Bad Dogz Beer & Bites, located just inside Helotes, embraces its canine theme through and through. From meals served in dog bowls (albeit, nice dog bowls) to restrooms that make you feel like you are peeing on a shed (again, a very nice shed), and pictures of patrons’ furry friends adorning the walls, the motif is fun and fitting. Running with this theme, I can assign a dog that most closely communicates the Bad Dogz experience. Unfortunately, that dog is a Chihuahua. It’s cute and all, but this place is small, loud and not for everyone. And that’s a shame, as Bad Dogz has some things going for it.
First up is the atmosphere. From the Hank Williams blaring (and I do mean blaring) as you come in to the pool table and the bare concrete floor, Bad Dogz exudes a pleasant honky-tonk feel. It’s just too bad that it is so tiny. The outdoor patio area provides a small area of relief, but if you don’t mosey on out there you will be forced to scream over too-loud jams that you can’t seem to sit far enough away from. If you do stay inside, though, you will have a selection of 11 or so flat-screens that—in a place this cozy—seem like a wall of TVs. It is actually a pretty nice effect.
Another thing going for the bar is its lineage. Maybe you didn’t notice that edgy and EXTREEEME “z” added to the end of Dogz, but Bad Dogz Beer & Bites and Big’z Burger Joint are brought to us by the same owners. This translates to tasty burgers and above average sides. Outside of the good double cheeseburger, the Kibbles and Bits appetizer was a hit as it came with an assortment of fried goodness served in a large dog bowl. The batter was clean and the pickles, sweet onions and jalapenos were delicious.
The desserts also stood out—especially the Cookies & Milk. The freshly baked chocolate chip (or oatmeal, if you so choose) cookies served with an ice-cold glass of milk were a nice change of pace from normal restaurant desserts.
On the drink front, they’ve got you covered for most occasions. When it comes to beer, they have 19 on draft, 14 by the bottle, and five tall boys, with all the usual suspects (Shiner, Angry Orchard, Guinness, Dos Equis) making appearances. And none will really break the bank. In fact, if you time it right, you can get a beer tower (100 ounces) at a bargain price. The soon to be out of season Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy tower was a shockingly low $10. Once I found my wallet the next morning (it was in my pants, which were also lost) and looked at the receipts, my mind was blown.
For something harder, they have a good variety of vodkas (Three Olives Root Beer), rum (Malibu), whiskey (Wild Turkey American Honey), gin (Tanqueray), scotch (Glenlivet) and tequila (Luna Azul Reposado), as well as a few infused vodkas. If you are looking for wine, though, it seems you are out of luck. But you probably shouldn’t be drinking wine at a place that serves you food much like they would a four-legged creature.
The bartenders seemed skilled and when “something cinnamon-y” was requested, the resulting apple pie-tasting mixed drink was a hit, as it took advantage of their very tasty apple cinnamon-infused vodka.
Now, while the drink selection was good, getting those drinks from the bar and down your gullet in a timely manner was a little dodgy. This Thursday night might have been a little bit busier than usual due to Thursday Night football, but it should have been nothing for the three bartenders, four servers and a runner. Waiting for service while workers are standing around talking is no bueno. Bad poochy.
If you live in the area or are on that side of town and want to pop in to watch a game or throw back a few beers, you could do much worse. But with so many doggone good places in San Antonio to do the same, it might not be worth the trip.
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