- "If you like old Dixie music and want to see the place where Jean-Napoleon shot The Debayle boys down, stop by Tasca Gringa."
- ―"Two-Gun" Billy de la Rosa.
|Notable Individuals:||Anaya Twins|
|Notable events:||The Tasca Gringa Gunfight|
|Current status:||Bustling Honky-Tonk|
An interesting piece on old Carretera 101 is the little cantina known as Tasca Gringa. "Gringo Tavern" is the English translation of this saloon, and it is known across Tamaulipas as the best place south of the Mexican border. Hear vintage Honky-Tonk music and stand where the infamous Jean-Napoleon Arceneaux and Dante Solano made their first strides as pistoleros by killing the Debayle boys and Hugo Roberto Abarca in the Tasca Gringa Gunfight.
Around a half century before the Great War of 2077, the United States of America occupied Mexico with a military expeditionary force for the purpose of repossessing Mexico's natural resources. This resulted in many American troopers being stationed south of the border in a land where a different flag flew and a different language was spoken. While life as an American soldier in Mexico was safer than that of a soldier in the Middle East or Africa, it was straining on morale. The locals despised the "gringos" and American troopers on weekend leave were rarely welcome in Mexican cantinas to relax. Additionally when they could get in, they found themselves drinking unfamiliar drinks, hearing odd music, and being surrounded by foreigners.
The desire of American troopers in Mexico for a place to unwind was the latest opportunity that a failed entrepreneur decided to gamble on in 2035 when Jacob Bisenti, decided to relocate his family to Mexico to open up a bar for the soldiers. Having run two businesses; a pawn shop and a Korean restaurant into the ground in just five years, it took Bisenti some considerable time and effort to get the loans to set up his shop. However after literally begging on the street with his family, doing odd-jobs, and selling his wife's car, he had the cash and opened up La Tasca Gringa on June 2nd, 2035 on Mexican Highway 101 between San Fernando and Valle Hermoso on the route to Matamoros.
The bar was unique, while it had a Spanish name it looked nothing like a Mexican establishment. The outside was adorned with English-language advertisements and the inside had a jukebox loaded up with Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Horton, Johnny Cash, Lefty Frizzel, Patsy Cline, Ernest Tubb, and Elvis Presley. The bar was a hit with troops who came from as far away as Sonora to dance, laugh, drink, and play some cards.
The tavern proved to be Bisenti's big break, it kept him and his family in business for decades as the American occupation proved reluctant to end and American troops kept feeling homesick. When the bombs fell, Tasca Gringa was among the most successful drinking establishments in Tamaulipas.
The nuclear holocaust of 2077 failed to touch Tasca Gringa. Mexico itself was largely unscathed, Tamaulipas especially. However, while Tasca Gringa remained structurally intact, the building was abandoned in hours as the troops immediately ran out to return to their units and the Bisentis tried to make it back to the border with Texas, leaving the tavern empty for over a century and a half.
As the world went silent, so did the jukebox of Tasca Gringa. Radiation seeped into the place and for decades not a single human being entered the place. Occasionally it was used as shelter by the odd traveler on Highway 101 and in the 2150s it was picked over by prospectors who took from it silverware, the old liquor, bottles of cola, and the revolver that Bisenti left under the bar. Besides that however, Tasca Gringa was nothing.
At least until 2235 came along. It was then that a vaquero from Valle Hermoso ran across the place while hunting coyotes. He walked in and saw a largely untouched bar from before the world and when he managed to get the jukebox running he found a plethora of old American music and in an unopened safe he found plenty of booze. He thought it over and decided that this was an opportunity. The vaquero, one Juan Pablo Anaya went back to Valle Hermoso and gathered up some of his fellow stockmen and his girlfriend and convinced them to work on cleaning up the place. They agreed and with a little money and a lot of hard work, Tasca Gringa had electricity, booze, a water pump, and a clean interior after three weeks of work. The saloon was finally open for business again.
Being halfway between Valle Hermoso and San Fernando, it saw little patronage from vaqueros as it was a good day or two from each town. However, a pleasant little tavern with a unique gringo twist to it was popular with travelers on Carretera 101. For two decades, Anaya ran Tasca Gringa until he passed away from complications with diabetes in 2257. From there it went to his wife who died only seven years later in 2264. After Senora Anaya passed away, ownership went to their children, Cecilia and Pablo who were proprietors in the event that put Tasca Gringa on the map, The Tasca Gringa Gunfight.Jean-Napoleon Arceneaux, Dante Solano, and his stepbrother Max Solano. There had been conflicts between Jose Debayle and Jean-Napoleon due to drunken insults and gambling where Jean-Napoleon had won thousands from the Debayle cousins. Hostilities came to a boiling point when Arceneaux allegedly stole a pocket watch from Eric Debayle. The Debayles and Abarca confronted Jean-Napoleon and the Solano brothers.
For forty five seconds guns blazed in the bar and when the pistol smoke cleared, all the Debayle boys, Abarca, and Max Solano were dead. This incident became the talk of Carretera 101 with radio reporters sensationalizing the fight and ordinary drifters flocking to see where the gunfight happened.
Since this fight, business has picked up, however Carretera 101 is a dangerous strip of road and thus many would be patrons end up shot in the back by comancheros long before they ever see the honky-tonk. Still its unique atmosphere and reputation have made Tasca Gringa a stable and well-known stop on the old Mexican highway.
The economic activity of Tasca Gringa revolves around keeping the joint running and operational. Although it has a legendary reputation for the Tasca Gringa Gunfight which has helped it attract more drifters than other such establishments, its still scraping by. Most of the bar's profits are made on drinks and cigarettes with a large amount of money made on the house's roulette table where Cecilia Anaya acts as a dealer. Additionally Tasca Gringa has a dozen beds in the backroom and a fine earning whore in Senorita Ana Paula Altonaga. In addition to mere bartending, Pablo has no problem bartering for items of value off of prospectors who pass through. He has a soft spot for firearms, especially handguns, selling them to both those looking for a means of protection of themselves and victimization of others for a price.
Tasca Gringa is located on the Mexican Federal Highway 101 in northern Tamaulipas. It is between San Fernando and Valle Hermoso being forty-five miles north of San Fernando and twenty miles south of Valle Hermoso. It is around one hundred and twenty miles southeast of Ciudad Camargo, one hundred and thirty miles southeast of Comales, and about sixty miles south of La Ciudadela.