Used to be that local denizens of the dark had limited late-night feeding options: Mi Tierra pairing enchiladas and mariachis and Earl Abel's mating insomniacs to fried chicken. Mi Tierra Restaurant & Bakery (218 Produce Row, 210-225-1262) still soldiers on. But a new breed of night owls has emerged, encouraged in part by upscale bars intent on serving more than pickled eggs and beef jerky. Here are more than a few and their late kitchen hours.
Barbaro • (2720 McCullough Ave., 210-320-2261): Salads, sure, but late at night you likely want pork belly with navy beans, one of the well-tailored pizzas and/or a pear tart with pine nuts. On Friday and Saturday after 11, take your chances with the Late Night Special menu. Enjoy late night pies Sunday-Thursday through midnight and Friday-Saturday to 1 a.m.
Crossroads Southern Kitchen • (517 E. Woodlawn Ave., 210-257-0628): You order at the patio window outside Faust Tavern, then head inside for a cheap beer or a well-made Old Fashioned as you wait for the likes of smoked-fried mushrooms, Not Texas chili or a fried chicken "sammich." Chow down Tuesday-Sunday 'til 2 a.m.
The Esquire Tavern • (155 E. Commerce St., 210-222-2521): Esquire's kitchen is open seriously late on weekends for tacos con papas, hearty pozole rojo, bison burgers and fancy chicken and dumplings. We couldn't do a 16-ounce Texas Wagyu after midnight, but maybe you can. The kitchen stays open through 1 a.m. Thursday-Saturday.
Francis Bogside • (803 S. St. Mary's St., 210-988-3093): Bogside borrows from next-door Brigid's kitchen for its own bar-centric menu of rustic fare in the bacon and cabbage and corned beef hash vein. Lately, specials seem to be veering in an Asian direction with curries and noodle salads. Pizza, too. Get your fill Monday-Saturday to 2 a.m. and Sunday through midnight.
Hot Joy • (1014 S. Alamo St., 210-368-9324): If you need a shot of spice to keep the system functioning, Hot Joy can provide jolts from its regular menu most nights. Friday and Saturday, a late-night menu may include dishes such as butternut curry rice and black curry with pork belly. Stop by Sunday-Thursday 'til 11 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 'til 1 a.m.
Liberty Bar • (1111 S. Alamo St., 210-227-1187): Liberty's late menu is served from 10 p.m. onward and includes popular faves such as pear and stilton salad, steak tartare, a build-your-own pizza, pot roast and, of course, the enduring classic, Virginia Green's chocolate cake. Take in a pie through midnight.
MezcalerÍa Mixtli • (5313 McCullough Ave., 210-320-1660): Mezcalería's comida has been catching up to its cocktails. Consider small plates such as esquites, larger ones on the order of chicharron en salsa verde or selections from the traditional evening eats section: the sincronizada with cheese and ham, molletes with black bean, chicken and more. The kitchen is open Tuesday-Thursday to midnight and Friday-Saturday to 2 a.m.
The Old Main Association • (2512 N. Main Ave., 210-562-3440): Old Main's food menu is as eclectic as they come, spanning a gamut from fried sweetbreads and chicharron fries to the now-famous concha burger and the should-be-famous bangers and kraut. Had a lot to drink? Time for cauliflower and crispy pig's ear. The eats are served Monday-Friday to midnight and Saturday to 1 a.m.
Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery • (136 E. Grayson St., 210-455-5701): Boozing at Blue Box? Stagger on over to Southerleigh for a foodcap from their "mid-shift/late-shift" menu. Chicken cracklins with hot sauce, smothered chicken wings with red-eye gravy or wake-you-up iced oysters with balsamic-shallot mignonette should do the trick. Stop in Monday-Thursday to midnight and Friday-Saturday to 1 a.m.
Zinc Bistro & Wine Bar • (207 N. Presa St., 210-224-2900): The "crack burger" for sure. Then consider calamari worth the calories, Gulf blue crabcakes, Texas lamb pappardelle or the ancho crusted short rib sandwich. Molten chocolate cake with cajeta will provide a useful, if brief, sugar jolt. Eat great late until 2 a.m. nightly.