

SAN ANTONIO – Jill Laymon, who lives in the College Park neighborhood, says the problems with loud music, noise, and overflow parking on their residential streets have been consistent since the opening of the Sand Box restaurant in 2018.

“The first three years, I think we kind of felt like we were spinning our wheels. And homeowners just kind of shut their doors and quit complaining because it didn’t do any good,” she said.

The problems continued until this past weekend when the City of San Antonio and police forced the bar’s closure after a months-long investigation.

Michael Shannon with the city’s Development Services Department said the investigation found the business was operating outside of its certificate of occupancy of a restaurant. Most of its sales came from mixed drinks instead of food.

“They confirmed they were a bar. They didn’t really have a good excuse, other than maybe they didn’t know all the rules,” Shannon said.

Even if the business has requested to operate as a bar, the area is not zoned for that type of business, Shannon explained.

The bar was notified of its closure in December 2023, and its appeal before the board at the end of the year was denied. But Shannon said the bar continued to operate until this past weekend when police showed up to shut it down and gave the bar manager a citation.

“It was just an example of how acting illegally as a business owner can have very real and negative effects on the surrounding community,” Shannon said.

KSAT reached out to the bar via email, phone and in person. We’re still waiting for a response.

Rachel Graves and Andrew Wangler say residents are not against businesses but against anything that impacts their quality of life.

“There’s a bit of a social responsibility of really being good neighbors, you know, respecting the neighborhood. You know, it affects our property values,” Wangler explained.

In the past two years, SAPD has responded to the address where the bar is located 800 times. Five hundred of those calls were in the past year. There are multiple businesses at that address, including another bar.

Shannon said the other bar on the same plaza is also on the city’s radar to ensure it’s in compliance.

Shannon credits the community for being the eyes and ears that alerted them that something illegal was happening.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said the Sand Box has a mixed beverages permit with a renewal pending.

Find more local news on KSAT.com here

About the Authors

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Alexis Montalbo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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