Cool Down with a Cold One

click to enlarge These dives keep San Anto real.
These dives keep San Anto real.

On certain days the workplace feels like a monotonous inferno of crumpled sticky notes and forgotten to-do lists in a nightmare straight out of Office Space. These long days unfold into even longer weeks, leaving us world-weary and in dire need of a place where our frazzled hair and tattered business casual aren't targets of judgment — a place like happy hour at a dive bar.

Settled in a tiny strip mall off Harry Wurzbach is the Thursty Turtle (1626 NE Loop 410, 210-820-3600). Only a stone's throw away from the perpetually bustlin' Magic Time Machine, the Turtle presents itself as the perfect respite from the office, complete with billiards, couches for kicking back and friendly regulars.

Boozehounds (8531 Perrin Beitel Road, 210-590-3223) is housed in yet another unassuming strip mall across from Loop 410. Distinguished by a smattering of electronic dartboards and a stage for live music, the massive bar serves as a safe haven for blue collar workers with a mind for drinking booze on a tight budget. Expect lots of swearin' and loud yellin' during football season.

Unpretentious karaoke digs, Me and CA Karaoke Bar (8373 Perrin Beitel Road, 210-590-6322), await customers on the other side of the overpass. While the tavern's Sunday Funday is the best bet for thrifty drinkers — think $2.75 wells, $3.25 imports and $4.25 calls all day — an evening spent serenading a room of average-looking 30-somethings is always a win.

Affordability meets prototypical bar entertainment at Sir Winston's Pub (2522 Nacogdoches Road, 210-829-5933), a social hub for clocked-out employees during happy hour, which features $2 wells Monday through Friday from noon to 3 p.m. Boasting a cozy atmosphere and a diverse clientele, Sir Winston's is further proof that strip malls and happy hour at the bar go together like hops and grains in the city of San Antone.

See the rest of the list.