On the Real Rosa's Cantina Out in the West Texas Town of El Paso
Although there is a Rosa's Cantina in El Paso, and even though Rosa's has been in existence for decades, it was not the inspiration for the famous song by Marty Robbins. Robbins wrote the song in 1957 and recorded it in September, 1959. It was released as a single the following month and became a major hit on both the country and pop music charts, reaching number one in both at the start of 1960. But El Paso city directories show no mention of Rosa's Cantina until 1961. The 1959 city directory lists a beer bar operating at 3454 Doniphan, under the name "J & M Club." The owner was Miguel Aranda, a former Asarco employee.
The 1961 city directory indicates that the bar had come under the proprietorship of Ernest A. Erbe and had been renamed "Rosa’s Cantina." By 1962, Rosa’s Cantina had yet another owner, Roberto Zubia, who remained the owner for several decades.
Further substantiation came from Marty himself, who said that there was nothing true about the story. So even though you may see claims that Rosa's Cantina is THE Rosa's Cantina, the song inspired the bar rather than the bar inspiring the song.
Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.