In one of the nation's largest cities, which has a huge military presence and a relatively high number of gay guys who aren't out of the closet, it's not surprising that ACI Alternative Club (827 E. Elmira St., 210-223-2177) - just off Interstate 35 on the north side of downtown - has a substantial loyal following with men from all over the region. This independently operated facility that, annoyingly, doesn't have a website, is also the nearest gay sauna to a number of cities in southern Texas, including Corpus Christi, South Padre Island, McAllen, Laredo, Del Rio, and even Austin, now that the Midtowne Spa in that city has closed its doors.
This good-size venue has all the usual bathhouse accoutrements, including multiple lounges for watching porn, lockers and changing areas, a large deck for sunbathing (good fun in the Texas sun), and a full gym with steam room and a variety of equipment. Although the club was damaged by a fire a couple of years ago, it's reopened and undergone some improvements and repairs. A positive here is that the staff is generally quite nice and helpful, and the crowd spanning ages and with a pretty equal mix of Anglo and Hispanic guys.