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San Antonio Bars to Check Out for Drinks

Check out these bars the next time you’re going out for drinks in the city.

As one of the fastest-growing cities in the US, it’s no surprise that new bars are opening in San Antonio all the time. From small and casual spots to places where you can party all night, there’s something for everyone in SA-Town.

When picking places to put on my list, I considered the location, ambiance, drink specials, staff, and more. Whether you’re looking for signature cocktails, craft beer, or wines from around the world, here’s where to go when you want to wet your whistle.  

group of happy friends drinking wine at a bar in San Antonio

San Antonio is one of my favorite bar cities, and I can’t wait to show you why. Check out my list of the best bars in San Antonio below!

Best Bars in San Antonio

  1. Bar 1919
  2. SoHo Wine & Martini Bar
  3. The Esquire Tavern
  4. George’s Keep
  5. The Modernist
  6. Little Death
  7. Jet Setter
  8. The Hoppy Monk
  9. The Bang Bang Bar
  10. Menger Hotel
  11. The Friendly Spot Ice House
  12. The Local Bar
  13. Sternewirth
  14. Zombies Bar
  15. 502 Bar
  16. Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub
  17. Howl at the Moon San Antonio

Bar 1919

1420 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78204
Phone: 210-227-1420
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If you’re looking for a place where you can slam a Long Island Iced Tea and get rowdy, Bar 1919 isn’t for you. Instead, it’s a low-key, high-class joint meant to emulate the look and feel of a Prohibition Era speakeasy – including a semi-hidden staircase that leads down to the entrance. You’ll find this under-the-radar treasure due west of the San Antonio River at the intersection of South Alamo Street and Blue Star.

Their expert mixologists serve up a bevy of classic cocktails and top-shelf liquors. Aside from traditional gin and whiskey, you can also order absinthe, agave sotol, and even cigars. One of my favorites is the Horse’s Neck, made from bourbon and homemade ginger beer. It’s pretty much the perfect drink for a chilly fall afternoon.


SoHo Wine & Martini Bar

214 W Crockett St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Phone: 210-444-1000

Only a few steps away from the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio, the SoHo Wine & Martini Bar is a cozy spot with an old-school, speakeasy vibe. They’re near the intersection of East Commerce Street and Navarro Street.  

While their menu features a wide range of cocktails and other drinks, they also encourage you to describe your favorite flavors to the bar staff, who will whip up a special concoction just for you. The last time I was here, they served me a Peanut Butter Cup Martini. It’s not something I would have ever thought to order on my own, but it was surprisingly awesome!


The Esquire Tavern

155 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Phone: 210-222-2521
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While lots of bars attempt to deliver a speakeasy, the Esquire Tavern takes it to a new level of authenticity because the place has existed since 1933. Today, it’s home to a lot of history, as well as the longest wooden bar in all of Texas. They’re right near the San Antonio River on East Commerce Street near the St. Mary’s and Commerce bus stop.

They have a huge selection of house, classic, and frozen cocktails. They’re also one of the best bars in San Antonio for drink specials. If you go during the week from 2 pm to 5 pm, you’ll hit their happy house, where you get $1 off all cocktails, draft beer, and wine plus 20% off all mezcal.


George’s Keep

17803 La Cantera Terrace, San Antonio, TX 78256
Phone: 210-310-3733
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With comfort booths, live music, and plenty of cocktails, George’s Keep is an inviting and relaxing bar that’s perfect for hanging with friends. They’re on La Cantera Terrace near the intersection of Eilan Way, next to JUICEssential and Piatti.

Their menu includes wine, beer, cigars, and original cocktails. For you whiskey drinkers, I recommend the Indian Summer, which is made with rye whiskey, walnut liqueur, port, and honey. When you’re looking for something a bit lighter, go with the Pina Cachaca, a blend of cachaca, coconut liquor, sugar, pineapple, and lime.


The Modernist

516 E Grayson St, San Antonio, TX 78215
Phone: 210-901-8646

The Modernist is a neighborhood bar where everyone is treated like a local. Before it was a bar, the place was an old house and retains that feeling of relaxed familiarity. You’ll find them just southeast of the Brackenridge Park Golf Course on East Grayson Street between North Alamo Street and Austin Street. Note that they get the party started a bit later than many other places; they’re open from 5 pm until midnight on Tuesday through Thursday and until 2 am on Friday and Saturday.

I always order their signature bourbon cocktails – bourbon is the unofficial house liquor – but they also have a full range of other spirits, beer, and wine. As an alchemy bar, watching the master mixologists make your drink is a big part of the fun. It’s a chill, hip atmosphere that makes for a great date or social night out.


Little Death

2327 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78212
Phone: 210-264-6472
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Little Death turned me into a fan of wine. This wine bar is a fun and funky spot dedicated to exotic, interesting, and unusual vino from around the world. It’s on North Saint Mary’s Strip, one of my favorite new hotspots in the city, next to Burger Boy and Midnight Swim. You can’t miss the building – it looks like a brightly-colored filling station.

The place is helmed by the husband-and-wife team of Chad Carey and Maria Gutierrez. They’re focused on creating a relaxing, inviting environment with indoor and outdoor seating in both booths and tables. They’re even dog-friendly.


Jet Setter

229 E Houston St #10, San Antonio, TX 78205
Phone: 318-402-3895
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Jet Setter is a cool and classy lounge located on East Houston Street between Navarro Street and North Saint Marys Street. They’re just across the street from the Majestic Theater and about one block north of the Riverwalk.

The cocktails are unique, delicious, and adventurous. Try the Babushka! It’s made with vodka, passoa, lime, and orange. Note that the place is small and can get pretty busy at night, so you might want to arrive when the doors open at 7 pm to ensure you find a place to sit.


The Hoppy Monk

1010 N Loop 1604 E, San Antonio, TX 78232
Phone: 210-545-3330
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The Hoppy Monk is a great place for brews and burgers. They’re a contemporary and family-friendly gastropub located on North Loop 1604 East, between Staybridge Suites and the Fairfield Inn & Suites. The restaurant/bar is open for lunch and dinner on most days besides Monday, but note that everyone in your party must be over the age of 21 starting a 7 pm each night.

They have a huge selection of beer, including lagers, Oktoberfest selections, pale ales, ciders, stouts, and more. They also serve up signature cocktails, such as the Thyme After Thyme, the Wiki-Tiki, and the Fogo Real. My favorite is the Suze, I’m Home, a mixture of gin, Suze liqueur, lime, and tonic.


The Bang Bang Bar

119 El Mio Dr, San Antonio, TX 78216
Phone: 210-320-1187
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The Bang Bang Bar is my favorite local dive, and I use the term with endearment. It’s a small, unpretentious spot with a vintage style and friendly staff. They’re on El Mio Drive just before San Pedro Avenue and across the street from Olmos Basin Park.

They have live music, darts, rock-and-roll décor, and more. It’s a fun place to chill with friends and maybe even make some new ones. They have constantly rotating drink specials along with plenty of beer and cocktails.


Menger Hotel

204 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205
Phone: 210-223-4361
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The Menger Hotel is the oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Mississippi. They’re in the center of town near the Alamo and RiverWalk. Inside, both guests and the general public can enjoy the Menger Bar, an exact replica of London’s House of Lords Pub.

They serve food all day along with a robust selection of beer, wine, and cocktails. You’ll find familiar classics such as Bloody Marys, Old Fashioned, Manhattans, Moscow Mules, and more. Domestic beers are only $5 each, so you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy a bit of downtown San Antonio luxury.


The Friendly Spot Ice House

943 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Phone: 210-224-2337
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Eat, drink and make some friends at the Friendly Spot Ice House, located on South Alamo Street between Beauregard and Turner. With a large white sign and tin awning, you can’t miss this quaint and charming bar/restaurant.

Are you ready to make some choices? The Friendly Spot has 180 types of bottled beer, 76 draft options, and a full selection of cocktails. It’s the perfect spot for a sunny day because you can sit outside in the shade of their huge pecan trees.


The Local Bar

600 N Presa St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Phone: (210) 267-9885
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Located near the Riverwalk and the Alamo, The Local Bar is a low-key, friendly neighborhood bar found on North Presa Street between East Houston Street and College Street on the lower level of the Maverick Building. They’re right across Presa Street from the Houston Street Shopping Mall. They have low prices, plentiful drink specials, and a fun, friendly vibe.

They have a Happy Hour every day from 3 pm to 7 pm along with a reverse happy hour from 9 pm to 11 pm on Sunday through Thursday. If you’re in the mood to party, head over on Saturday night when they have a DJ and no cover.


Sternewirth

136 E Grayson St, San Antonio, TX 78215
Phone: 210-223-7375

You’ll find the Sternewirth inside the Hotel Emma, at the corner of Karnes Street and Pearl Parkway, near the Pearl Farmers Market. It’s one of the most unique and downright beautiful bars in the city, with 25-foot ceilings, cozy sofas, and overstuffed chairs.

They offer both culinary creations and signature libations. On cold days, I like to warm up with the Brooklyn Fog, made with coconut rum, sherry, cinnamon, and earl grey-infused tea. On the food side, they have burgers, chicken sandwiches, and other family-friendly, accessible fare.


Zombies Bar

4202 Thousand Oaks Dr, San Antonio, TX 78217
Phone: 210-281-8306
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I was lucky enough to celebrate Halloween in this bar one year, and it was a devilishly good time. The Zombies bar has a delightfully sinister undead motif, along with unique cocktails and loads of live music. They’re south of the Northern Hill Country Club at the intersection of Thousand Oak Drive and Bulverde Road.

All drinks fit into the zombie theme. Try the Zombie Blood Bags, Antidote Syringe Shots, and Zombie Lemonade. Many of their drinks are icy, fruity, and pretty strong. It’s a great place to go when you’re in the mood to party. They even offer $2 Jell-o shots daily!


502 Bar

502 Embassy Oaks, San Antonio, TX 78216
Phone: 210-257-8125
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When you’re in the mood for a cold beer and some anything-goes entertainment, check out 502 Bar. They’re home to live music, karaoke, and open mic nights. You’ll find them in the center of San Antonio, near the Magnolia Pancake House on Embassy Oaks near West Avenue.

The beer list is extensive and unique, organized into light and hoppy, dark, and sour. It features famous brews you’ve likely heard of, such as Guinness Draft Nitro, as well as others that might be new, such as the Light Circus Hazy IPA from the New England-based Barback Brewing Company.


Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub

200 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Phone: 210-224-3343
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Along the San Antonio RiverWalk, you’ll find Durty Nelly’s, an authentic Irish pub with pints, food, and plenty of good cheer. They’re between Riverwalk Park and Hemisfair Park on South Alamo Street and East Commerce Street, just a few blocks north of the Fairmont Hotel.

The pub fare features authentic favorites such as Fish and Chips, the Irish Burger, and Nelly’s Wings. Everything pairs well with their selection of brews from Ireland and elsewhere around the world. It’s a fun spot that’s a bit on the rowdy side with lots of live music and a social environment.


Howl at the Moon San Antonio

111 W. Crockett Street St. #201, San Antonio, TX 78205
Phone: 210-212-4770
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Howl is one of my top recommendations if you’re looking for a place to party. They’re perfect for birthdays, bachelorette parties, and other group events. 

I also try to hit them up on major holidays such as Day of the Dead and Halloween. They’re easy to find on the River Walk at the corner of North Presa Street and West Crockett Street.

Their menu is made for groups looking to have fun. You can order buckets of tropical drinks as well as cocktails, beers, and shots. I think my favorite is the Sex on the Moon, with peach vodka, melon liqueur, and sparkling water.


Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for a party or just a quiet place to sit and enjoy a brew, San Antonio’s bar scene has it all. While many are conveniently located on the city’s River Walk, if you’re willing to venture off the beaten path a bit you’ll also find dive bars, Irish pubs, and more.

Need some food before you grab a drink? Check out San Antonio’s greatest taco spots!

Do you know someplace that belongs on my list of the best bars in San Antonio? Drop me a note in the comments so I can go check it out myself.

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Written by Ryan F.

Ryan is a Philadelphia local who enjoys checking out Philly's restaurant scene every chance he can. He grew up in South Jersey and now lives in Philadelphia's Point Breeze neighborhood. Ryan also enjoys traveling and checking out local eateries in every city he visits.