Best Of 2020

Best Drink Specials/Cheap Drinks

Winner: Bar America

723 S. Alamo St.

(210) 223-1285

2. Brass Monkey

2702 N. St. Mary's St.

(210) 480-4722

3. Bonham Exchange

411 Bonham

(210) 224-9219



Winner: Esquire Tavern

155 E. Commerce St.

(210) 222-2521

2. Elsewhere Garden Bar & Kitchen

103 E. Jones Ave.

(210) 446-9303

3. Sternewirth Tavern (Hotel Emma)

136 E. Grayson St.

(210) 223-7375

Winner: Little Woodrow's

Multiple locations

2. Bonham Exchange

411 Bonham

(210) 224-9219

3. Slackers Sports Bar

Multiple locations

Winner: Liberty Bar

1111 S. Alamo St.

(210) 227-1187

2. The Pigpen Neighborhood Bar

106 Pershing Ave.

(210) 267-9136

3. Southtown 101

101 Pereida St.

(210) 263-9880

Winner: Bar 1919

1420 S. Alamo St.

(210) 227-1420

It's hard not to be impressed with Bar 1919, the speakeasy-style cocktail haven tucked into a basement slot at Blue Star. The dark interior brims with atmosphere, and the bar staff is both knowledgeable and blazingly efficient. What's more, Bar 1919 has won praise from the New York Times and USA Today for an extensive and expertly curated whiskey collection unmatched in the area. The nightspot's Southtown location also makes for eclectic people watching as downtown business execs and techies mingle with arty folks from the neighborhood and tourists drawn by its national rep.

Editor's Pick: The Modernist

516 E. Grayson St.

(210) 901-8646

With its keen attention to detail and focus on high-quality ingredients, The Modernist is San Antonio's most low-key place to get seriously highfalutin' cocktails. While the atmosphere is chill, the bartenders are insightful, practiced and approachable, which practically makes them hospitality-industry unicorns. Throughout the pandemic, the crew at The Modernist has offered an impressive to-go menu of mixed cocktails, organized by spirit preference, including a note on which tipples are "stupidly strong." In part, this Editor's Pick earned its accolade for taking at-home craft cocktail enjoyment to a whole new level.

2. The Modernist

3. Blue Box

312 Pearl Parkway

(210) 227-2583

Winner: Thirsty Horse Dance Hall

2335 NW Military Highway

(210) 348-1513

2. The Lonesome Rose

2114 N. St. Mary's St.

(210) 455-0233

3. Cooter Brown's Saloon

11881 Bandera Road, Helotes

(210) 263-1852

Winner: The Friendly Spot Ice House

943 S. Alamo St.

(210) 224-2337

A good michelada starts with fine Mexican beer, so it makes sense that Friendly Spot scored big with readers for both its expansive brew selection and the quality of its micheladas. Beyond that, a good michelada requires a recipe that honors its key ingredients —  frosty lager plus tomato juice and spice. This one gets the blend right, delivering the right amounts of tomatoey umami and lingering heat. The Southtown favorite's win for best ice house no doubt comes down to its on-site playground, community atmosphere and a giant screen to watch the Spurs.

2. Flying Saucer Draught Emporium

11255 Huebner Road #212

(210) 696-5080

3. Big Hops

Multiple locations

Winner: Bonham Exchange

411 Bonham

(210) 224-9219

2. Brass Monkey

2702 N. St. Mary's St.

(210) 480-4722

3. Heat Nightclub

1500 N. Main Ave.

(210) 227-2600

Winner: The Mix

2423 N. St Mary's St.

(210) 735-1313

Is the Mix really a dive? Many readers made that call, so we won't quibble, even if we can think of plenty of bars that are smaller, seedier and more spartan. Since opening in October 1997, the Mix has remained a constant on the oft-changing North St. Mary's Strip, especially when it comes to presenting live music in an unpretentious setting. Although the venue has changed ownership and management in the last decade, it continues to host a variety of local and touring performers from punk and metal to goth and even a traveling circus act. Throw in affordable drink prices and a chill atmosphere, and it's no wonder the Mix remains a local fave — whether or not it truly qualifies as a dive.

2. Oak Hills Tavern

7920 Fredericksburg Road

(210) 614-8855

3. Faust Tavern

517 E. Woodlawn Ave.

(210) 257-0628