So let’s sum up briefly. We’re a week away from Halloween, and I decided, starting yesterday, that this would be a great time for me to tell you some of the lesser-known stories about the Hub City in the decade-or-so I lived there, and in the multiple decades that my family has lived there. Let’s keep that train a-runnin’.
And speaking of trains, our next story is set in Lubbock’s Depot District. It didn’t really become an entertainment and clubbing area ’til the early-to-mid 1990s, but there was an incident in the early ’80s where a couple of strange disappearances were tied to a mysterious bar in the eastern side of the downtown area.
Some Tech students entered a bar near what’s now Buddy Holly Avenue one night in September — it was described as a pretty grimy place, marked by nothing more than a “Bill’s Bar” sign on a wooden door in an alley. They went through a long, low-ceilinged stone corridor to reach the bar itself. It was a small place, only a dozen or so tables in the room, with a small stage on one end of the room.
The bartender was a grim-faced woman who served drinks without a word. There were no waitresses and no music. The other customers were vaguely odd looking and quiet, later described as “like the Addams Family without the funny stuff.”
After the students had been in the bar for about a half-hour, a cabaret show started on the stage. I haven’t yet managed to find a detailed description of the act, but two of the three students found it disturbing enough to prompt them to leave immediately. The third student said he wanted to see the end of the act.
The third student wasn’t ever seen again.
While investigating the disappearance, the police realized there had been a similar incident that had happened three years earlier. In the prior case, a group of office workers had gone out for drinks after work and stumbled across “Bill’s Bar.” Their descriptions of the bar were identical, but they said the door was located three blocks away from where the college students had placed it, and in the front of a building, instead of in an alley.
As with the college students, the office workers described the same bar, the same weird patrons, the same bizarre cabaret show that squicked out all but one member of their entourage — the office secretary, who stayed for the rest of the show and vanished.
The college students’ description of the dour female bartender perfectly matched the description of the missing office secretary.
And no, the cops have never been able to locate the entrance — anywhere — of a place called “Bill’s Bar.”