When the owners of the Pearl Brewery commissioned a grand San Antonio stable in 1894, they likely had only one function in mind: a place to house sixty horses and the keg carts used to deliver their beer around town. But as it turns out, the now 130-year-old, oval-shaped building—with its open floor plan, tall ceilings, and multiple entrances—also makes for a great music venue.

Opening its doors to the public with a free show this Saturday, Stable Hall is a joint venture between the Dallas-based developer WoodHouse and the Austin-based firms Clayton Korte architecture and Joel Mozersky Design. The latter teams previously worked on the Southerleigh restaurant in the historic brewery complex turned shopping-and-dining district. This is the first Pearl project for WoodHouse, which is known for Deep Ellum music venues Trees and the Gypsy Tea Room. 

Brandt Wood, principal at WoodHouse, initially went to San Antonio looking for a site to host a music festival. He ended up falling in love with the Pearl and, along with managing partner and San Antonio native Erick Schlather, pitched Pearl district founder Kit Goldsbury on the idea of a “proper music venue” inside the old stable. The building was renovated in the early 2000s for use as a private event space, but to make it show-worthy, the team orchestrated a full redesign, creating a mezzanine, a green room, a lobby, a new dance floor, six bars, an oversized stage, and enough room for one thousand people.

“The bones of this building were perfect for the renovation, and the way we programmed the seating and the mezzanine, it’s laid out really like a classic theater,” Wood tells me on a recent tour. “There’s not a bad seat in the house.”

Tickets are on sale now for shows through May. The lineup is diverse, with acts ranging from all-female mariachi groups and the Grammy-winning conjunto pioneer Flaco Jiménez to a Led Zeppelin tribute band and indie rock chart-topper Portugal. The Man. 

Wood anticipates that Stable Hall’s prime location—just steps from some of the city’s best restaurants and the five-star Hotel Emma—will entice big-name artists looking for a more intimate venue and a respite from touring. 

“We envision a decent amount of underplays, meaning bands that would normally be bigger than this room will have two-to-three-night residencies. They can stay at Hotel Emma, bring their family, rehearse in the daytime, and spend some time here,” Wood says.

While the stable building has been a fixture of the Pearl since its early days (it was built the same year as the brewhouse) and has been accessible to private event attendees, this may be the first time many Texans, and even San Antonians, are getting a look inside. 

“It’s important in a historic project to pay homage to the existing architecture and history,” designer Joel Mozersky says. “There are subtle references to the horse-stable past, via some art and small details, but we also wanted to make the visitor wonder if it had always looked like this and we just dusted it off.”

Below, a behind-the-curtain peek at what concertgoers can expect.