Who needs only one bar when you can barhop from dive to dive in search of the next best adventure? We're heading across town in search of the bar trifecta. The expedition begins just outside 410 with stops to Crazy Ape, Marty's Cocktails and Clark's Bar's Coco Beach. Grab some friends and off you go.
9930 San Pedro Ave., (210) 375-5813, facebook.com/TheCrazyApe
Setting: Don't trust your Google Maps, or Apple Maps for that matter, when trying to locate this joint. Instead, head north on San Pedro Avenue, take a right on Ramsey Road and turn right just past the canary yellow building that houses Casa Sol Mexican Restaurant. Held inside a gray brick building with faded blue awnings, the bar's exteriors aren't any indication of what's inside. Crazy Ape is broken down into several wood panel-lined rooms filled with mix and matched furniture ranging from stools, to lounge-y couches and two ornate dark cherry wood thrones just left of the main entrance. And while you can take in BBC's Later ... with Jools Holland in the afternoons, don't forget to count the portraits of apes and primates that hang around the walls.
When Is Beer Cheapest: Uhhhh, most of the time? For starters, you're not going here for the local beers on draft. Happy hour specials, which are featured throughout the day, include $2.50 wells, $3 imports.
Fellow Bar-goers: Regulars, blue-collar work force and service industry made up the bulk of the laidback traffic during our visit.
Activities: A few dartboards are found in one of the backrooms, along with a popcorn machine, naturally. Texas Tuesdays include karaoke and ladies nights are Wednesdays.
Why It's Great: Service was excellent, the beers were cold and pickle backs are a must.
603 Isom Rd., (210) 341-9259, martysspirits.com
Setting: Take a right out of Crazy Ape and head less than a mile east to Marty's Cocktails. Located in the same shopping center as a café, salon, realty office and who knows what else, Marty's is also much more than meets the eye. This country-esque bar is filled to the gills with Texan sport memorabilia (including a painted scene out of most Spurs games with Tony Parker and Timmy held in sweet embrace). As this is also a sports bar, there are several flat screens available to take in a game or two.
When Is Beer Cheapest: Again, you're not going to break the bank here. Happy hour runs noon to 7 p.m. with daily specials. For instance, Thursdays currently mean $4 you-call-it blasters (your choice of liquor with a shot of Red Bull) and $3 Cuervo.
Fellow Bar-goers: The scene is decidedly older. Don't rock the boat — the regulars won't like it.
Activities: Quite possibly the most hi-tech dartboard — with a tiny shot monitor and every sound effect under the sun — I've ever seen is plugged in here. Would-be crooners can enjoy karaoke on Fridays and Saturdays at 9:30 p.m. Take in The Jon Riviera & Friends comedy and variety show on the first Saturday of the month, or play Texas Hold 'Em on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Oh, and there's free wi-fi.
Why It's Great: The old school country jams are on point, you can't possible spend more than $20 and the popcorn is relatively fresh.
12159 Valliant St., (210) 341-5330, cocobeach.clarksbars.com
Setting: At this point, your DD should definitely be behind the wheel (this is where Uber would come in handy, San Antonio). Then head to Nakoma Street where this beach-y oasis is found betwixt beige warehouses and boring office buildings. You can't miss it — it's the one with the tiki hut and strung up marlin above the door. Once inside, the "Port Aransas-fucked-South-Padre-and-this-is-their-lovechild" vibe persists. There's a mounted faux-shark head by the dartboard nook, which also held barbecue plates and a chocolate bundt cake on this occasion (and yes, more popcorn). Don't miss the indoor cabana with white cushions (a bold choice) and sheer, gauzy curtains that provide a hint of privacy.
When Is Beer Cheapest: Daily specials include a rotating list of $2.50 beers and liquors. Happy hour runs 2 to 8 p.m. with $2 domestics and wells. My bartender (who looked way too much like actress Anna Kendrick) looked at me funny when I asked for a piña colada.
Fellow Bar-goers: Lots of guys named Randy, a quarreling couple, regulars who love Jimmy Buffett
Activities: Darts, drinking and messin' with the jukebox trying to find "Margaritaville."
Why It's Great: For when you can't stand sand and don't have the PTO to take off to the coast, Coco Beach comes through.