Greatest Hits & Deep Cuts: Where to Score Late-Nite Grub in San Antonio

Arirang Korean Restaurant - Scott Andrews
Scott Andrews
Arirang Korean Restaurant

Few things (other than not imbibing) offer better anti-hangover insurance than a greasy, carb-laden feast at 2 a.m. And whether you crave tacos, wings or gravy-laden chicken-fried steak at that time, San Antonio can deliver.

But there’s more good news here. The Alamo City also serves up plenty other variations on the late-night nosh — from fiery Asian fare to sophisticated wine-bar grazing. Sure, a handful of neighborhoods roll up the sidewalks after 9 p.m., but we found a broad sampling of wee-hours dining options scattered through the city.

Greatest Hits

Mi Tierra Café & Bakery
You haven’t experienced San Antonio until you’ve experienced Mi Tierra in the middle of the night. And we’re not just talking the standard-setting Tex-Mex fare, the blindingly bright décor or the deafening mariachis. This downtown icon is the place to witness local politicos and VIPs rubbing elbows with River Walk revelers and wide-eyed tourists, all in varying states of toastiness. 218 Produce Row, (210) 225-1262, Open 24 hours.

Lulu’s Bakery & Cafe
Operating from a former near-downtown Denny’s, this diner is all about mega-sized servings of comfort food — ideal stomach filler after a night of drinking. Expect chicken-fried steaks and omelets that hang off the edge of their serving platters and sweet rolls that could feed a family of eight. 918 N. Main Ave., (210) 951-2802, Open 24 hours.

Jim’s Restaurants
The homegrown diner chain’s slogan may be “There’s always Jim’s,” but check the web to make sure which of them are open around the clock. In addition to burgers and fries, Jim’s delivers on biscuit-embellished breakfasts, home-cooked pies and other fare bound to appeal after a night out. Multiple locations, Some locations open 24 hours.

Taco Cabana
The ubiquitous San Antonio-born Tex-Mex chain is a 2 a.m. drive-through tradition. After all, tacos are the ultimate post-bar crowd pleaser. Check the web, though, as some locations are 24-hours, while others close at 4 a.m., 1 a.m. or midnight. Multiple locations, Some locations open 24 hours.

All freestanding locations of this Alamo City-based chain are open 24 hours. Whether drive-through or dine-in, the namesake burgers are regional mana and the breakfast taquitos, available with a surprisingly authentic tomatillo salsa, aren’t far behind. Multiple locations, Open 24 hours.

Liberty Bar - Instagram / mayoo.tha
Instagram / mayoo.tha
Liberty Bar

Liberty Bar
Liberty Bar’s focus on locally sourced ingredients and creative takes on Texas and Northern Mexican cuisine has earned it a following that extends beyond Southtown. A selection of affordable apps and sandwiches make it an elevated late-night choice after a gallery stroll or few pints at Bar America. 1111 S. Alamo, (210) 227-1187, Open until midnight.

Deep Cuts

Because late-night cravings can be more sophisticated than a bean-and-cheese or a burger. This neighborhood pizzeria dishes up creatively topped pies — such as hash browns with taleggio cheese, kale and honey — in addition to chic starters and salads. The bartenders also shake up some the best craft cocktails in town. 2720 McCullough Ave., (210) 320-2261, Open until midnight Sunday-Thursday, 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Zinc Bistro & Bar
Menu options at this downtown wine bar run the gamut from sophisticated faux gras to down-home three-cheese chile mac. Salads, pizzas and a lamb burger beautiful enough to be the cover star of the Current’s 2019 burger issue round out the offerings. Not to mention, vino from the extensive cellar can pair with just about anything. 207 N. Presa St., (210) 224-2900, Kitchen is open until midnight.

Zinc Bistro & Bar - Instagram / s.a.vortooth
Instagram / s.a.vortooth
Zinc Bistro & Bar

Cullum’s Attagirl
Located off the St. Mary’s strip, Attagirl bills itself as a chicken shack — and it certainly does know how to fry up a bird (and its wings). But also expect creative spins on other Southern food. The outside tables are perfect for pet-friendly dining or sipping one of the spot’s many craft beer selections and watching the strip’s spectacle. 726 E. Mistletoe Ave., (210) 437-4263, Open until midnight Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday, 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Arirang Korean Restaurant
The perfect destination after a night of karaoke, this mom-and-pop joint serves up a sizable menu of well-executed Korean dishes including a crisp and approachable seafood pancake, incendiary soups and tantalizing marinated pork bulgogi. What the building and Austin Highway setting lack in charm, the owners make up for in hospitality. 2154 Austin Hwy., (210) 650-3845, Open until 2 a.m. Monday-Saturday, midnight Sunday.

This just-north-of-downtown bar, grill and music venue boasts a variety of tortas, tacos and empanadas that defy bar-food expectations. From the locally sourced ingredients to the addictive avocado salsa, the food really is a cut above. Vegan and vegetarian options are available too. 628 Jackson St., (210) 320-1840, Kitchen is open until midnight Sunday-Thursday, 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.


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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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