Bar Hop on the Strip 

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Once a thriving stretch of nightlife packed with live music and weekend revelers, due to a stream of bar purchases, renovations and the influx of Downtown dwellers, the St. Mary's Strip is poised to return to its former position as the primary destination for live music seekers.

We shall start at The Mix (2423 N. St. Mary's St.), where most of the best/worst nights begin and/or end. The Mix has long been the Strip's resident rock 'n' roll dive. With the recent renovations: Raising and installing new ceilings, adding atmospheric lighting, a pristine stage and a second bar in no time, the never-a-cover venue should be making good use of those extra taps.

Just a stone's throw from The Mix is Amp Room (2407 N. St. Mary's St.). This bar has changed hands numerous times in the last decade but is now getting new life as a club devoted to all things rock 'n' roll, from the '50s to today.

Heading further south you'll eventually hit Hi-Tones (621 E. Dewey Pl.). Touted as the original home of the chamoy and pickle shots, this San Anto gem brings in the city's best talent, from conjunto legends to hip-hop upstarts, and packs in the kids.

Back up north lies Phantom Room (2106 N. St. Mary's St.), two venues in one with a DJ booth up front and live music in the back room, complete with a wood deck and chandeliers.

Paper Tiger (2410 N. St. Mary's St.), once the address of the primary rock venue in town, is now returning to its former glory and then some. Paper Tiger is the venue that will drag SA into distinction as one of the best places to catch mid-level rock 'n' roll acts in the state, if not the country.

See the rest of the list.

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