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December 16, 2021 Slideshows » Food & Drink

The 100 best bars in San Antonio 2021 

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It’s a longtime Alamo City ritual to swig from a longneck on the breezy patio of a neighborhood icehouse. But there’s also a venerable tradition of bellying up at classy downtown drinking spots where impeccably dressed barkeeps pour special-occasion cocktails.

San Antonio’s bar scene is no one thing, and it’s ever-expanding. Which is why the Current has compiled its first list of our 100 favorite bars. They run the gamut from dingy dives and funky neighborhood haunts to revered downtown destinations and outposts of creative mixology. And, well, pretty much anything in between.

We hope to make this an annual affair, assuming our livers hold out. We had fun doing the research, and we’re guessing you’ll also stumble upon good times as you explore those that are new to you. Just remember, this isn’t a ranked list — our choices are compiled in alphabetical order.

Of course, you may grit your teeth in anger a few times when you discover personal favorites that didn’t make the list. Believe us, it was tough to narrow the array down to 100. We had to make tough choices — and there’s always next year.

Given the explosion in local brewing and distilling operations, we opted to include some of those as well. Again, it was difficult narrowing them down. Those that made the list did so because of the unique quality of their bar experience, and it’s not a knock on the quality of the beer or spirits of those that didn’t.

Bottoms up, SA!
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1. 2015 Place
This longtime LGBTQ+ nightspot on San Pedro Avenue has more of a neighborhood dive vibe than the sparkly spots on the Main Drag. And that's kinda the best thing about it. The drinks are cheap, the bartenders are on their game and folks are friendly. Throw in thumping music, a relaxing patio, a mirrored dance floor and diversions including darts and pool and you've got the makings of a great night of inclusive fun that's off the beaten path — well, by a few blocks, anyway. 2015 San Pedro Ave., (210) 733-3365, 2015-place.business.site.
Photo by Sanford Nowlin
2. 502 Bar
This bar-slash-venue was a welcome addition to the U.S. Highway 281 corridor, where options for musical entertainment, especially of the original variety, haven't always been plentiful. With a diverse booking policy and a pro-level sound system, the 502 has lasted in the live music game because it does things right. Throw in roughly 30 or so beer taps, mostly dedicated to craft brews, and dedicated open mic and karaoke nights, and you've got plenty of reasons to keep coming back. 502 Embassy Oaks, (210) 257-8125, 502bar.com.
Photo via Instagram / cycliciousb
3. Alibis Sports & Spirits
You'll find 70 varieties of beer at St. Paul Square outpost Alibis, but something you won't find is tourists. If you're downtown and want to imbibe where locals and service industry folks alike hang out, this is that spot. The drinks are cheap, the front yard offers a relaxing space for people watching, and live acts, open-mic nights and karaoke provide background din. For college football fans, Alamodome-adjacent Alibis is a no-brainer for pre-tailgate drinks. 1141 E. Commerce St., (210) 225-5552, facebook.com/alibissportsandspirits.
Photo via Instagram / fatsauceband
4. Amor Eterno
This Southtown spot helmed by Brian Correa and Aaron Peña — proprietors of iconic Bar America and the Squeezebox respectively — debuted last New Year's Eve and immediately grabbed attention with its elevated cocktails and a sexy ambiance. Billed as a love letter to puro San Antonio cultura, the bar is small but bursting with personality. Aside from the inventive cocktails — try the tequila-heavy Chile Girl — the inviting and intimate space is an homage to our city's old school vibes. Custom wallpaper, velvet wall treatments and cozy nooks make for an ambiance that accommodates date night or after-dinner nightcaps. 540 S. Presa St., facebook.com/Amor-Eterno-104928765099182.
Photo courtesy of Amor Eterno
5. The Bang Bang Bar
Opened in 2016 by two members of the band Girl in Coma — the ones who went on to form FEA, for those keeping score at home — made an immediate splash with its vintage furnishings, inclusive atmosphere and creative drinks. Six years on, there's still plenty to love about this welcoming spot that works equally well as a live-music venue, a place to sink into a well-loved couch for conversation over cocktails or a place to get in some competitive Skee Ball or pool hustling. 119 El Mio Dr., (210) 320-1187, thebangbangbartx.com.
Photo by Julian Ledezma
6. Bar 1919
San Antonio's had a boom in swanky cocktail spots, but this Blue Star Arts Complex stalwart remains a high-water mark. The basement speakeasy feel is spot on, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a more robust list of Scotch and bourbon pretty much anywhere, which is humorously highlighted by their snub of vodka — you'll only find a single brand. Rounding it all out, the impeccably dressed bar staff know their stuff without feeling the need to get all snobby about it. So there. 1420 S. Alamo St., (210) 227-1420, bar1919.com.
Photo via Instagram / sacurrent
7. Bar 601 at the Tower of the Americas
Soaring 750 feet above the Alamo City, Bar 601's key attraction is its killer view. Snag a bar seat in the stationary lounge while the attached restaurant rotates slowly, giving diners a panoramic view of the cityscape. Whether you're showing out-of-towners the lay of the land or wooing a new potential boo, the visuals make for an icebreaker that's hard to beat. Sip on a well-balanced pomegranate martini or a glass of wine while you try to spot your favorite landmarks from the sky. 739 E. César E. Chávez Blvd., (210) 223-3101, toweroftheamericas.com.
Photo via Instagram / cease_dls
8. Bar America
Yes, many of us miss the old Bar America with its scarred Formica tabletops, disintegrating flooring and abuelitas serving cold beers. Yes, many of us were saddened when the place got fixed up and lost some of its puro funky charm. That said, it's still a prime place to drop in for a post-dinner, post-art walk, post-whatever tipple. With 25 beers on tap, a full kitchen and an eclectic crowd fitting of its downtown-meets-Southtown location, Bar America remains a worthy drinking destination 80 years into its history. 723 S. Alamo St., (210) 223-1285, facebook/baramericasatx.
Photo via Instagram / baramerica_satx
9. The Bar at Bohanan's
The clubby, library-looking bar inside the downtown steakhouse with an eclectic and timeless sonic playlist is San Antonio bar royalty. Many of the city's most lauded mixologists have done a stint behind the stick here, and the cocktail menu, organized not by spirit type but preparation method — stirred, shaken, tall with soda, crushed ice and the like — still whispers of the bar's early consultant, late cocktail guru Sasha Petraske. Classic drinks that any bartender worth his or her salted rim would know aren't listed, but if you ask for a martini, institutional memory will produce a Hoffman House — stirred, with gin, of course. And it will be one of the city's best. 219 E. Houston St., #275, (210) 472-2600, bohanans.com.
Photo via Facebook / Bohanans
10. Bar du Mon Ami
This unassuming Alamo Heights-area drinkery offers cozy neighborhood bar vibes with an emphasis on "cozy." The narrow, dimly-lit bar is home to personable bartenders, extensive spirits offerings and unexpected music selections — all of which add to the draw. After a brief but harrowing brush with closure amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Bar du Mon Ami has risen from uncertainty to solidify its place as a must-visit for local cocktail aficionados. Don't be afraid to order a classic cocktail here — the folks behind the bar know their stuff, from the Aviation to Vieux Carré. 4901 Broadway, (210) 822-3253, instagram.com/bardumonami.
Photo via Instagram / bardumonami
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11. Bar Loretta
This hotly anticipated eatery specializes in modern Lone Star State cuisine such as peach-glazed Texas quail, chili-lime Brussels sprouts and Texas goat cheese polenta bites. Beyond the elevated fare, this collaboration between SA natives Roger Herr and Paul Petersen is worth visiting for its craft cocktails and for the ambiance of its swankily revamped Southtown space that previously housed Madhatter's Tea House. When bellying up, note the impressive whiskey selection and let the bartenders guide you through the offerings — trust us on this. Whiskey novices and pros alike will find something delectable to sip. 320 Beauregard St., (210) 757-3607, barloretta.com.
Photo by Richard Casteel
12. Barbaro
Barbaro: it's not just for pizza anymore. Not that it ever was. The cocktails at this friendly neighborhood joint are just inventive enough, and well priced to boot, especially during the "best damn" daily happy hour and the even more-attractive after-10 p.m. menu with $5 drinks and $3 slices. From the $10 cocktail list, take a close look at the Man About Town, a riff on the Manhattan with spicy rye and bitter Cynar. The $15 list puts the emphasis on top-shelf booze, so you might as well go straight for an Army Navy with navy-strength gin and orgeat. 2720 McCullough Ave., (210) 320-2261, barbarosanantonio.com.
Photo via Instagram / sanantonioexplorer
13. The Base Line
Although the name suggests this might be a sports bar where Rangers or Astros fans congregate, it's actually a military-friendly hangout just outside of Fort Sam. Get it? Yeah, figured you did. Vintage recruitment posters adorn the walls, and the room housing the pool tables is outfitted like a tent stenciled with military jargon. While the place was once featured on the Paramount Network's Bar Rescue, whatever fanciness Jon Taffer tried to bring to the place didn't stick. Which is why we like it. Regardless of whether you've served, the Base Line is worth saluting as a low-key neighborhood drinking hole that gets it right. 1139 Harry Wurzbach Road, (210) 930-6612, thebaselinebar.com.
Photo by Sanford Nowlin
14. Beethoven Maennerchor
Over recent years, the home of this 154-year-old German singing society has become much more than just a cultural heritage gathering place. The Beethoven's biergarten and bar have been open for special events such as Oktoberfest and Fiesta Gartenfest for decades, but many Southtown residents and others from around the city have found a friendly gathering place at the one-time members-only bar Tuesday through Saturday. German beer shares tap and cooler space with domestics and craft beer favorites served up by the pint or pitcher. As a bonus, you can hear the choir practice German beerfest classics on Tuesdays and the large brass band work on their repertoire on Wednesdays in the hall next to the bar. 422 Pereida St., (210) 222-1521, southtownbeethoven.com.
Photo via Facebook / the.Beethoven
15. Blue Bonnet Palace
The reincarnation of Blue Bonnet Palace, just a stone's throw from the original 1978 location on Interstate 35 in Selma, is where you'll find gimme caps, cowboy hats, tight jeans, short shorts and longnecks. Mixed drinks, shots and beers fuel the movement on indoor and outdoor dance floors. An outdoor concert venue can handle more than 2,000 people for the shows Friday and Saturday, which run 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. What's more, the Palace boasts two restaurants, Blue Pit Smokehouse and Fajitas & Margaritas Cantina, which serve Tuesday through Saturday. 17630 Lookout Road, Selma, (210) 651-6702, bluebonnetpalace.com.
Photo via Instagram / bluebonnetpalace
16. Blue Box Bar
Those who remember Blue Box's early days may recall fancy AF cocktails with ingredient lists as long as your arm. These days, the vibe of the drinkery has mellowed, offering a more approachable experience. You'll find all manner of drinker in this place, from young professionals to, well, old professionals — and everyone in between. Bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable, no matter what your preferred poison. It's Pearl location also makes it a convenient stop for an after-dinner or -work beer, wine or cocktails. Blue Box even offers happy hour pricing all day on Sunday and Monday. 312 Pearl Parkway, (210) 227-2583, blueboxbar.com.
Photo via Instagram / blueboxbar
17. Bombay Bicycle Club
This beer-and-burgers institution has been serving since 1973, with plans to open a second location at Hemisfair this summer. What we love about this spot, though, is the array of local beer and refreshing Ranch Water cocktails that help to beat the heat when the temperatures soar. During the COVID-19 crisis, the St. Mary's Street staple debuted a spacious outdoor seating area dubbed the Oak Room. AstroTurf, hanging lanterns and enough seating to effectively double the establishment's capacity make it a great after-work hangout with plenty of shade. 3506 N. St Mary's St., (210) 737-2411, bombaybicyclelubsa.com.
Photo via Instagram / bombays_sa
18. Bond's 007
San Antonio is still the Heavy Metal Capital of the World at this inviting downtown bar-slash-music venue. Rock memorabilia adorns pretty much every inch of Bond's downstairs bar, and the drinks are cheap. Meanwhile, the upstairs concert space, which features a blow-your-hair-back sound system, hosts performances by local and touring metal acts. If anyone still needs to check Bond's metal bonafides, the space hosted the Iron Maiden Fan Club's pre- and post-show gathering the last time the long-running British metal act blew through town, drawing fans from nearly a dozen countries. 450 Soledad St., (210) 225-0007, bondsrockbar.com.
Photo via Google Maps
19. Bonham Exchange
The undeniable grande dame of San Antonio's LGBTQ+ nightlife scene, the Bonham Exchange opened in 1981 in the historic confines of a late 19th-century German athletic club. The flamboyant brainchild of late local legend Arthur "Happy" Veltman, the sprawling multilevel club boasts numerous bars, a spacious patio and what's arguably the city's most beloved dance floor. Treated to a tasteful renovation during a 16-month COVID closure, the fiercely inclusive hotspot is looking mighty fine at 40 — hosting top-notch drag entertainment in its storied ballroom and welcoming a mixed crowd for dancing and budget cocktails on weekend nights. 411 Bonham St., (210) 224-9219, bonhamexchange.com.
Photo by Jaime Monzon
20. Broadway 5050
We're not sure we fully get the evolution of this decades-old Broadway fixture's interior, which has steadily moved away from the deco vibe that makes its exterior so charming. Just the same, it remains a fascinating place to people-watch. On any given night you're likely to see businessmen trying to make a deal over martinis at one end of the bar and college students playing slap and tickle down at the other. Despite its Alamo Heights location, the vibe is decidedly un-snooty, and the burgers are worthy of their loyal following. 5050 Broadway, (210) 832-0050, broadway5050.com.
Photo by Sanford Nowlin
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21. Bruno's Dive Bar
After the pandemic killed off a barbecue restaurant operated in this space by the owners of the nearby Friendly Spot, they reopened it and rechristened it with a nod to Bruno Dzanski, operator of B&D Ice House, which occupied the space from 1961 to 2014. With its back-to-basics approach and eccentric sense of décor, Bruno's hearkens back to the B&D days and ensures there's still at least one loveably grubby and downscale spot to drink at in the rapidly gentrifying Southtown neighborhood. 1004 S. Alamo St., (210) 225-9801, brunosdive.com.
Photo by Sanford Nowlin
22. Burleson Yard Beer Garden
This near East Side staple offers ample outdoor space for relaxing while guests choose from more than a dozen draft beers or any of the spot's famous frozen libations. For noshing while you drink, an onsite kitchen dishes out rib-sticking eats such as chili cheeseburgers and chicken wings. Those who opt not to imbibe around womb goblins shouldn't let Burleson's giant, kid-friendly playscape get them down — the spot is 21-and-up after 9 p.m. 430 Austin St., (210) 354-3001, facebook.com/burlesonyard.
Photo via Instagram / burlesonyardbeergarden
23. Cellar Mixology at Toro
With its secret-cellar vibe, brick walls, Edison lights and decorative wine barrels, CM is a strong contender for the city's most atmospheric dive distinction. Its informative, one-drink-per-page menu is also a winner. So, not to worry unduly if the exposition is a tad better than the execution when it comes to the cocktails themselves — there's always the bottle service for which reservations (for a $10 fee) are a good idea late night Thursday through Saturday. Drinks at street-level Toro are not to be ignored if ambience isn't your main move. 1142 E. Commerce St., (210) 463-5386, cellarmixology.com.
Photo via Instagram / cellarmixology
24. Charlie Brown's Neighborhood Bar & Grill
This neighborhood spot doles out delicious fare that dispels the notion that bar food is just something to line one's stomach. From burgers and BLTs to homestyle faves like meatloaf and smothered chicken, Charlie's kitchen excels. Beyond the grub, the easygoing vibe keeps folks back time and again, even claiming specific barstools for their afternoon or evening imbibing. That's not to say the crowd isn't friendly, though. It's a safe bet that before long, you'll be clinking glasses with regulars as if you've always been a patron. 11888 Starcrest Dr., Suite 101, (210) 496-7092, charlie-browns.com.
Photo via Yelp / Joey P.
25. Cherrity Bar
Cherrity Bar's appeal is multifaceted. There's its ample outdoor space, its excellent food by onsite ramen bar Kuriya, its thoughtful cocktails and its philanthropic mission, to name a few attractions. The nearly four-year-old spot also recently revamped its entertainment offerings, scheduling a seasonal music series with local acts on its sizable patio. Though the "charity" part of Cherrity Bar was put on hiatus during the pandemic, those efforts have been revived, with sales aiding beneficiaries such as Pride Center SA and the city's Parks Foundation. 302 Montana St., (210) 598-0496, cherritybar.com.
Photo via Instagram / kuriyasatx
26. Cobalt Club
With a 7 a.m. opening time and an eclectic — some might say "eccentric" — clientele, this north-of-downtown gay bar clearly isn't everybody's ideal destination. But don't let the windowless, bunker-like exterior fool you. There's nothing uninviting about this space, its patrons or its staff, who are more than happy to welcome a straight crowd — or pretty much anyone who happens to stumble by. You'll find regulars knocking back affordable drinks with shift workers, staff from nearby hospitals and imbibers looking to satisfy their curiosity about who gets their drink on as others start their morning commutes. 2022 McCullough Ave., (210) 251-2027, facebook.com/cobalt-club-116922144999722.
Photo by Jaime Monzon
27. Copa Wine Bar
Copa Wine Bar has been a part of the San Antonio food scene for more than 16 years, offering a variety of wines from around the world as well as Texas craft beers. This Stone Oak spot may have been voted Best Wine List in 2020 by Current readers, but don't think vino is all it has to offer. Chef-owner Jeff Bridges holds several themed pairing dinners annually, offering guests expertly paired food-and-wine experiences in a cozy atmosphere. 19141 Stone Oak Parkway, Suite 704, (210) 495-2672, thecopawinebar.com.
Photo via Instagram / chuck_corbitt
28. The Cove
There's so much to like about the Cove, it was pretty much a list shoo-in, even though its indoor bar remains closed as a COVID precaution. The spot is kid-friendly, boasts an amazing outdoor space, has a massive tap selection, serves up organic American fare, features live music — and it's quirky enough to also include a laundromat and car wash. Beyond that, it's been at the forefront of trying to treat employees well. But feel-good vibes aren't the only reason to visit. The Cove's relaxed hospitality and focus on providing a quality experience make it a San Antonio essential. 606 W. Cypress St., (210) 227-2683, thecove.us.
Photo via Instagram / thecovesa
29. The Crazy Ape
Despite what the name might suggest, the Crazy Ape isn't an asylum for drunken monkeys, nor is it a monument to Nobel Prize winner Albert Szent-Györgyi — who penned a philosophical book of the same name. Instead, it's an unassuming neighborhood dive right where we need one — in the shadows of big box stores and North Star Mall. Need a little liquid courage before braving the retail landscape? The Ape is here to help — starting at 7 a.m. no less (10:30 a.m. on Sundays). Appointed with the classic trappings of a stuck-in-time dive — pool table, darts, shuffleboard and button-tufted burgundy leather booths — it's an ideal destination for clandestine day-drinking but perhaps lives up to its name best during boozy karaoke on Saturday nights. 9930 San Pedro Ave., (210) 525-8158, facebook.com/crazyapesatx.
Photo via Google Maps
30. Dakota East Side Ice House
"Just be nice, dammit!" is painted on the exterior of this cinderblock building that used to house the Wah Yuen Chinese grocery, and more recently, the Hackberry Express convenience store. And who can argue with those sentiments? From its 2018 opening, the Dakota has strived to be a friendly meeting place for residents of its quick-changing East Side neighborhood, recognizing both the long history of the area's African American residents and newcomers drawn by the promise of affordable housing. The spot books fittingly diverse live music and even comedy, and it serves up cuts-above bar food including Pork Queso and a wedge salad that recently drew raves from Texas Monthly. 433 S. Hackberry St., (210) 375-6009, thedakotasa.com.
Photo via Instagram / thedakotasa
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31. Dashi Sichuan Kitchen + Bar
This new and ever-evolving restaurant houses a craft cocktail bar with an inviting lounge vibe where style meets comfort and classiness comes in the form of a passion to serve. Dashi means "grandmaster" in Chinese, and this place has mastered making beautiful drinks, stocking sophisticated-yet-approachable wines and pouring unexpected liquors from all over Asia. As refined as all that sounds, this is also a neighborhood joint that will bust out the karaoke machine upon request or bring in a DJ for Sunday funday on the spacious patio. 2895 Thousand Oaks Dr., (210) 562-3343, sichuaneats.com.
Photo via Instagram / sichuaneats
32. Devils River Whiskey
This new distillery opened its doors in spring 2021 and does things in a big way. Inside its confines you'll find a coffee shop, a basement speakeasy, a main dining area and a lounge that overlooks the distilling equipment. (Did we miss anything?) A sprawling patio allows whiskey aficionados and curiosity seekers alike to enjoy fresh air while they sip on Texas-distilled spirits, available in bourbon, rye, barrel strength and coffee expressions. The cocktails are not to be missed, but we're still swooning over the antique bar, copper stills, marble floors and floor-to-ceiling columns that make this a downtown destination. 401 E. Houston St., (833) 379-1840, devilsriverwhiskey.com.
Photo by Jaime Monzon
33. The Dooryard
If you ever thought it would be nice to sample a bunch of beers without waiting for a beer festival, bugging a bartender for numerous tasters or making the rounds to multiple breweries, The Dooryard is what you've been looking for. The concept near Shavano Park is a self-serve craft beer bar with 30 taps plus wine. Patrons pour their own and pay by ounce at the end of the visit. Many of the bartenders are seasoned beer pros ready to drop knowledge and take orders for a small, but delectable food menu that includes muffuletta and Reuben sandwiches along with Asian steamed pork-belly buns and soy-ginger baby back ribs. 4503 De Zavala Road, Suite 108, (210) 201-4911, thedooryardsa.com.
Photo via Instagram / thedooryardsa
34. Dos Sirenos Brewing
A relative newcomer to Southtown, Dos Sirenos has quickly made a name for itself as a pleasant place to spend an afternoon or evening sipping beer inside or enjoying the large pet-friendly patio. The food menu is pub fare dominated by Akaushi beef burgers and sandwiches, and it pairs well with a wide range of beers including German and Belgian inspired brews with a variety of American versions of IPA and stouts thrown in for good measure. Brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday features cilantro sausage or beer bacon alongside dishes such as eggs or lemon ricotta pancakes. 231 E. Cevallos St., (210) 442-8138, dossirenosbrewing.com.
Photo via Instagram / dossirenosbrewing
35. Downstairs at the Esquire
This intimate lounge dishes out small bites packed with flavor and top-of-the-line cocktails, which is to be expected — it's just below downtown's historic and lauded Esquire Tavern. Downstairs offers funky, swanky vibes and expertly crafted drinks on the River Walk level of the storied building, which is also said to host a guest of supernatural persuasion. The dark, cozy space allows for snuggling up with a date, and the impressive spirit list lends itself to business meetings or special gatherings. 155 E. Commerce St., (210) 222-2521, esquiretavern-sa.com/downstairs.
Photo via Instagram / downstairsatesquire
36. Edison Experiment
The crowd at this mixology-focused spot varies from old to young and arrives dressed in anything from casual duds to swanky cocktail attire. The detail-oriented bartenders do a great job adding twists to classic cocktails but have no problem switching into speed-serving mode as the crowd grows. It's a great place to take a date, sit with your group in one of the couches or sidle up to meet new people while rolling solo. Small bands and solo acts set up here to keep the vibe going. 1846 N. Loop 1604 East, (210) 479-9600, facebook.com/edisonexperiment.
Photo via Instagram / sip_sa
37. El Camino
San Antonians who appreciate art and eats now have a downtown food truck park where they can revel in both. Nestled along the River Walk along Avenue B near the Pearl, the outdoor bar at this newish establishment offers high-end tipples to those sampling the diverse food truck offerings and work from local artists. In addition to its beer offerings, check out its array of mezcals, whiskies and scotches. In addition to its rotating list of mobile eateries, El Camino offers ample outdoor seating next to the San Antonio River and frequent live music. 1009 Avenue B, elcaminosa.com.
Photo by Sanford Nowlin
38. El Luchador
You've got to give the owners of south-of-Southtown nightspot El Luchador credit for sticking to a theme. The neon face of a masked wrestler lights up the exterior of its otherwise nondescript building, and a wall full of lucha libre masks glare down from behind the bar. Is it gimmicky? Sure, but it perfectly fits with El Luchador's festive and unpretentious good-times vibe. Revelers can take in fresh air on an inviting patio and DJs, live music and food occasionally liven up the party. 622 Roosevelt Ave., (210) 272-0016, facebook.com/luchadorbarsa.
Photo via Instagram / luchadorbarsa
39. Elsewhere Garden Bar & Kitchen
Star chef Andrew Weissman can take credit for dropping old shipping containers along the River Walk and turning them into an outdoor dining and drinking spot, but it was really after their rebirth as Elsewhere that the location fully came alive. As the name suggests, there's a garden feel to Elsewhere's expansive outdoor compound, which specializes in craft beer and well-executed bar food ranging from burgers to more adventurous options including Korean-style cauliflower "wings." Grab a seat with friends under the awnings, slide onto a bench to watch folks wander the river or grab one of the boardgames on offer and let the evening unfold. 103 E. Jones Ave., (210) 446-9303, elsewheretexas.com.
Photo by Sanford Nowlin
40. The Esquire Tavern
This River Walk landmark enjoys a slew of legends bearing its name, including but certainly not limited to old-timey gun fights, illegal gambling and Prohibition-era hooch schemes. These days, the 88-year-old institution serves high-end cocktails and hearty yet innovative fare in a renovated space that pays homage to the interior of the past, replete with custom-made velvet wallpaper that's a replica of the original. It's a spot that's worth visiting, if only to enjoy the river breeze and a mezcal Old Fashioned out on the tiny patio. 155 E. Commerce St., (210) 222-2521, esquiretavern-sa.com.
Photo by Jaime Monzon
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41. Evil Olive
The name of this neighborhood haunt is a palindrome — written the same way forwards and backwards — which suggests that that its cocktails will be served with a side of fun. The staff is equally adept at popping open longnecks and stirring up a smoked Old Fashioned, and the ambiance can transform from one reminiscent of Cheers to something rowdier at the drop of a hat. A popular spot for karaoke and live music, the Olive is a reliable option for hanging out with friends with a mixed drink in hand. 2950 Thousand Oaks, Suite 5, (210) 495-0970, facebook.com/EvilOliveSA.
Photo via Instagram / evilolive_sa
42. Fairmount Rooftop Oyster Bar
In 1985, the Fairmount Hotel took a record-setting six-day journey from the intersection of Bowie and Commerce streets to La Villita. The hotel made international headlines as the heaviest building yet to be moved on wheels through city streets. Since then, the public areas of the 37-room hotel received a 2005 facelift, and last year, it added a rooftop bar with swanky vibes, fresh-shucked oysters and nearly unbeatable views. The ambiance and bar staff make for a remarkably puro SA experience. Sunsets, in particular, are breathtaking. 401 S. Alamo St., (210) 224-8800, fairmountsa.com.
Photo via Instagram / ​​fairmount_rooftop_oysterbar
43. The Faust Tavern
As its name and neon devil's head suggests, the Faust Tavern is a neighborhood dive for those who are unafraid to embrace the dark side. DJs spin stoner rock in the brick courtyard, the inside walls are decorated with posters depicting Victorian-era magicians, the single flat-screen TV flickers with B-movies from bygone eras and the bartenders ply their trade while old-school death metal blares from the speakers. That said, the vibe is more inviting than scary — assuming any those things appeal to you. Drinks are strong and affordable, because that's exactly how you hasten your descent into Hades. 517 E. Woodlawn Ave., (210) 257-0628, facebook.com/thefausttavern.
Photo via Instagram / drdithers
44. Francis Bogside
Opened in 2015, Francis Bogside is an Irish-style pub on South St. Mary's Street that boasts easy vibes, irreverent bartenders and perhaps the best damn Hemingway daiquiri this side of the Rio Grande. Though a 2017 fire at adjoining eatery Brigid forced the property into a months-long hiatus, Francis Bogside rose from the literal ashes, and is back again in fine, bustling form. Stop in for house cocktails and modern takes on Irish fare. 803 S. St. Mary's St., (210) 369-9192, francisbogside.com.
Photo via Instagram / francisbogside
45. Freetail Brewing Co. — Presa Street tasting room
While the Presa Street tasting room at Freetail's production facility lacks the chef-driven cuisine from a wood-fired brick oven to back up its beers like the original brewpub location on North Loop 1604, it more than makes up for that in a huge and funky tasting room dominated by Dia de los Muertos-inspired murals. In part, those murals are an homage not only to the brewer's San Antonio roots but also to its Los Muertos line of beers. Released in early November each year, those brews have taken gold in the Great American Beer Festival, the most prestigious honor in the U.S. beer scene. Beyond the cool ambiance, the tasting room is also the place to snag special bottled releases not available in stores. They are open Wednesday through Sunday with tours of the brewery between 3 and 5 p.m. 2000 S. Presa St., (210) 910-6322, freetailbrewing.com/tap-room.
Photo via Instagram / 210puffdaddies
46. The Friendly Spot Ice House
Nestled in the nexus of several of San Antonio's oldest neighborhoods, The Friendly Spot is a mostly outdoor venue with front and back bars outfitted with copious taps and bottled craft beers and imports. Heaters keep things cozy on cool evenings when a warming imperial stout might be the order of the day. Spurs games and movies from Cinema Slab are projected onto a giant screen nightly, while those at picnic tables and stools in the back have a view of other televised sports fare on eight flatscreen sets. It is hard to get much more laid back as kids frolic in a playground fenced off the hustle and bustle of South Alamo Street. The only hard part is deciding from among 76 taps, 300 different bottled and canned beers and ciders — or a frozen adult beverage. 943 S. Alamo St., (210) 224-2337, thefriendlyspot.com.
Photo via Facebook / TheFriendlySpot
47. George's Keep
Nestled into the terrace level of the far Northwest San Antonio's Eilian development, George's Keep is a cocktail destination worthy of a trek from downtown or less far-flung burbs. The setting is chic and upscale without feeling stuffy, and the drink creations are both creative and varied. A touch of falernum and passionfruit makes the tequila-based Falling in Lust a tiki drink for adults, while the Indian Summer pairs rye with walnut liqueur and port for an easy-drinking libation that walks a line between earthy and complex with just the right amount of sweetness. 17803 La Cantera Terrace, (210) 310-3733, georgeskeep.com.
Photo via Instagram / csj55
48. The Good Kind Southtown
Fresh comfort food spot The Good Kind has been slinging clean eats in Southtown since 2019, when it took over the building that once housed The Monterrey plus its surrounding grounds. Beyond serving up good food, the spot has grown into a prime place to enjoy beer, wine and cocktails while kicking back in the lush urban oasis created by noted local chef Tim McDiarmid. The sprawling garden lounge often hosts local DJs, makers markets and weekly events such as trivia and karaoke. 1127 S. St. Mary's St., (210) 801-5892, eatgoodkind.com.
Photo via Instagram / goodkindsouthtown
49. Green Lantern
Don't let the Green Lantern's comic book-referencing name fool you, this Stone Oak hideout isn't serving up kid's stuff. Sophisticated and speakeasy inspired, this is an establishment that takes cocktail culture seriously. The mixologists are exacting and knowledgeable, and their creations showcase an extensive spirits list, fresh ingredients and an array of house-made infusions. From classics such as daiquiris and French 75s to new creations, you're in good hands with the bartending superheroes at the Green Lantern. 20626 Stone Oak Parkway, #101, (210) 497-3722, facebook.com/thegreenlanternsa.
Photo via Instagram / sugarybysuzette
50. Hanzo
This casual, pub-like hangout offers varying scenes for drinking, dining and after-work socializing over a crazy-creative cocktail or small plate from the kitchen. This sleekly designed Alamo Heights spot is tucked away in a nondescript shopping center off Broadway, boasting a large patio space for al fresco enjoyment of one of many Japanese whiskies offered at the bar. While the food is enough of a reason to visit, keep in mind that the concept comes from the mind behind cocktail havens Blue Box and George's Keep, so the cocktails do not disappoint. 7701 Broadway, (210) 826-1488, hanzobar.com.
Photo via Instagram / hanzobarsa
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51. Haunt
A hotel bar has got to have something special if you're going to recommend it to locals, and Haunt, the cocktail lounge inside of the St. Anthony, certainly does. This sexy place deserves to be shared with good company, especially those with a penchant for faux fur and animal print. When glancing at the extensive cocktail menu, the name of each creative, signature tipple may strike you as unorthodox. That's because the hotel, a national historic landmark, is rumored to be uber-haunted. Spooky! 300 E. Travis St., (210) 352-3171, facebook.com/hauntsa.
Photo via Instagram / lres_marketing
52. Havana Bar
Located in the boutique River Walk hotel of the same name, the Havana is the hotel bar for those of us who wouldn't be caught dead in a hotel bar. Lit only by dim candlelight, it's dark, cool, filled with vintage furniture and feels a little bit illicit. The fact that it's largely undiscovered by tourists and something of a hidden gem among locals only heightens the speakeasy vibe. Whether you're looking for an offbeat date night or to suck back some rum cocktails with a small cadre of friends, this spot is one of San Antonio's best intimate hideaways. 1015 Navarro St., (210) 222-2008, havanasanantonio.com.
Photo by minkmade via Instagram / havanasanantonio
53. Hello Paradise
A patio bar with craft drinks, DJ-curated tunes and authentic Thai grub? Now that's paradise — or, more accurately, Hello Paradise. This open-air gem's combination of frozen cocktails and Thai-inspired fare isn't just novel but well executed. Chalk that up to its founder, SA cocktail king Jeret Peña. Try the electric blue H.P. Blast: rum, blue curaçao, orange and pineapple juices topped with fizzy Topo Chico over ice. Sumptuous noodle, soup and curry dishes plus spring rolls and Thai fried chicken wings round out the experience. 520 E. Grayson St., (210) 338-5114, helloparadisesa.com.
Photo via Instagram / helloparadisesa
54. Hi-Tones
DJ sets, periodic "emo nights" and live music ranging from indie rock to metal and hip-hop are part of the draw at this late-night St. Mary's Strip hangout housed in a teal brick structure that looks like it's been there forever. The other draw, of course, is Hi-Tones' puro party vibe, which is aided by the relaxed hangout environs of its outdoor patio and an array of affordable drinks tailor-made to SA tastes. Pickle shots, anyone? The interior's vintage look completes a memorable package. 621 E. Dewey Place, (210) 785-8777, instagram.com/hitones_sa.
Photo via Instagram / hitones_sa
55. High Street Wine Co.
Wine can be intimidating. An encyclopedic-looking wine list may only up the anxiety more. But put it all in a sophisticated setting at popular Pearl, add a savvy staff eager to support aficionados and neophytes alike, and you have High Street. The frequently changing wines by the glass are enough to kick start a course in vino appreciation the best way possible: by drinking the stuff. A pink Tasmanian bubbly? You'll only find it here. A white from Portugal's Douro Valley? Likely an exclusive. A list of appealing snacks that includes smoked duck "ham" will only keep you in your seat longer. Bottles to go are discounted 15%. 302 Pearl Parkway, Unit 104, (210) 908-9144, highstreetwine.com.
Photo via Instagram / highstreetwine
56. Hoppy Monk
While we tried to focus on locally owned establishments over chain bars for this list, it would be a mistake to skip over this North Side beer bastion. The mini-chained started in El Paso and has replicated its success there in San Antonio with an accessible pub featuring a wall of beer taps dominated by craft brews, many of which are produced locally. It also sources local ingredients from independent farmers for its food menu, which ranges from the expected burgers to some surprising and fresh appetizer options. And don't sleep on the cocktail program, which is formidable for a place where beer is the main draw. 1010 N. Loop 1604 East, (210) 545-3330, thehoppymonk.com.
Photo via Instagram / thehoppymonk_sa
57. Hops & Hounds
This massive kid- and dog-friendly property features a dine-in restaurant, indoor and patio bars and a children's playground. The pièces de résistance, though, are the two large dog runs, which offer ramps and obstacles for four-legged friends to play on. In the way of drinkable perks, the bar — owned and operated by the folks behind Burleson Yard Beer Garden and now-shuttered Taco Garage — serves up craft beer on draft, cocktails and Burleson's famous frozen margaritas. Night owls can often enjoy tunes from local DJs, who post up on the small stage. 13838 Jones Maltsberger Road, (210) 592-9400, hopsandhoundsllc.com.
Photo via Instagram / hopshoundssa
58. Hugman's Oasis
This downtown tiki bar, opened earlier this year, evokes feelings of toes in the sand and rum in your hand — even if you're just feet from the San Antonio River. Sip on one of the bar's signature painkillers during Cabana Hour and earn the right to say that you drank at the bar that has more skulls than any other tiki-focused watering hole in the country. Before- and after-dinner crowds pop in throughout the evening, but the vibe picks up later as partiers arrive in search of libations made with sparks and fire amid flickering torches, jungle beats and rustling flora. 135 E. Commerce St, (210) 441-7225, hugmansoasissatx.com.
Photo courtesy of Giles Design Bureau
59. Jazz, TX
Conceived by local bandleader Doc Watkins, this basement spot in the Pearl is San Antonio's spot for year-round jazz. Shows take place daily and feature not only Watkins and other local, regional and touring jazz acts but also blues, Americana, salsa and more. The atmosphere is sophisticated without skimping on fun. The bar knows its way around a cocktail and the kitchen offerings range from shrimp ceviche to a center-cut filet. Our only quibble: some patrons don't get that when the music starts, it's time to lower your voice. We're guessing those are the tourists, however. San Antonians know better. 312 Pearl Parkway, Building 6, Suite 6001, (210) 332-9386, jazztx.com.
Photo via Instagram / kaleyjamesanderson
60. Jet-Setter
This downtown spot has drawn raves for a globally influenced drink menu from local craft cocktailer Benjamin Krick of Pastiche, Dashi Sichuan Kitchen + Bar and the now-shuttered Juniper Tar. Complementing the sophisticated tipples is a hearty dose of equally sophisticated Mid-Century Modern style. The cocktails and ambiance are equally astute, and the crew behind the stick is attentive and knowledgeable, making for an experience that has the potential to be as educational as it is delicious — should you choose to take advantage of their insight. If not, lounging areas offer opportunities to escape the bustling bar top as you sip signature cocktails made with ingredients from far-away lands. 229 E. Houston St., #10, (210) 272-0457, jet-settersa.com.
Photo via Instagram / jet_setter_sa
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61. La Tuna
For nearly 30 years, folks have been drinking ice cold beer under the pecan trees on the edge of an old south-of-downtown neighborhood and a warehouse district. Those warehouses are now restaurants and art spaces, and trendy apartments abound. Still, the simplicity of La Tuna endures. What you see is what you get. If you see it displayed from one of four seats at the bar or the side window where most people order, then it's available. The selection of bottled and canned beer and wines has expanded over the years beyond icehouse classics such as Lone Star, Shiner Bock and Mexican lagers including Modelo, Corona and Bohemia. But even the new arrivals are all a rotating variety of homegrown Texas brews. Food comes from the other side of the property at the La Tuna Grill, where a crowd-pleasing menu includes eclectic selections such as grilled chicken nachos, chicken fried steak and roasted lamb sandwich. 100 Probandt St., (210) 224-8862 (bar) and (210) 212-5727 (grill), latunasa.com.
Photo via Instagram / thekickstandsa
62. Liberty Bar
Liberty Bar was an irreverent institution in its previous location near Pearl, and it seems even more so in its current digs — a former convent in which drinks no longer need be disguised as sacramental trappings. Those avoiding alcohol for religious or other reasons can take solace in Liberty's One-Eyed Jacks, which employs Seedlip, one of the first non-alcoholic spirits. Barrel-aged in-house, the bar's classic Last Word cocktail — gin and Chartreuse — is boozy all the way. The Katy Jurado, named for a feisty Mexican film actress, pits tequila against puckery Aperol and bubbly cava. Pro tip: wine bottles are half off on Mondays. 1111 S. Alamo St., (210) 227-1187, liberty-bar.com.
Photo via Instagram / shelbysorrel
63. Lighthouse Lounge
Can someone please explain to us why it took this long for someone to open a cozy nightspot just outside Woodlawn Lake Park? The Lighthouse's charm is that it simultaneously feels fresh and hip yet could have been tucked away in its quiet neighborhood for decades. Occasional live music and DJ sets are draws, but even on quieter nights, you'll find neighborhood folks relishing the relaxed atmosphere, complemented by vintage furnishings, a full bar and a not-to-be missed Como La Flor shrine. As quickly as this city is gentrifying, it's refreshing to see new spots embracing the flavor of old SA. 1016 Cincinnati Ave., facebook.com/thelighthouselounge.
Photo by Sanford Nowlin
64. Little Death Wine Bar
From its name (Google petit mort) to its totally tagged exterior to its troop of knowledgeable-yet-not-snobby servers, Little Death is nothing if not cheeky. The wine selection is heavy on Beaujolais — a favorite region of ornery owner Chad Carey — and Burgundy. And it's not damn bad for Riesling, natural and "pet-nat" wines. Snacks and a resident food truck provide the solid sustenance necessary to justify spending an entire evening investing the well-priced offerings, a tad cheaper if you take the bottles home with you to drink in domestic tranquility. 2327 N. St. Mary's St., (210) 264-6472, littledeathwine.com.
Photo via Instagram / littledeathwine
65. Lonesome Rose
The self-described oldest honky tonk on the St. Mary's Strip was the first spot in recent nightlife history to bring country music to the midtown area. The bar emphasizes alt-country, but it also dabbles in rock, conjunto and more. The place gets the ambiance just right with its vintage beer signs, old-style jukebox and full bar. A spacious and dog-friendly backyard completes the charm. The cocktails are simple — often necessary in a higher volume, music-focused setting — but expertly prepared. We recommend the Ranch Water. Trust us on this'n, pard. 2114 N. St. Mary's St., (773) 770-3414, thelonesomerose.com.
Photo via Instagram / thelonesomerose
66. Lowcountry
What low-key and cozy Southtown spot Lowcountry lacks in indoor seating it more than makes up for in outdoor ambiance. Situated in a renovated house, it's clear upon entering that the primary function of the structure was not to serve cocktails to throngs of thirsty guests. Stepping out onto the back patio quells all claustrophobic uneasiness, however. Dressed up with twinkling lights, the patio is spacious enough to kick back with friends while sipping on any one of the bar's signature tipples — and the frequent live music only adds to the vibe. 318 Martinez St., (210) 560-2224, lowcountrysa.com.
Photo via Instagram / mandimichele
67. Lucy Cooper's Ice House
If you ask Lucy Cooper's proprietors Braunda and Jesse Smith, their 21-and-up spot is more than a restaurant; it's an attitude. After a few Mason jar cocktails and a rousing round of Naughty Bingo — it's exactly what you think it is — you may be inclined to agree. Aside from Southern-inspired fare from the kitchen, the bar serves up a wide enough variety of craft beer and mixed drinks to satisfy any imbiber. If the weather ever cools down, get there early to snag seats around a patio fire pit for cozy conversation. 16080 San Pedro Ave., (210) 462-1894, lucycoopers.com.
Photo via Instagram / lucycoopersicehouse
68. Luna
Cozy and a little retro, this venue situated on San Pedro inside the inner Loop, has been bringing live jazz, blues, Latin sounds and R&B to central SA since 2003. A midcentury modern feel pervades, and guests commingle in cozy corner booths and at tables surrounding a small dance floor. Beer, wine and cocktails fuel weekly salsa nights. Conversation with strangers happens organically in this dimly lit locale, which lives up to its claim of "bringing swanky back." 6740 San Pedro Ave., (210) 804-2433, lunalive.com.
Photo via Instagram / schadenfreudad
69. Main Street
Located not too far from the airport, this neighborhood bar boasts an extensive patio with picnic tables and TVs for watching your favorite team while indulging in uber-affordable drinks. Bands post up at Main Street weekly, though it never feels overrun with crowds thanks to its spacious layout. Wet your whistle while making friends with the regulars patronizing the bar top, or just sit back and enjoy the low-key vibe. Trivia and comedy nights happen weekly, and the spot's generously long happy hour lasts from 2-8 p.m. 13477 Wetmore Road, (210) 490-3038, barsanantoniotx.com.
Photo via Instagram / mainstbar
70. The Martini Club
Gone are the days when beloved vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Wayne Harper transported bar flies to 1970s-era Vegas with his infectious Neil Diamond covers — but his lounge lizard vibes can still be felt at the Martini Club, the hidden gem he sold in 2016 after 26 glittery years. These days, cover bands (Top Shelf, Soul Grammar, V3rtigo and Rick Rice, to name a few) take the stage on weekend nights and get the pleasantly mixed crowd grooving to everything from disco and new wave to old-school country on Martini's compact dance floor. Traditionalists looking to recapture the retro authenticity Harper brought to the table might prefer the atmosphere on Wednesdays and Thursdays, when singers show off their vastly varied karaoke skills. Grab one of the club's specialty martinis and start the countdown to "Sweet Caroline." 8507 McCullough Ave., Suite A9, (210) 595-7627, themartiniclubsatx.com.
Photo via Google Maps
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71. Maverick Whiskey
Just steps away from the Alamo, Maverick Whiskey distills all manners of boozy delights in the building that was once served as San Antonio mayor Samuel Maverick's homestead. The stylish tasting room is decked out in dark stained wood with copper accents, an homage to the stills used to make the 210-born whiskey. Cocktails served onsite feature Maverick's full lineup of spirits, such as its coffee liqueur, whiskies and gin. The distillery's award-winning spirits are available by the bottle, too, for those who want to continue to indulge at home. 115 Broadway, (210) 447-7010, maverickwhiskey.com.
Photo courtesy of Maverick Whiskey
72. The Mix
The feel of this St. Mary's Strip staple isn't far off from the cantina at the Mos Eisley Spaceport. And we mean that in the best way possible. Not that it's a wretched hive of scum and villainy, although we suspect some of that goes down in the bathroom stalls. No, this spot is full of colorful characters, some of whom wouldn't look out of place in a Star Wars flick. Beer and booze flows, bartenders work quickly and bands rock out — now on a stage instead of the floor. If you dig dives with vibes, this is all you, baby. 2423 N. St. Mary's St., (210) 735-1313, themixsa.com.
Photo via Instagram / the_mix_satx
73. The Modernist
This intimate space near the Pearl can quickly fill to capacity with folks looking for expertly crafted cocktails — and for good reason. Seasoned bar pros helm the establishment, concocting creative and delectable drinks. Watch them create cocktails on the fly by asking guests what they typically enjoy in a drink. Sweet? Effervescent? Boozy? Whichever way you lean, they've got you covered. The Modernist has also worked to foster a wider acceptance of booze-free nights out, hosting multiple sober events over the years and offering zero-proof options on the daily. 516 E. Grayson St., (210) 901-8646, facebook.com/themodernistsa.
Photo via Instagram / eastgraysonsa
74. The Moon's Daughters
It's tempting to suggest that The Moon's Daughters, a spectacular indoor-outdoor lounge perched 20 stories above the Riverwalk is more about the Instagram than the shaking can. There are only 10 cocktails on the online menu, but the city skyline is almost infinite from the outdoor deck — and patrons often dress to suit the setting. But give those bartenders a chance to shake up a Storied Coasts with pea flower-purple Empress Gin, lavender and a prosecco cap, and you might be surprised. Locally produced Twang Sunrise Salt adorns the rim of the serrano-infused and tequila-based All That's Nice. Get fancy and head on up. 115 Lexington Ave., (210) 942-6032, themoonsdaughters.com.
Photo courtesy of The Moon’s Daughters
75. Otro Bar
Nestled amid the Cypress trees that shade the River Walk is Otro Bar. Part of the newly opened Canopy by Hilton hotel at the corner of St. Mary's and Commerce streets, this elevated space includes an open-air terrace where guests and locals alike can sip on creative cocktails that use hard-to-pronounce ingredients such as La Venenosa Raicilla Tabernes and D'Aristi Xtabentún liqueur. Set just high enough above the hustle and bustle of downtown, this swanky new spot offers skyline sips in an airy atmosphere. 123 N. St Mary's St., (210) 404-7516, domingorestaurant.com/otro-bar.
Photo via Instagram / ​​feedsthebexar
76. Paper Tiger
Let's start with the obvious: the drinks aren't the draw at the Paper Tiger. That distinction belongs to the music. Thanks to an adventurous booking policy that's brought in groundbreaking acts ranging from bounce rapper Big Freedia to high-decibel noise merchants Swans, this St. Mary's Strip staple has emerged as one of SA's premiere music venues. The vibe is relaxed and may remind old timers of Austin's sadly departed Liberty Lunch. An open breezeway and outdoor space offer a way to depressurize between live sets, and no, it doesn't hurt that the bartenders know what they're doing. 2410 N. St. Mary's St., papertigersatx.com.
Photo via Instagram / papertigersatx
77. Pastiche
Some bars you go to for the ambiance, some for the creative cocktails, some for the charismatic bartenders. Sometimes you hit the jackpot with all three. Local bar bard Benjamin Krick has taken an East Side cottage and turned it into a hip haven for contemporary quaffers with an appreciation of the Belle Epoque past. The airy back yard has also been a godsend during the pandemic. And anyone with a feel for le fée verte will admire drinks dedicated to once-banned absinthe. Past special events have included an homage to the art of flamenco. Uncork the Cava and get your clap on. 1506 E. Houston St., (210) 439-1532, facebook.com/pastiche.sa.
Photo via Instagram / pastiche_sa
78. Pecan Grove Drive Inn
As fast as gentrification is erasing San Antonio's old-school culture, it's refreshing to stumble across hidden treasures like this bare-bones South Side drinkery. The beer selection is small but cheap — we're talking $1.50 domestics on "Cheap Ass Monday." The interior of this converted house features a bar, a pool table and not much else, but it's easy to lose track of time in the tree-shaded backyard crisscrossed by string lights. That's especially true on nights when a DJ spins West Side soul classics. 1526 Roosevelt Ave., (210) 532-4113, facebook.com/pecangrove.driveinn.1.
Photo by Sanford Nowlin
79. Pegasus
An unpretentious Main Strip mainstay since 1994, Pegasus is proudly open from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. 365 days a year — "366 during leap years" — meaning there's essentially always a party going on up in here. While neighborly vibes, wallet-friendly wells and jams that span from pop to classic country make it a dependable watering hole by day, the Peg becomes drag central by night, showcasing a seemingly endless cavalcade of queens on a COVID-friendly outdoor stage complete with cocktail tables. Sweetening the deal, a smaller outdoor stage behind the venue plays host to what's quite possibly the campiest karaoke in town. 1402 N. Main Ave., (210) 299-4222, pegasussanantonio.com.
Photo via Facebook / ThePegSA
80. Picks Bar
Following a transition to new ownership and extensive renovations, this far North Side venue offers a slew of reasons to make the trek. The recently upgraded patio, craft cocktails on tap and one-of-a-kind live band karaoke experience create a larger-than-life atmosphere that's dependably fun and just a little on the rowdy side. With live music every night of the week — and, yes, karaoke is considered music in this case — and incredible food from La Maceta Tapatios, this Latina-owned business knows exactly how to throw a party. 4553 N. Loop 1604 West, (210) 253-9220, picksbar.com.
Photo via Instagram / picks_barsa
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81. Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
The tasting room is tiny, but the tasting experience is big at the state's first combination brewery and distillery. This is a working facility tucked into a Northeast SA industrial park that makes a diverse line of beers and whiskies for the retail market. The public portion, which serves as a customer-friendly tasting room and store on weekdays, transforms into a speakeasy environment on Friday evenings and noon to 9 p.m. Saturday. Book a tour with a beer and whisky tasting for the maximum experience but stay for the dim lights and conversation over easy-drinking San Antonio Lager, an eye-opening coffee stout dubbed Sunday Morning Coming Down or award-winning whiskies such as Texas bourbon, single malt and rye. 4834 Whirlwind Dr., (210) 339-2282, drinkrangercreek.com.
Photo via Instagram / rangercreek
82. Rathskeller Bar (Hermann Sons Ballroom)
A bar may be a surprising find in the basement of an old office building, yet here it is. The building in question houses administrative offices for the eight fraternal lodges of the San Antonio Hermann Sons Home Association — and that bar, the Rathskeller, bears the state's oldest continually held beer license, issued in 1937. Back then, the brews flowed for the Germans who gathered there. These days, it sates the thirst of an eclectic crowd of dwellers and workers in the downtown area. The Rathskeller has been a Lone Star-and-Pearl-in-cans kind of joint since the days when those once wildly popular brews were made locally. Now, they come served up with swing dance lessons and a dance party on Wednesdays, trivia on Thursday and a variety of live entertainment. 525 S. St. Mary's Street, (210) 226-5432, sahermannsons.com/bar.
Photo via Instagram / hermannsonsrathskeller
83. RD Hidden Door Speakeasy
Texting a random phone number for a secret password to enter a modern-day speakeasy may seem a little theatrical — but what's wrong with that? The real journey starts when you enter the space located behind the Barn Door Restaurant in Alamo Heights. Dark lights, gilded details, candles, music from the 1920s and excellent cocktails await at this intimate, reservations-only spot where just 27 guests can imbibe at a time. Fittingly, RD excels at classic cocktails, but those looking to try something new and exciting can do that here as well. 8400 N. New Braunfels Ave., (210) 605-2292, mixed4u.com.
Photo via Instagram / atanotherangle
84. Re:Rooted 210 Urban Winery
It takes a courageous operator to tuck a wine bar away in a lightly trafficked corner of an urban park. But that's just what Jennifer Beckmann, a Certified Wine Educator and Sommelier, did with her winery and tasting room at HemisFair. To add to the challenge, Beckman features Texas wines — many with unfamiliar grapes such as Fiano — she produces and barrel ages at a winery in Fredericksburg. That's not necessarily an easy sell, even to Texans. But a sip of San Antonio Rosé or the non-vintage Riverwalk Red will likely change the mind of even the diehard skeptic. 623 Hemisfair Blvd., Suite 106, (254) 661-2721, rerootedwine.com.
Photo via Instagram / rerooted210
85. Rock & Rye
Fans of luxurious vibes and no-nonsense cocktails can now enjoy specialty spirits at this smart, stylish space in far North San Antonio. The newish Rock & Rye offers an impressive specialty cocktail menu and a spirits list that boasts 400 varieties. The nightspot wants to build up an arsenal of 3,000 bottles, ranging from cocktail staples such as whiskey, gin and agave spirits to more adventurous options including aquavit, grappa and absinthe. If an imbibing adventure is what you're looking for, start here. 17631 La Cantera Parkway, Suite 103, (210) 721-7753, rockandryebar.com.
Photo via Instagram / rockandryebar
86. Rumble
Part of this remade gas station's popularity comes down to location, location, location. Its expansive outdoor drinking area offers a breath of fresh air at the busy end of the St. Mary's Strip. It's a great spot to have a relaxed drink and take in a DJ while waiting for a show to start at next door's Paper Tiger, for example. But that only explains part of the appeal. The atmosphere may be casual, but the cocktails are creative and expertly crafted. Occasional burger nights from JDub's and the presence of the slightly spooky Gravves Coffee trailer add to the draw. 2410 N. St. Mary's, #3736, (210) 885-3925, facebook/rumblesatx.
Photo by Kody Melton
87. Shady Lady Saloon
When stepping into this Southeast San Antonio watering hole, the term "no frills'' comes to mind. The Shady Lady is one of those neighborhood haunts where simple drinks accompany familiar diversions such as shuffleboard, pool, darts and an Internet jukebox. There always seems to be a regular or two bellied up to the bar of this dimly lit joint, which speaks to its enduring appeal. Chances are good you'll walk out with a new friend — or at least an amusing anecdote. 3603 S. WW White Road, (210) 333-4224, facebook.com/theshadyladysa.
Photo via Google Maps
88. Sparky's Pub
Modeled after an old English pub, Sparky's brings all the neighborhood bar accoutrements — pool, darts, TVs, laidback vibes — into a gay context. Quite possibly the most popular (and straight-friendliest) outpost on the Main Strip, it's Cheers-like in the off hours and packed with a diverse crowd of LGBTQ+ folks and allies on weekend nights. In addition to a solid happy hour with $2.25 wells and domestics from 3-10 p.m. daily, Sparky's gets campy and competitive with occasional trivia nights themed after pop divas (Selena, Britney, Adele) and emceed by amusingly dubbed taco enthusiast Elizabitch. If you only hit up one spot on the Strip, make it Sparky's and you'll inevitably see the whole scene cruise by. 1416 N. Main Ave., (210) 320-5111, sparkyspub.com.
Photo via Google Maps
89. The Squeezebox
Located in a former floral shop, The Squeezebox's 2016 brought a welcome Puro San Anto vibe to the revitalized St. Mary's Strip. The cantina-like vibe, fun drink specials, live music and DJs have made it a prime pre-pandemic draw, and the crowds are certainly coming back. Even on busy nights, bar service is quick and efficient, and when things slow down, the staff members have the bartending chops to mix up something special. A neon sign hanging inside reads "Lost her to the Strip." With The Squeezebox as one of the nightlife district's star attractions, it's easy to see why. 2806 N. St. Mary's St., (210) 314-8845, facebook.com/thesqueezebox.
Photo via Instagram / thesqueezebox_sa
90.Sternewirth Tavern and Club Room
Most bar designers would kill for the opportunity to slip a "tavern and club room" into a 19th- century industrial space with 25-foot ceilings and assorted brewing paraphernalia that could be repurposed as cozy seating nooks. Sternewirth's designers made the most of all those opportunities, and the result is the city's most jaw-dropping imbibing environment. A salacious story involving a philandering brewing magnate and his "three Emmas" doesn't hurt, either. Thankfully, it's not all eyewash and tall tales at this bar located inside the Hotel Emma. Cocktails such as the complex and herbal Ciudad del Sol and the earthy and rummy Torrid Decadence stand up nicely to the setting. 136 E. Grayson St., (210) 223-7375, thehotelemma.com.
Photo via Instagram / historicpearl
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91. TBA
TBA had some big shoes to fill when it moved into the spot previously occupied by legendary conjunto venue Salute. While the vibe is nothing like the sadly departed Salute, it works on its own terms thanks to affordable and approachable cocktails, a patio that provides prime gawking at St. Mary's Strip shenanigans and a dimly lit ambiance (pay no attention to what's going on over in that corner). The happy hour featuring $5 cocktails, including a formidable Old Fashioned and daiquiri, is certainly nothing to sneeze at either. 2801 N. St. Mary's St., (210) 320-1753, tbasatx.com.
Photo via Instagram / tbasatx
92. Texan II
When a bar boasts a Wednesday special billed as "whiskey & shit," you know you've stepped into a legitimate dive. This Travis Park-adjacent drinkery may have a bit of a funky aroma, but don't let that deter you from people watching through the large windows while the jukebox keeps spinning the hits. Or saddle up to the pool tables and challenge some regulars to a few games — whatever your pastime, it's a great place to lose yourself downtown and avoid the tourists. 114 Jefferson St., (210) 212-6442, yelp.com/biz/the-texan-ii-san-antonio.
Photo via Google Maps
93. Thursty Turtle
There's no whiff of pretension at all about this Northeast San Antonio bar connected to a convenience store. Popular with service-industry folks, it's a dive that's dingy and well-worn in the best of ways — and what's not to like about a place that serves strong drinks and lets its happy hour run until 8 p.m.? You'll find expected bar diversions such as pool, darts and TVs tuned in to sporting events, but the friendliness of the staff and their apparent inability to put on airs make this a standout. 626 NE Loop 410 Loop, (210) 820-3600, facebook.com/thethurstyturtle.
Photo via Instagram / jonwiener
94. Three Star Bar
The latest drinkery from acclaimed San Antonio cocktailers Jeret Peña and Rob Gourlay serves up approachable libations in a no-fuss atmosphere. The new Government Hill-area bar has been billed as a "neighborhood, old-timey dad bar," meaning it's decked out with neon beer signs, stained glass lamps, vintage trophies and a pinball machine. Mixed drinks include Moscow Mules and Peña's "hoodrat" spin — his words, not ours — on the gin and tonic, which calls for pickle juice. 521 E. Grayson St., okayestbar.com.
Photo courtesy of Three Star Bar
95. Tony's Siesta
Relative newcomer Tony's Siesta oozes tio vibes y puro SA attitude, aiming to preserve the comfortable atmosphere of the previous spot that occupied the space — the revered downtown watering hole Tony's Bar. New proprietor Andy Palacios, a seasoned vet of the local bar scene, aims to embrace the growth of the Alamo City as a food and beverage destination with easygoing vibes, ample outdoor space and liquid treats that range from tequila to beer to boozy aguas frescas. The old-school feel makes it easy to spend way more time than you originally anticipated. And that's a sign of a damned good bar, isn't it? 206 Brooklyn Ave., (210) 227-4551, facebook.com/TonysSiesta.
Photo via Instagram / tonyssiesta
96. Tucker's Kozy Korner
This East Side staple originally opened in 1948, and it's since become a San Antonio cocktail and music institution that draws patrons from all over the city. Decorated with framed magazine covers of Muhammad Ali, James Brown and Miles Davis, this cozy lounge makes a history-filled backdrop for classic cocktails, a dozen domestic and imported beers and wine by the glass. Live music is still a staple at the indoor-outdoor spot, which hosts acts ranging from acoustic singer-songwriters to funk bands. 1338 E. Houston St., (726) 999-3764, facebook.com/tuckersbarsa.
Photo via Instagram / clive78757
97. VFW Post 76
More than a decade ago, a few youthful imbibers discovered a watering hole where they could unwind after work and wanted to guard their secret spot on the San Antonio River. The open-to-the-public bar at VFW Post 76, which received its charter from the U.S. Congress in 1917 for veterans of the Spanish-American War, was too good to remain a secret. Now folks from all walks of life sit shoulder-to-shoulder with veterans of foreign wars from Korea to Iraq. The outdoor beer garden peers into the heart of downtown or the Museum Reach of the river and the sometimes-low-key bar inside comes alive with karaoke or live performances. 10 10th St., (210) 223-4581, vfwpost76.org.
Photo via Instagram / bicibicho
98. Who's Who Cocktails
The unassuming interior of this nightspot may not scream "upscale," but when you're just looking for no-nonsense cocktails and karaoke, what does that matter? The narrow bar is great for mingling and enjoying the karaoke show while sipping on craft beer or a well-concocted mixed drink. Get there early for a seat at the bar, as the space fills up quickly, especially on weekend evenings. However, the small front patio makes for a fine respite from the crowd, should you need one. 1711 Babcock Road, (210) 973-5055, facebook.com/whoswhococktails.
Photo via Instagram / realcameralero
99. The Winchester
The owners of this Alamo Heights establishment sure didn't redo much when they opened in the now-defunct The Lion & Rose British Restaurant and Pub that previously occupied the space. And that's just fine. The interior, heavy on wood and brass, fits the British pub feel perfectly, and that's only augmented by the soccer paraphernalia adorning the walls and tap beer selection, which includes real-deal selections such as Smithwick's and Fuller's London Pride. The grub is appropriately pubby too. You'll find fish and chips, bangers and mash and other tried-and-true faves nestled in with locally influenced favorites including chorizo-studded Scotch eggs. 5148 Broadway, (210) 721-7768, thewinchesterpubsa.com.
Photo by Sanford Nowlin
100. Zombies
Who says you can’t rock your ass off outside the Loop? Certainly not the folks at Zombies. This Thousand Oaks-area horror-themed bar has built a loyal following by booking metal, goth and other darker musical genres on the weekends while serving up an impressive beer selection and drink specials spooky enough to match its blood-and-guts décor — try the Brain Hemorrhage Shot. Throw karaoke and horror flicks into the mix, and you’ve got a lovably eccentric neighborhood haunt for Northeast San Antonio mutants. 4202 Thousand Oaks, (210) 281-8306, drinkingwithzombies.com.
Photo via Instagram / zombiesbar
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1. 2015 Place
This longtime LGBTQ+ nightspot on San Pedro Avenue has more of a neighborhood dive vibe than the sparkly spots on the Main Drag. And that's kinda the best thing about it. The drinks are cheap, the bartenders are on their game and folks are friendly. Throw in thumping music, a relaxing patio, a mirrored dance floor and diversions including darts and pool and you've got the makings of a great night of inclusive fun that's off the beaten path — well, by a few blocks, anyway. 2015 San Pedro Ave., (210) 733-3365, 2015-place.business.site.
Photo by Sanford Nowlin

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