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Downing ‘Em Downtown: Familiar Center San Antonio Drinking Spots Offering New Twists 

click to enlarge Burleson Yard Beer Garden - JESSICA ELIZARRARAS
  • Jessica Elizarraras
  • Burleson Yard Beer Garden
Editor's Note: Nightlifer is a column focused on bars and late-night entertainment in the Alamo City.

It’s easy to fall into a happy hour rut — you lose track of cocktail menus, pass on the places that you’ve visited more than a handful of times and stick to the cheap specials you know.

When that happens, it may be time to venture downtown again or onto the St. Mary’s Strip. There you’ll find new bars, fresh local talent and, of course, the reasonably priced drinks that you didn’t know you needed.

El Bújo
One of the newest additions to the Strip, this tiny bar extends out back into an open and comfortable patio with plenty of picnic tables. Wells and beers are standard, but the bartenders have created a handful of fun San Antonio-inspired originals like the Fruit Cup, made with peach vodka and several fruit juices, and the Spicy Cucumber, a blend of cucumber vodka and citrus juices with a spicy tamarind rim. Classics like Palomas, Old Fashioneds and even a French 77 are featured suggestions. The prices are nice, and the beverages are dressed to the puro nines with chili and chamoy. 2710 N St Mary’s Street, 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.- 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Rosella at the Rand
New bar manager Denise DeGlopper, formally of Lowcountry, is coming in hot with a new cocktail menu at Rosella’s downtown location. Delicate ingredients like celery juice, elderflower and basil give a refreshing lift to many cocktails on the adventurous menu, while standards like Old Fashioneds and Daiquiris are solid and balanced. Rosella’s been long known for a good cup of coffee, but cocktails are the new attraction — and the skilled, all-female bar staff is among the best in San Antonio. You can tell yourself it’s five o’clock somewhere. It’s well worth the afternoon buzz. 114 E Houston Street, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-12 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Hot Joy
Need some Tiki in your life? San Antonio’s only Tiki-driven bar menu can be found in Southtown. Using specialty ingredients like passion fruit and cane syrup, the pan-Asian dining spot has launched a new happy hour menu featuring deliciously fruity yet deceptively strong cocktails. Try six new and classic creations discounted at $6. The Frozen Zombie, a tropical-drink staple, packs a real punch. They’re so boozy, your bartender will limit you to just two. Happy hour specials run 5-7 p.m. daily. 1014 S Alamo Street, 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Burleson Yard
This city loves its ice houses, and when the weather is nice, Burleson Yard fills with San Antonians soaking up sun and sipping cold beverages. While most ice houses are known for a solid beer selection, Burleson’s bartenders also mix a mean cocktail, making it a perfect place to gather all your friends, no matter their beverage preference. With 20 taps that include sours, ciders, IPAs and a full bar, the day-drinking possibilities are endless. The bar, located just east of downtown, regularly hosts great local food trucks and community events.
430 Austin Street, 3 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday, noon-2 a.m. Saturday-Sunday.

So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest San Antonio dining news with our Flavor Friday Newsletter.

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