By 10:30 on a Saturday night, there is a line of hopeful men decked out in cowboy hats, boots and jackets leaning on the cement bar of Salón Azteca in McBaine. Most of them came from Mexico and to Columbia to work higher paying jobs — usually in construction — than they can find at home. Salón Azteca, which opened just two months ago in a giant warehouse building in McBaine, a small village about 10 miles southwest of Columbia, gives them a place to find some of their country’s culture here in central Missouri. A disc jockey plays music and bands perform on the weekends, drawing small crowds of mostly men and a few women.
Spanish is the predominant language used in the club, though owners Luis Hernandez and Megan Hopke say everyone is welcome. The owners say they hope to draw a more diverse crowd in the next few months as the club gets attention for its unique Latin music and dancing.