Housed in Terlingua’s original performance hall, the Starlight Theatre Restaurant and Bar is one of the only reminders of the booming mining town that you would have seen had you visited in the thriving 1930’s. Surrounded by abandoned buildings and vintage billboards, the Starlight Theater serves as an attraction for locals and visitors alike.
What to Expect at the Starlight Theatre
Located 17 miles west of the Study Butte entrance to Big Bend National Park, the original Starlight Theatre was an open-air building where patrons would watch cultural events under the stars. Owner Angie Dean renovated the building when she reopened the restaurant in 1991, but vintage character can still be found at every turn. Each tabletop features a unique piece of art and blue lights add to the old-world ambiance. The porch, bar area and stage provide other charming historical details.
Chef Diego Palacios prepares dinner for a packed house from 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. Sunday through Friday and 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. on Saturday. Culinary fare includes chicken fried antelope, prime rib, a world-famous bowl of chili and apple cinnamon flautas. Diverse menu options are a welcome distraction from the abundance of Tex-Mex restaurants that fill the area. Friendly waitresses and a well-stocked bar cap off this must-visit West Texas attraction. The only downfall for some visitors is a ticket price that runs higher than many other establishments in the area.
Starlight Theatre Entertainment
This funky locale features exceptional entertainment. A typical Friday night might include a performance by a live band, a dramatic interpretation by a local theater group or, if you’re lucky, an entrancing routine from a fire spinner. Musical performers include local singer-songwriters such as Butch Hancock and Cowboy Doug Davis and more mainstream acts like Reckless Kelly.
Patrons range from artsy hipsters to high-end motorcycle enthusiasts to sun-drenched locals. Striking up a conversation with a native resident of Terlingua can sometimes be the best part of the whole experience.
Visit the Starlight Theatre
The Starlight Theatre offers a laid-back environment and a casual dress code, but reservations are highly recommended. A trading post next store includes trinkets, historical memorabilia and crafts that can be purchased while you wait for your dinner reservation. The view from the front porch at sunset makes many patrons glad that there is sometimes a wait at this popular haunt.
A visit to the Starlight Theater is the perfect punctuation point to a long day of hiking in Bend National Park. Don’t let the phrase “Ghost Town” fool you, Terlingua is a unique destination with a history that intrigues even the most skeptical visitor. Locals will tell you that the motto of this dusty hot-spot is “expect the unexpected” and that is exactly what you should do when you travel to the Starlight Theater Restaurant and Bar.
Here’s a video review of the theatre showing the outside:
For more information on the Starlight Theatre Restaurant and Bar, call (432) 371-2326 or visit starlighttheatre.com.
What’s your favorite thing about the Starlight Theatre? Let us know in the comments below.
About the author: Heather Stidham is a West Texas native. Originally from Fort Davis, she lived in West Texas for over 15 years. She has a Journalism degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and has worked as an editor for a publishing company in Houston. She is currently a stay-at-home mom.
Photos by by Bird Brian