Cheatham Street Warehouse is located at 119 Cheatham St. in San Marcos. The building originally functioned as Reed Grocery Warehouse, a distribution center that received goods by train and sold supplies to local grocers. Kent Finlay, along with business partner Jim Cunningham, leased the structure and in June 1974 opened a music hall to serve as a venue for a variety of genres, including country, blues, rock, and folk.qqv The honky-tonk soon provided an outlet for area talent, and many musicians, both famous and lesser known, began their performing careers on the stage at Cheatham Street. Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University-San Marcos) student George Strait and the Ace in the Hole band played their first shows at the club in 1975. In 1980 a young Stevie Ray Vaughan performed there every Tuesday night.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s the music hall played host to an impressive roster of musicians. Patrons heard country legends such as Ernest Tubb and Willie Nelson, the blues of Omar and the Howlers and Lou Ann Barton, the songwriting prowess of Townes Van Zandtqv and Jerry Jeff Walker, as well as notable players such as country fiddler Alvin Crow, accordionist Flaco Jiménez, and guitarist Eric Johnson. Over the years the wealth of artists has also included Doug Sahm and Augie Meyers, Marcia Ball, Gatemouth Brown, Charlie and Will Sexton, Gary P. Nunn, Joe “King” Carrasco, Ponty Bone, and Ray Benson’s Asleep at the Wheel.
In 1988 Finlay sold the business, and during the next few years Cheatham Street changed hands between Finlay and other buyers. For a time in the early 1990s the establishment hosted primarily Tejano bands. In 1999 Finlay bought back the club, which returned to its original honky-tonk format. The official reopening occurred on December 31, 1999.