Looking for a nice, quiet place to getaway and have a drink with your date? Or maybe a swanky, underground hideout with craft cocktails made to order? We’re breaking down the best local cocktail bars in San Antonio to meet all of your needs and qualifications for the perfect neighborhood watering hole.
The first bar on our list has been called the “Epicenter of San Antonio’s Cocktail Culture” by The Guardian, and for back to back years it’s been voted as the home of San Antonio’s Best Cocktails—we’re talking about The Brooklynite.
Located in River North between Downtown San Antonio and The Pearl, it’s just a walk away from River Walk. While there are a couple beers on tap and a few available in cans and bottles, The Brooklynite’s specialty is definitely of the cocktail variety. On Tuesday nights, they host what’s called “Tiki Tuesday,” during which they sure drinks made with the freshest fruits and herbs in all of San Antonio, giving their customers a taste of the islands.
The Brooklynite is open daily from 5pm to 2am, and it’s also available for private bookings and off-site catering—that’s right, off-site catering. This means that you can pay this bar for licensed off-site cocktail and beverage catering events to bring all your favorite drinks and the bartenders who mix them to the comfort of your own home or special event.
For more information and to check out the full cocktail menu, visit The Brooklynite.
The Green Lantern
Looking for your next stop on a pub-crawl? Just look for the green light. When in San Antonio, a must stop of every night is The Green Lantern, where you can enjoy the speakeasy environment paired with a nice cocktail, glass of wine, or a beer. If you happen to stop by on a Sunday, you’ll even be able to enjoy live music.
With walls covered in brinks and booze, it has a very mellow, swanky-dive bar atmosphere. The location is somewhat hidden, but it’s definitely a good find if you can navigate your way there. As far as drink recommendations, you can’t go wrong with the Cucumber Martini, an Old-Fashioned, or a class Moscow Mule. For happy hour specials, stop by anytime Monday through Friday from 4pm to 9pm, or on Saturday and Sunday from 6pm to 9pm. When this bar gets busy, generously tipping the bartender can swing things in your favor. If you’re looking to have a relaxing evening without fighting the crowds, consider stopping by on a Monday or Wednesday.
If you do get to know your bartender, feel free to ask anything about the history of the area, or even the history of the bourbon you’re sipping on—they’re happy to entertain. We definitely give this bar a thumbs up and the green light. For more information, visit The Green Lantern.
One of San Antonio’s most recent bars to open, Juniper Tar has already proven itself as one of greats. From the gold toilets to the chandeliers and handcrafted cocktails, you’re guaranteed to be impressed. Thrillist has described Juniper Tar’s décor as “stained-glass art deco meets posh punk rocker in this chic tavern.” While prices seem to be on the higher end, customers seem more than willing to pay for what they’re getting. There is a slight dress code, so men, be sure to wear a collared shirt.
When it comes to location, you can find it in the middle of downtown, which makes it a hot spot for both locals and tourists. Drink suggestions? Taste test a Tangerine Bermuda Sour or a Jack Collins. Juniper Tar’s happy hour takes place Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm to 8pm when drinks run around $5. There’s also been rumors of a happy hour special that’s “7 for 7”—seven cocktails for just $7—whether this is fact or fiction, you’ll just have to visit Juniper Tar to find out for yourself.
The mixologists at Juniper Tar are known to pour some strong drinks, and with no food served, you’ll want to be sure to eat before stopping by. Visit Juniper Tar to find out more about this cool spot.
The Esquire Tavern
While you may have already read a little about the Esquire Tavern in our “Planning a Trip to San Antonio” article, this is one bar that is just too cool to leave off of this list. Opened in 1933, it’s the oldest bar on the River Walk, and it’s also known for being the home to the largest wooden bar top in all of Texas—reaching lengths of over 100 feet. Happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 3pm to 7pm, and you can also enjoy late night happy hour specials every Thursday through Saturday from 11pm to 1am—did we mention that happy hour includes not just drinks, but food too? Drink up and eat up.
The Esquire Tavern was recently expanded; so guests can now enjoy a downstairs level that opens directly to the River Walk. Visitors should definitely try one of the many craft cocktails offered on the menu, and if you should have room, order a glass of the ginger beer. When it comes to food, a few of the fan favorites include the fried pickles, bison burger, and the hanger steak.
To scan the menu and plan out your drink (and food) order, head over to the Esquire Tavern.
In addition to The Brooklynite, The Green Lantern, Juniper Tar, and Esquire Tavern, there’s plenty of other hidden bars scattered around the San Antonio area waiting to be found. Since we couldn’t discuss them all, here’s a list of a few other great local cocktail bars located in San Antonio:
If cocktails aren’t really your thing, San Antonio also has a wide range of options for beer and wine. Take a look a some of our favorites: