Monday, 26 July 2010 12:37

It has been a conjunto institution for more than five decades. The name Lermas Nite Club stands alongside other revered venues around Central Texas such as Pan Am Plaza, the Royal Palace Ballroom, Hacienda Salas and others.

Now the 60-year-old night club at the 1600 block of North Zarzamora St. may be facing an end to conjunto’s happy days.

After a few recent inspections by several inspectors from

the City of San Antonio code compliance, there was serious bad news. Apparently there were numerous code violations and structural problems inside the nightclub and in adjacent businesses that are part of the same retail strip..

In short order, Planning and Development Services Department officials well as Dangerous Premises Unit and the Fire Department shut the property on July 6, the day of the inspection. The city recommended demolishing the property. Suddenly there was a meeting Monday of the Dangerous Structure Determination Board.

Bottom line the venue was given a very short break - until the end of September. That’s when club owner Gilbert Garcia must turn in a detailed plan to make all the necessary repairs to meet city code and a financial plan to achieve those goals.

“Lerma’s is a special place because it is a historical landmark and  just about every conjunto musician has played there,” said music promoter Amie Castillo. “Everyone from Flaco Jimenez, to his father Santiago has played there. I have brought people from Europe there because of the history and also because they saw it in the movie ‘Selena’.”

“Lerma’s has always been one of the best places to go dance conjunto,” said music fan Jesse Martinez.  “It has seen better days but it is still full of ambience and fun.”

Meanwhile community suopirt has been building. Representatives from KEDA-AM, the West Side Development Corp., the San Antonio Conservation Society and District 1 Councilwoman Mary Alice Cisneros have all indicated their interest in finding a way to help preserve the conjunto heritage that Lerma’s represents.

According to the SA Express-News, bass player Jenn Alva released a written statement calling the club a “San Antonio landmark.”

“We have already lost the Mission Drive-In and La Gloria, and if we continue this process San Antonio will lose those memorable places which make our city what it is,” Alva wrote. “A city of unique culture.”

Additional reporting from's Martin Martinez.