Back in April, the Current asked readers to pick the best of just about everything in San Antonio. From hairdresser to steakhouse and then some, you, our dear sweet, baby angel readers handpicked the places to go and the things to see in our fair city.
Lüke San Antonio was voted best happy hour with good reason, but surprisingly, Taco Cabana came in at No. 2. This triggered a few snickers and eye rolls throughout the staff, so I had to figure out why our trusty readers would choose this over other happy hours in town.
Admittedly, I wasn’t a complete stranger to the daily happy hour (yep, Saturdays and Sundays, too). The original location, which recently got a retro facelift in September, is but a block from my apartment. Neighboring friends and I have congregated there on Sundays when margarita cravings hit and we don’t want to deal with busy eateries.
Here’s why Taco Cabana’s second place finish in the Current’s Best Of poll makes sense: Happy hour at Taco C is embarrassingly cheap. That’s it. During my weekday visit, the location was relatively busy with solo diners and groups loading up on nachos, $1.50 domestic beers and 10-ounce margaritas.
The San Pedro location is still sparkling clean (at least for a Taco Cabana), and whether or not nostalgia was the motivation behind the grayish brown paint job with yellow accents, the original still has that kitschy feel found at other Taco Cs. The open-air dining area was closed in and a cool air-conditioned breeze filled the space. The dining room window was filled with the history of the chain, dating back to when owner Felix Stehling opened the patio.
My houndin’ partner and I placed our order, happily providing the cashier with our IDs. We asked for margaritas (frozen is the only option available), with salt, and pooled our appetites to try and take down an order of large beef nachos. With the $1.50 discount on nachos, our giant plate of loaded, gooey nacho cheese (they were somehow out of shredded cheese that afternoon) atop red chips totaled $4.89.
The margs are doled out at the counter, but don’t get greedy—the staff will cut you off after three drinks. Turns out that happens a lot, and why shouldn’t it? The icy concoctions are boozy and tart and go hand-in-hand with cheesy Tex-Mex.
Will I ever doubt our readers again? Yes, all the time—I’m skeptical that way. But I’ll probably start having more faith in cheap happy hour recommendations.