A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 17, 2007
Icehouse (Ice House)

The “icehouse” (or “ice house") began life as a house to store ice. Later, that included beer and other cold drinks. The icehouse became a grocery, a bar, a cafe, a gambling house, and even a dance hall. Icehouses were located all over South Texas, and especially in San Antonio. From the 1920s to the 1960s, icehouses flourished.

With the rise of 24-hour convenience stores (7-11, Sac-N-Pac) and superstores (Wal-Mart) and the modern refrigerator, the icehouses quickly began to dwindle in number. Modern “icehouses” are really taverns or bar & grill restaurants that nostalgically use the old Texas local term. A place called an “icehouse” is often open to the elements, but not always.


(Dictionary of American Regional English)
icehouse n
1. A place where ice is made or sold. [By ext. from icehouse a structure for the storage of ice]
1830 Watson Annals Philadelphia 202, Ice Houses. These have all come into use among us since the war of independence. After them came the use of ice creams...Public ice houses for the sale of ice, is a more modern enterprise than either.
1992 DARE File TX, Where I grew up in a tiny town in east Texas, every morning the men who were working in the piney woods would stop at the icehouse to get ice for their water barrels—otherwise the water would be hot by afternoon. The icehouse was a pretty big establishment where the ice was made as well as sold. They would chop it or break it to the size you wanted.
2. By ext; See below. chiefly TX
a. A convenience store.
1967 DARE FW Addit TX, I heard a caller to a Houston radio station use icehouse in reference to the small, often open-fronted, grocery store [which are] usually called stop-and-shop stores in this area. The caller was obviously not a native Texan.
1983 DARE File cnTX, Icehouse—A convenience grocery; said to be a Dallas-area word. Refrigerated foods are a staple, hence the name.
1984 Cuisine 13.10.15 eTX, I have just returned from the icehouse down the street with the fruit of a dime’s wise investment. Ibid. I would sprint down to the icehouse, palm a Moon Pie off the pastry rack, and slide a bottle of Yoo-Hoo from the melting ice..of the soda box.
1986 Pederson LAGS Concordance San Antonio, TX (Small neighborhood store) 1 inf, Icehouse—open early and late; 1 inf, Icehouses—small, all-night grocery stores; 1 inf, An icehouse—convenience store with a glass front.
1991 Contemp. S. Short Fiction 118 San Antonio TX, “God damn,” my father said, in the exact tone he’d say Yes Ma’am when my mother asked him to pick up a loaf of bread at the ice house, which is what convenience stores used to be called in San Antonio.
b A tavern.
1988 Black Killin’ Time (Sound Recording) eTX, When the whistle blows at five o’clock / there’s only one place I’ll be found / Down at Ernie’s Icehouse liftin’ longnecks to that good old country sound.
1992 DARE File eTX, Icehouse is/was a frequent name for a beer joint—tavern was a literary acquisition for me in southeast Texas. Ibid cTX, They are a “regional” occureence in central TX and I’m primarily aware of the Icehouse/Izehouse label among the Chicano/Mexicano community in San Antonio where it prevails [over “tavern"] on outside signs.

27 November 1949, San Antonio (TX) Express, pg. 36?, col. 3 ad:
LARGE NORTH SIDE ICEHOUSE
and beer tavern, one of the best in San Antonio…

28 November 1949, San Antonio (TX) Express, pg. 15?, col. 4 ads:
Grocery store and icehouse.
(...)
For lease: Combination Ice House and Service Station.

30 September 1951, Dallas (TX) Morning News, Letters, part 5, pg. 1:
In examining laws covering the death of an infant through forced feeding of beer, will any attention be given to the owners of the ice house which, according to The Dallas Morning News, sold beer on two occasions, Saturday afternoon, to minors?

19 October 1959, San Antonio (TX) Express, pg. 20?, col. 2 ad:
NEW BRAUNFELS, TEXAS
Building with 60’ steep canopy, suitable for icehouse, drive-in grocery or drive-in cafe.

4 June 1966, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section A, pg. 13:
A Dallas political hanger-on told me long ago that Dan used to drink beer with the boys at the ice house in Taylor when he was a stripling of a lad. 

8 September 1966, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section B, pg. 5:
Food stores did a tremendous business, as did liquor stores where beer was bought as if it were the last in the state. And cars swarmed the ice house.

18 May 1972, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “She Drinks Beer and Watches the Okra Grow” by Frank X. Tolbert, section A, pg. 19:
For instance, around 6 p.m. one day last week I went into Jim’s Ice House, which is a drive-in grocery and beer tavern not just to drink a beer but also to listen to animated conversation of the many patrons in the tavern, some speaking German and some Spanish yet often shifting their rhetorical gears in mid-sentence to English.

21 September 1973, San Antonio (TX) Light, pg. 7, col. 1:
Surely the owner of the ice house (neighborhood grocery and ice store) knows the alarm is being set off by his employes. 

27 April 1976, San Antonio (TX) Light, pg. 5A, col. 2:
San Antonio police scored two and convenience store bandits, zero.

In two unrelated North Side ice house holdups, officers arrested the suspects quickly, including getting the drop on one coming out of the door.

10 September 1984, Galveston (TX) Daily News, pg. 8A, col. 1:
As a teenager, I went to work as a grocery store clerk (before super markets). I loved it. Then to an ice house (not a beer joint, but a real ice house before refrigerators were commonplace).

6 June 1985, European Stars and Stripes, “Newspaper editors love tripping light fantastic” by John Windrow, Magazine, pg. 3, cols. 2-3:
My old newspaper in Texas was very big on icehouse bandit stories. In south Texas, an icehouse is a combination beer joint, dance hall, pool hall, grocery store, bait shop and gambling den. (They also sell ice.) There are hundreds of them. The beer drinkers and layabouts find them charming. The bandits find them practically irresistible. So we were never at a loss for an icehouse bandit story.

26 August 1986, New York (NY) Times, “In World Capital of the Icehouse, a Way of Life Hangs On” by Peter Applebome, pg. A10:
SAN ANTONIO—In the beginning, before air-conditioning and Miller Lite commercials, before 7-Elevens and Kwik Stops, before Big Gulps and Slurpees, was the icehouse.

A product of the grueling summer heat and the relaxed South Texas culture, the icehouse is part beer joint, part convenience store, part community center, part Mexican, part German, part hot and part cold.
(...)
The icehouse defies definition. All serve beer, but they are not beer joints. Some have music, but they are not dance halls. Most sell packaged food and ice, but they bear the same relationship to convenience stores that the icebox bears to the refrigerator.

Instead, they are neighborhood gathering places that grew up in the 1920’s from businesses that were formed to sell and store ice. They offer convivial company, cold beer and an invitingly unpretentious decor that usually allows imbibing indoors or outdoors.

Icehouses are scattered throughout South Texas, but San Antonio is the acknowledged world capital.

New York Times
Icehouses in Texas Vanishing Like Their Frosty Beer on a Warm Afternoon
By RICK LYMAN
Published: August 23, 1998
(...)
‘’My sense is that there may be a handful elsewhere, but you tend to find the real, classic icehouses in a line from Houston to San Antonio and then south to the border,’’ said Char Miller, a professor of American history at Trinity University in San Antonio.

An icehouse is an open-air beer joint, a cross between a saloon and a convenience store.

One University of Texas historian traced the icehouse as far back as 1840, when ships in Maine would load their holds with ice, head down the coast and into the Gulf of Mexico and sell whatever had not melted when they docked in Galveston.

‘’In the beginning, they sold ice,’’ said Jerry Markantonis, whose family owns and runs the West Alabama Ice House. ‘’Then in the 1920’s, they began to add some items, like bread or milk or beer. They became like neighborhood groceries or convenience stores. But after a while, a lot of them realized that the most popular item was beer so they did away with everything else.’’

It can be difficult to get people in South Texas to agree on what constitutes an icehouse. ‘’We don’t have a real definition for an icehouse,’’ said Julie Utsey, a spokeswoman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. A lot of places call themselves icehouses—there are more than 50 listed under ‘’tavern’’ in the Houston yellow pages—that aficionados will tell you are not actually icehouses, in the classic sense.
(...)
The heyday of the icehouse was between the end of World War II and the late 1960’s. It was illegal to sell hard liquor by the drink in Texas until 1969, which helped sustain the icehouses.

Many icehouses closed in the 70’s and 80’s, when their neighborhoods disappeared in the rush of suburbanization. But now, as Houston and San Antonio join many cities in seeing a fresh wave of suburbanites moving back into the city centers, icehouses are endangered by rising real estate prices and suburban sensibilities

12 November 1998, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “The Civic Nerve: Icehouses are more than just beer joints” by John T. Davis, pg. 30:
An icehouse is a beer joint, And yet it ain’t. The first thing you have to understand is, icehouses are open. As in, to the elements.

New York Times
FRUGAL TRAVELER; In San Antonio, a Stetsonful of Surprises
By DAISANN MCLANE
Published: December 24, 2000

I was pleased to celebrate my return to San Antonio with beers at an icehouse, since icehouses are a South Texas institution. Not coincidentally, they reflect the ethnic mix of the region—an icehouse is a cross between a German beer garden and a Mexican cantina. The Acapulco is one of the few surviving downtown, but they were ubiquitous in the days before refrigeration, when ice vendors sold chilled beer from the premises, too. 

Google Groups: fl.attractions
Newsgroups: fl.attractions
From: (KTREALTORS)
Date: 24 Sep 2001 14:00:54 GMT
Local: Mon, Sep 24 2001 9:00 am
Subject: Re: Disney stock

>I think an ice house is a Texan bar.

They are not really exclusive to TX.  What we call an Ice House is basically a beer joint that is open on at least 2 sides and more often 3 sides.  Basically they have large overhead doors on the sides that at least here remain open about 9 months out of the yr.  They serve beer only and burger type stuff. You can bring your own bottle and buy setups as well. Some do serve wine now. Beer is ALWAYS cooled in cubed or crushed ice, as opposed to refridgerated in coolers.  They do have a package type alcohol license which allows purchasing beer like a convience store.  You can’t leave with an open beverage, but you can come in and buy a six-pack and leave, hopefully to go home.  I have to wimp out and BYOB.  Not much of a beer drinker.

I think the term Ice House originates from the types of buildings used to sell ice before refridgeration.  These buildings were open on the sides and blocks of ice were stacked in the front just like you would see a grocery store stack merchandise for sale.  They remained open over the yrs by changing over to beer joints.  I guess the format works for some because new places are built all the
time based on the concept.

Anyway, I’m sure any reasearch on the net would show all of this is my imagination, so consider the source before quoting me. 

(Trademark)
Word Mark WATERLOO ICE HOUSE
Goods and Services IC 043. US 100 101. G & S: (Based on Use in Commerce) Restaurant and bar services. FIRST USE: 19760000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19760000
Standard Characters Claimed
Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
Serial Number 77275771
Filing Date September 10, 2007
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Owner (APPLICANT) Waterloo Ice House Licensing Company, L.L.C. LTD LIAB CO TEXAS 1106 West 38th Street, Suite 200 Austin TEXAS 78705
Attorney of Record Stephen P. Meleen
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

(Trademark)
Word Mark PAPA’S ICE HOUSE
Goods and Services (CANCELLED) IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: Restaurant and bar services. FIRST USE: 19910206. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19980504
Mark Drawing Code (5) WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS IN STYLIZED FORM
Serial Number 75728964
Filing Date June 11, 1999
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition January 25, 2000
Registration Number 2343523
Registration Date April 18, 2000
Owner (REGISTRANT) DRL & P Inc. DBA Papa’s Ice House CORPORATION TEXAS 24703 I 45 NORTH Spring TEXAS 77380
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
Cancellation Date January 20, 2007

(Trademark)
Word Mark WILLIE’S GRILL & ICEHOUSE GREAT FOOD - COLDER BEER
Goods and Services IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: restaurant services. FIRST USE: 19931103. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19931103
Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
Design Search Code 15.07.01 - Cog wheels; Gears
Serial Number 74601930
Filing Date November 22, 1994
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition April 2, 1996
Registration Number 1982045
Registration Date June 25, 1996
Owner (REGISTRANT) Barnes, Jay T. INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES 2702 West Avenue San Antonio TEXAS 78201
(LAST LISTED OWNER) Fricasa, L.P. LIMITED PARTNERSHIP TEXAS Suite G 11311 Jones Road West Houston TEXAS 77065
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record James E. Hudson III
Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE “GRILL” or “GREAT FOOD COLDER BEER” APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Description of Mark The stippling is for shading purposes only and does not indicate color.
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20060918.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20060918
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

(Trademark)
Word Mark PAPPAS ICE HOUSE
Goods and Services (ABANDONED) IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: RESTAURANT AND BAR SERVICES
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 76016539
Filing Date April 3, 2000
Current Filing Basis 1B
Original Filing Basis 1B
Published for Opposition September 18, 2001
Owner (APPLICANT) Pappas Restaurants, Inc. CORPORATION TEXAS 642 Yale Street Houston TEXAS 77007
Attorney of Record Rodney K. Caldwell
Prior Registrations 1378547;1378551;1437540;AND OTHERS
Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE “ICE HOUSE” APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL-2(F)
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
Abandonment Date December 12, 2004

(Trademark)
Word Mark RITA’S ICEHOUSE
Goods and Services IC 043. US 100 101. G & S: RESTAURANT SERVICES
Standard Characters Claimed
Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
Serial Number 76643903
Filing Date July 29, 2005
Current Filing Basis 1B
Original Filing Basis 1B
Published for Opposition June 6, 2006
Owner (APPLICANT) Weston Entertainment, L.P. Gregg Weston, Michael Wakely, and J. Elliott Cunningham all U.S. citizens LIMITED PARTNERSHIP TEXAS 112 E Pecan, Suite 1212 San Antonio TEXAS 78205
Attorney of Record Lannie J. Cates
Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE “ICEHOUSE” APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

(Trademark)
Word Mark BOTTLECAP ALLEY ICEHOUSE GRILL
Goods and Services IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: Clothing, namely, jerseys, short-sleeved t-shirts, long-sleeved t-shirts, baseball caps, visors, tank-tops, jackets and bandanas
IC 043. US 100 101. G & S: Restaurant and bar services
Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
Design Search Code 01.01.10 - Stars, three or more; Three or more stars
01.01.13 - Stars - multiple stars with five points
24.09.07 - Advertising, banners; Banners
26.01.07 - Circles with a decorative border, including scalloped, ruffled and zig-zag edges
26.01.18 - Circles, three or more concentric; Concentric circles, three or more; Three or more concentric circles
Serial Number 77018918
Filing Date October 11, 2006
Current Filing Basis 1B
Original Filing Basis 1B
Published for Opposition June 5, 2007
Owner (APPLICANT) Bottlecap Alley, LLC LTD LIAB CO TEXAS 4825 West Royal Lane Irving TEXAS 75063
Attorney of Record Tamera H. Bennett
Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE “GRILL” APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Description of Mark The mark consists of the words ICEHOUSE GRILL inside a bottlecap with a banner running horizontally across the bottlecap containing the words BOTTLECAP ALLEY.
Type of Mark TRADEMARK. SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (1) Comments • Saturday, November 17, 2007 • Permalink


Ice house are more important for ice holding because it doesn’t have resistance power and melt very fast in hot surface. Very informative blog, I like it.

Posted by Hampton Bay  on  09/27  at  02:35 AM

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