Diving into San Antonio's Cocktail Bars and Pubs

Hanzo, Photo by Jacqueline Fierro
Hanzo  is both more colorful (consider the “scales” opposite the bar) than most Mahoney operations — and more thematically focused. And that focus snaps into special sharpness with the drink menu created by crazy-creative cocktailian Nick Kenna. Brush up on your Asian-themed movie references (Kill Bill, for example).

Hightlights include the Thrilla in Vanilla with Japanese whiskey and vanilla-infused sweet vermouth (not to worry — the vanilla is geisha-demure); Southern Root with tequila, mezcal, carrot, ginger yuzu and citrus (both pretty and potent); Miso Hungry (sake, shochu, miso syrup and more — just umami’d enough); Matcha Matcha Man (Kinsman Rakia and gin with matcha powder, orgeat and chocolate bitters); and the challenging but must-try The Bride with turmeric-infused vodka, sake, orgeat and habanero tincture.

And the snacks are can’t-miss. Seafood okonomiyaki excels, as well as the perfectly fried and salty pork dumplings. You won’t leave hungry. 7701 Broadway, Suite 124, (210) 826-1488, hanzobar.com.

1919 Expertly made cocktails, a speakeasy setting and monthly spirit tastings complete with bites are found at this Blue Star Art Complex nook. 1420 S. Alamo St., Suite 001, (210) 227-1420, facebook.com/1919sa.

Bar America This Southtown favorite is serving up bar snacks these days. Their happy hour specials vary by day and are perfect for those on a budget. 723 S. Alamo St., (210) 223-1285, baramericasatx.com.

Bexar Pub Opened by chef Luis Colon and Daniel Eisenhauer of Folc and Park Social, this Eastside pub features a menu of house cocktails, a full bar and beer in cans and draft. Stop in for one of the best burgers in Texas. 114 Brooklyn Ave., (210) 236-7828, facebook.com/bexarpub.

Big Hops Offering a long list of local beer on tap at any of their three locations, including Bitters, Huebner and the Hays Street Bridge, Big Hops is a must-stop for craft beer lovers. Multiple locations, bighops.com.

Blue Box Tasty cocktails meet a great happy hour. Come game time, the staff sets you up with free snacks made by some of the city’s best chefs. Bartenders are friendly and accommodating to even the pickiest drinker or cocktail newbie. 312 Pearl Pkwy., (210) 227-2583.

click to enlarge COURTESY OF BLUE BOX
Courtesy of Blue Box

The Broadway 5050 San Antonio’s original, swanky good times bar has been an Alamo Heights favorite since opening its doors in 1927. 5050 Broadway, (210) 826-0069, broadway5050.com.

 The Brooklynite With antique décor, good music and a tasty food truck fare, The Brooklynite serves up award-winning craft cocktails. Stop in on weekends for snacks by sage savory. 516 Brooklyn Ave., (210) 444-0707, thebrooklynitesa.com.

Burleson Yard Beer Garden This pet and kid-friendly bar near the Hays Street Bridge is a traditional beer garden with indoor and outdoor seating. Pick from their long list of beers or opt for wine or liquor, and grab snacks at one of the food trucks. 430 Austin St., (210) 354-3001, facebook.com/burlesonyard.

Copa Wine Bar Voted best wine bar in 2014’s Current Best Of readers poll, Copa is worth a trip to the city’s North Side with their wine and tapas. 19141 Stone Oak Pkwy., (210) 495-2672, thecopawinebar.com.

Cullum’s Attagirl Just off the N. St. Mary’s strip, Attagirl a ever-evolving list of craft beers alongside their famous chicken wings, fried bologna pimento sandwiches and more. 726 E. Mistletoe Ave., (210) 437-4263, facebook.com/cullumsattagirl.

The Esquire Tavern A San Antonio original, Esquire Tavern serves up crafted cocktails, wine and craft beers alongside some serious eats like their signature bison burger and charcuterie at Downstairs. 155 E. Commerce St., (210) 222-2521, esquiretavern-sa.com.

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium Back before San Antonio turned into a craft town (well, we’re working on it), there was the Saucer. Excellent for pups on patios, great sandwiches, expert service and, yes, hundreds of beers to choose from, the Saucer isn’t going anywhere any time soon. 11255 Huebner Road, Suite 212, (210) 696-5080, beerknurd.com.

Francis Bogside After a fire put this pub out of commision, this Southtown fave will make a comeback later this year with most of its cocktail and food menu inside a bigger footprint (RIP, Brigid). 803 S. St. Mary’s St., (210) 988-3093.

click to enlarge COURTESY OF FREETAIL
Courtesy of Freetail
Freetail Brewing Beers on tap, crafted by Alex Rattray and co., change regularly and food comes by way of fantastic brick oven pizzas. 4035 N. Loop 1604 W., Suite 105, (210) 625-6000, freetailbrewing.com

GS1221 Sometimes we wish we lived at 1221 Broadway so we too could have a downstairs bar/community space. Alas, we don’t. But that doesn’t stop us from going for all the local and regional craft beer we can get our hands and growlers on. The Tiff’s Treats next door is a pleasant bonus. 1221 Broadway, Suite 116, gs1221.com.

El Luchador The newly opened lucha-libre themed bar off Roosevelt has a cantina vibe with a bar, dance floor, lounge area and patio. 622 Roosevelt Ave., (210) 272-0016, facebook.com/luchadorbarsa.

Haunt Sleek and spooky, this Downtown joint makes it easy to get in a happy hour before dinner at sister restaurant Rebelle. Hold your séance here while sipping on cocktails inspired by the specters that haunt the St. Anthony Hotel. 300 E. Travis St., (210) 227-4392, facebook.com/hauntsa.

High Street Wine Co. Wine lovers of all levels will enjoy a visit (or two or three, we’re not judging) to this Pearl-based wine bar. The only thing better than the selection of reds, whites, rosés and bubbles? High Streets awe-inspiring charcuterie boards. 302 Pearl Pkwy., Suite 104, (210) 908-9144, highstreetwine.com.

Hoppy Monk This Northside bar features over 50 beers on tap, as well as delicious cuisine and cocktails made from fresh ingredients and local products. Stop in for mezcal! 1010 N Loop 1604 E., (210) 545-3330, thehoppymonk.com/sanantonio.

Knockout The newest addition to the Main Strip includes daily inexpensive happy hours and is split into two rooms for variety. Grab a slice from their attached Pup’s Pizza as early as 11 a.m. or late night. 1420 N. Main Ave., (210) 227-7678, knockoutsa.com.

The Lion & Rose Four locations around town serve up British pub fare and draught beer. Enjoy fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and bangers, mash and beans while watching futbol on the big screens. Multiple locations, thelionandrose.com.

Lowcountry There’s a whole lot to love about this bar that blends country vibes with Southern charm inside a historic home. Bar snacks include lovely pickles and boiled peanuts. Grab a cold one and enjoy live music on the back patio. 318 Martinez St., (210) 560-2224, lowcountrysa.com.

Luther’s Cafe After relocating a few times, Luther’s remains a staple on the Main strip. Stop in early or late and select from their varied menu of food and drinks inside or on the patio. Stay for karaoke on Friday or dinner and a show on Saturdays. 1503 N. Main Ave., (210) 223-7727, lutherscafe.com.

Oak Hills Tavern This Medical Center dive bar features 14 taps of local and Texas beers, bar games like pool and darts, and a varied menu with pizza, tacos, burgers and more. 7920 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 614-8855, facebook.com/oakhillstavern.

Paramour Perfect for all your selfies and party pics, Paramour elevated the bar scene literally. As Downtown’s first rooftop bar, the sprawling location brings in tourists and locals alike for classic cocktails, cheeky house concoctions (read: get a fun bag), quality service and a new food menu by Jason Dady. 109 9th St., Sutie 400, (210) 307-8740, paramourbar.com.

The Pigpen The neighborhood bar features wine, beer on draft or in cans and bottles, and specialty drinks like the brisket bloody mary and frozen Moscow mule. Feeling hungry? Pair your drink with some nachos or a grilled cheese. 106 Pershing Ave., (210) 267-9136, thepigpensa.com.

The Squeezebox With the Sulla Strada Pizza truck on the patio and a puro vibe that combines Tejano, cumbias, and dance hits, there’s something for everyone at this popular joint. 2806 N. St. Mary's St., facebook.com/thesqueezebox.

TBA This St. Mary’s Strip secret serves up handcrafted drinks and tasty bites. A serious happy hour packs inexpensive house cocktails, beers, grilled cheese and charcuterie. 2801 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 320-1753, tbasatx.com.

Zinc Bistro & Wine Bar The prickly pear margaritas aren’t just ’gram-worthy, they’re strong and delicious. Pair them with the Crack Burger, or peruse the wine selection — your call. 207 N. Presa St., (210) 224-2900, zincwine.com.

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