Silver Bullet & Silver Phoenix

1977 - 1980
1005 California & 302 Avondale

With...Nine Fires in 3 1/2 Years

Silver Bullet / Silver Phoenix / Timeline

submitted by Denny Nivens

January 28, 1977 - The Silver Bullet Saloon is opened at 1005 California Street (just off the
intersection of Westheimer and Montrose), the location of the old Numbers bar, by owners
Dan Roberts and Jim Flock. The Bullet features an outdoor patio with a bar, tree house
and "playground", where much open air mischief and assorted hi-jinks ensue. Styled as a
"Man's Club", the bar staff wear military-inspired attire.

March 23, 1977 - Someone steals the Silver Bullet's namesake, a dummy artillery shell
that has been chrome plated to resemble an oversized silver bullet, from the bar's front steps.

May 1977 - The silver bullet is returned, intact. The Silver Bullet hosts a uniform-themed
party on May 10 to celebrate.

May 23, 1977 - The Silver Bullet hosts "Send a Kiss to Dade County", a kissing booth event
with all proceeds ($1 per kiss) going to the Dade County Coalition for the Humanistic Rights
of Gays (the group that organized the boycott of Florida orange juice in protest of Anita
Bryant's anti-gay campaign).

July 1977 - The Silver Bullet begins a program of classical music on Mondays and Tuesdays
from 11 am to 4 pm, adding an uncharacteristic touch of class to the Montrose.

August 8, 1977 - The Silver Bullet begins renovations of the patio to create a new "backyard
fantasy playground".

September 3, 1977 - The owners of the Silver Bullet announce via an item in This Week in Texas
that they fully support the boycott of products supplied by the Florida Citrus Growers in
response to Anita Bryant's homophobic hate campaign, and further state that in everything from
liquor to cash register tape they deal only with businesses that support the legal right of
gay-oriented businesses to exist.

Fire #1

October 8, 1977 - Arson is suspected in a fire that begins around 3:30 am and causes major
damage to the pool table area, including the game equipment, the ceiling, and the nearby
bathroom. This is the first of several acts of arson to plague the Bullet and its later incarnations.
The inside bar is temporarily closed while debris is cleared and repairs are made. The patio
bar remains open.

November 1977 - The Silver Bullet becomes headquarters of the Colt 45's motorcycle club
and hosts a Country Fair in their honor on December 3.

Fire #2

January 1978 - A second act of arson causes minor damage to the Silver Bullet's roof.

January 28, 1978 - The Silver Bullet hosts the first annual meeting of the Texas Conference
of Clubs, a gathering of motorcycle clubs from Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio.

February 4, 1978 - This Week in Texas reports that someone has sawed off the "infamous
tree stump dildo" and removed its accompanying Crisco can from the patio area. The carved
wooden dildo was given a proper funeral and buried in a casket.

Fire #3

February 14, 1978 - A third act of arson destroys most of the Silver Bullet building. The bar's
fire insurance had recently been cancelled due to the previous arson incidents. Many in the
community lend assistance to help clean up and to plan a fund-raising effort, beginning with a
February 26 benefit show on the undamaged patio. The owners pledge to rebuild, and continue
to operate the patio bar through the spring and summer.

1978 - The decision is made to build a bigger club in a new location, rather than rebuild at the
original location.

Fire #4

March 4, 1979 - A fourth act of arson destroys the patio bar; at this point the Silver Bullet
has been closed for nearly six months.

Silver Phoenix

April 13, 1979 - At one minute after midnight, the Silver Phoenix is opened at 302 Avondale
(at the corner of Mason), taking its name from the Bullet's fiery history. Tim Timmons is now
listed as an owner along with Jim Flock and Dan Roberts. Billed as "The South's Largest Men's
Cruise Bar", the three-story club features five bar areas, a leather shop, a dance floor, and a
covered patio with a reconfigurable maze. The original "silver bullet" reappears as a patio
fountain surrounded by a ring of fire.

Fire #5 & #6

June 9, 1979 - Two separate fires are started during business hours in an act of arson at the
Silver Phoenix. The bar staff evacuates the crowd efficiently and the Houston Fire Department
arrives quickly. Primary damage is to a small two-story storage building on the alley; the main
club is undamaged. The owners convert part of the damaged area into a second floor sun deck.

July 1979 - The Silver Phoenix expands into the property next door at 304 Avondale and
operates a "quiet bar" in a smaller building thereafter known as the Annex.

Fire #7, #8 & #9

August 20, 1979 - A small fire is started in an act of arson but is quickly extinguished on the third
floor of the Silver Phoenix.

August 21, 1979 - Two more fires are set which destroy the storage building that was damaged
by arson in June. A Silver Phoenix bartender was arrested for the crime. The owners plan to
bulldoze the ruins and extend the patio.

September 3, 1979 - Staying true to its roots, the Silver Phoenix begins a four-month promotion
of giving away a Kawasaki KZ750 motorcycle on the first Monday of each month.

January 1980 - The Silver Phoenix changes its name to the Phoenix and announces it is now
owned by Tim Timmons and Rick Thomas.

March 1980 - The Phoenix goes out of business. Plans for a new bar on that property to be called
The Stroke fall through.

September 1980 - Former owner Jim Flock starts publication called Pegasus. Only two issues are
known to have been issued, though the first included a good bio of him. In 1977 he began
marketing his own brand of "room odorizers," Bullet, which seemed to have done well,
based on the degree of advertizing.

Clippings

1977

     

 

 

  

  

  

1978

    

  

Silver Phoenix

    

  

Pride Parade 1979 Entry

  

  

note that the Chronicle article said employee Rick Thomas was charged,
but it apparantly did not stick as by the first of the year he is listed as a new owner

 

1980

 

  

My Facebook post about this new page of my site got these comments...