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Local bartender breathes new life into downtown cantina, preserving ‘old San Antonio‘ vibes 

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Recently-opened Tony’s Siesta oozes tio vibes y puro SA attitude.

Situated at 206 Brooklyn Avenue near downtown, Tony’s Siesta aims to preserve the comfortable atmosphere of the previous spot — revered watering hole Tony’s Bar — while embracing the growth of SA as a food and beverage destination.

Previous owner Tony Lopez closed the doors on the aptly named bar late last year, retiring after 20 years of providing ice cold beer and comfortable vibes to blue collar locals in the downtown area. In its place, Tony's Siesta has emerged with an upgraded interior, but the same 'Old San Antonio' feeling.

"When I was introduced to Tony and the idea of taking over, they were one and the same, Tony and the bar," new proprietor Andy Palacios told the Current. "It’s small enough to be a friendly neighborhood bar, but still downtown, where a people can experience puro vibes, inspired by Old San Antonio and Mexican heritage. If I could put SA in a bar, this would be it."

Palacios — a seasoned veteran in the local bar scene with a pedigree that includes stints at craft cocktail joints Blue Box and Francis Bogside — had plans to leave the bar industry for a spell when acquiring Tony's became a possibility.

"The stars really aligned for us, because I was getting ready to get a 9-to-5," he said. "I've always wanted to open up my own bar, but banks want to see consistent income. As a bartender, that's tough, because we typically take home cash."

With the help of hospitality entrepeneur program Break Fast and Launch, Palacios secured an investor, and later, a small business loan through nonprofit organization LiftFund.

While the exterior of the building — including an iconic, twenty-year-old replica of the Tower of the Americas — remains largely untouched, the interior of the Siesta now boasts rich splashes of color, warm wooden accents and punchy neon details.

The bar is currently operating in a soft opening capacity, and Palacios is planning a November 21 grand opening. In the meantime, the bar at Tony’s Siesta offers a variety of liquid treats, from tequila to beer to boozy aguas frescas. Enjoy drinks and food truck eats inside the cozy bar area, or bundled up outside at one of many socially-distanced picnic tables.

The cantina is open Monday through Wednesday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Thursday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to midnight.

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

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January 26, 2022

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