San Antonio couple plans coffee shop dance spot mashup off Blanco Road

Hana Buck and Rolando Almaraz, pictured above, are veteran swing dancers. 

Hana Buck and Rolando Almaraz, pictured above, are veteran swing dancers. 

Brandon Fletcher

As an adult, finding avenues to make new friends can often prove difficult. Enter Bright Coffee, a developing swing dance and espresso venue, and a passion project of Hana Buck and Rolando Almaraz.

The couple is engaged to be married in spring 2022. They met, naturally, through the 40s-inspired San Antonio Lindy Hop scene.

"Lindy Hop is an old dance but it is very much alive today. And it is deeply rooted in improvisation and at its core is a social dance," says Buck. 

Almaraz is an eight-year Lindy Hop veteran, while Buck has devoted six or seven years to the craft. Their new joint venture is currently underway at 1705 Blanco Road along the Blanco antiques corridor. 

"We both love to dance. Lindy Hop, specifically. And I've been doing coffee for a really long time. It's just always been kind of a smaller dream of mine to open my own shop. We just had this opportunity and we found the space and just decided to go for it," Buck tells MySA. 

Bright Coffee is opening doors sometime in December or January along the Blanco antique corridor. 

Bright Coffee is opening doors sometime in December or January along the Blanco antique corridor. 

Hana Buck
Rolando Almaraz at the Bright Coffee. construction site. 

Rolando Almaraz at the Bright Coffee. construction site. 

Hana Buck

Both Almaraz and Buck previously served on the board for the San Antonio Swing Dance Society for five years.

In 2019, after an incredible month-long swing dancing camp in Sweden, the pair felt newly energized and knew they wanted to start a project of their own. They developed Puro-Swing, a laid back dance project hosting swing pop-ups everywhere from the Hays Street Bridge to Shotgun House Coffee Roasters. It was through this project that the idea for a brick-and mortar began percolating.

After the Shotgun dance session, Almaraz began to wonder, "What if we had the nice, comfortable, cozy vibe of a coffee shop, but we also had the ability to host dance classes and socials events?"

For those with two left feet or an aversion to 1940s dance culture, the couple makes a case for giving Lindy Hop a swing. 

Born out of the African American culture in Harlem, New York in the 1930s and 40s, Almaraz describes swing as "America's dance."

"You hear swing and your body wants to move, it starts bouncing," says Almaraz.

"If there's a reason people should try swing, it's because the music is so amazing. You can just go to hang out with people that have also learned swing, and you get to meet some great people and express yourself through this dance."

"Swing dancing to me, personally, is just joy, it is a dance that is just exudes joy. And that's why it's so important to me. I hope that, you know, we provide an experience that everybody can feel the same way," says Buck. 

Bright will function as a coffee shop by day and an event space — for classes and swing sessions — by night. The coffee shop will source their beans from Estate Coffee, where Buck previously cultivated a love for the craft. Acknowledging her Korean background, Buck explains she hopes to add some nostalgic flavors to the espresso menu, like lattes made with banana milk. With approvals and construction still in the works, the couple hopes to open doors in December or January. 

Hana Buck's latte art. 

Hana Buck's latte art. 

Hana Buck