The New Cantina: Local Joints are Keeping the Tradition Alive with a Twist

click to enlarge Sanchos - Jessica Elizarraras
Jessica Elizarraras
Bar America
Once the city’s best jukebox, Bar America’s newest owners have taken the cantina concept and added modern fixtures — credit cards, liquor, brunch — and it works. Southtown’s Bar America is now in a new phase and we’re digging it. 723 S. Alamo St., (210) 223-1285,

Frankly Diablos
What better way to honor cantinas than with a full-blown lineup urban myth shots based on local folklore such as La Chancla made with pickle juice, chamoy, vodka and lime. Don’t miss the Midget Mansion, Donkey Lady, La Lechuza or dance with the Devil either. 1301 Roosevelt Ave., (210) 577-5900,

El Luchador
Honoring Mexican wrestlers, or luchadores, Roosevelt’s El Luchador features a luchador theme as executed by business partners Ricardo Briones, Jesse Campos, Vanessa Martinez and Billy Mendoza. Craft beer shares the stage with domestics, crazy shot specials (menudo shots, anyone?), and weekly live trivia. 622 Roosevelt, (210) 272-0016,
click to enlarge Bar America - Courtesy
Bar America
From one of the owners of The Cove, Sanchos has treated us to a lineup of Mexican beers, cold margaritas, and awesome bites. From the nachos to the tacos and everything in between, the bar keeps folks coming back with happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. daily. The view of downtown doesn’t hurt either. 628 Jackson St., (210) 320-1840,

The Squeezebox
When it opened in 2016, Squeezebox filled a Salute-sized hold in San Antonio’s heart in the middle of the St. Mary’s Strip and then some. It’s a go-to for shot and wash specials, dancing and hot cumbias, Conjunto, Tejano, and throwback jams Tuesday through Sunday. 2806 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 314-8845,


Since 1986, the SA Current has served as the free, independent voice of San Antonio, and we want to keep it that way.

Becoming an SA Current Supporter for as little as $5 a month allows us to continue offering readers access to our coverage of local news, food, nightlife, events, and culture with no paywalls.

Join today to keep San Antonio Current.

Scroll to read more City Guide articles

Join SA Current Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.