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drink list san antonio 6/19

The 12 best bars in San Antonio

The best bars in San Antonio feature great happy hours, inventive cocktails and tasty bar bites

Written by
Matt Charnock
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Welcome to the Time Out DRINK List, our handpicked ‘best of’ the San Antonio bar scene. While there are plenty of things to do in San Antonio, some of the city's best attractions are its many, diverse bars. If you want to experience the best bars in San Antonio, check out local  favorites like Bar America (#3), one of the oldest bars in the city, and The Bang Bang Bar (#5) or explore hidden speakeasies like Jazz, TX (#2), The Green Lantern (#10) and George's Keep (#8), located on the edge of one of the best hotels in San Antonio. There's a saloon for every taste in River City, just don't forget to fuel up at one of the best restaurants in San Antonio before you hit the town. 

Drank somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDrinkList. You can also find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews bars here.

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Best bars in San Antonio

With sweeping views of downtown San Antonio and the city's namesake river, Paramour is the perfect perch to sit back, drink in hand, and take in all of south-central Texas. Luckily, the drinks are as good as the view at San Antonio's very first rooftop bar. We like the Three Dots and Dash (dark rum, Agricole, orange, lime, allspice, and falernum) and the Greenpoint (rye, green chartreuse, sweet vermouth, bitters). Not in the mood for a cocktail? Paramour also stocks over a dozen craft beers (many locally sourced) and a wide array of both domestic and imported wines. Plus, the bar’s surprisingly long list of mocktails means even the DD can partake in a night out on the town. 

Innovative cocktails, craft beers and live bluegrass, what’s not to like? Hidden in the cellar of the historic Pearl Brewery, Jazz doubles as a sprawling live-music venue. The 15-drink-long cocktail menu features dance-inspired names like The Upswing (12-year-old rum, white port, cognac, orange bitters, honey bitters, lemon zest) and interesting ingredients—try the Bananas in Bermuda, made with blackstrap rum, banana liqueur and vanilla wafer shavings. Dinner and lunch menus feature South Texas and Tex-Mex favorites like brisket tacos, fried quail, and pecan pie. 

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At 70-years-young, Bar America is one of the oldest bars in San Antonio. Classic offerings like negronis, old fashioneds, and bloody Marys share a menu with more inventive concoctions like cucumber martinis. But Bar America is foremost a beer-centric pub, complete with Mexican lagers, IPAs, pale ales and more. Swing by happy hour Tuesday through Friday, 4–8pm, and Saturday 3–7pm for fantastic deals on beers, cocktails, wines, and finger foods like fried pickles with a side of homemade ranch dressing. 

Put on your dancing boots and head to The Well, where two-step dance lessons are held every week. Between songs, fuel up on garlic french fries and homemade fire chilies and quench your thirst with more than 80 beers on tap. 

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The Bang Bang isn’t your typical dive bar. Developed by former Martini Ranch-owner Jamie Hoppe and two members of local indie band, Girl in a Coma, the Bang Bang is bright, fresh and whimsical—craft cocktails are garnished with cotton candy and Pop Rocks. Entertainment comes in the form of pool tables, dart boards, pinball machines and local acts playing live music. 

You won't find the same old cocktails that overflow from other River Walk bars at The Liberty Bar. They keep their seasonal and regular cocktail menu small, putting quality and creativity above quantity. Program cornerstones like the Amaro Lucano, Averna, and Character Amontillado Sherry are popular, and Monday's happy hour features half-off bottles of wine. Plus, Liberty Bar makes its own pasta in-house—order the fettucini, trust us. 

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Having survived both the Great Depression and Prohibition, the Esquire Tavern knows a thing or two about keeping their patrons happy. One of the bar’s hallmarks is its famous 100-foot mahogany bar—the longest bartop in the state. Live jazz and burlesque nights are popular here. Drinks like the Old Pepper (bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey, lemon, and ol’ man Worrell's hot sauce) and Nuestra Margarita (blanco tequila, reposado tequila, key lime, french triple-sec, and kosher salt) are among the more interesting creations from their 20-plus cocktail menu.

One of San Antonio’s best-kept secrets, George’s Keep is a trendy cocktail den with a comfortable neighborhood feel, located on the edge of the glamorous Eilan Hotel & Spa. Once you pass through the Tolkien-esque door (the hallway is fit for a hobbit), you’ll find yourself in a sophisticated 1960s-inspired lounge. Farm-to-table, seasonal cuisine is paired with a tongue-in-cheek cocktail program. Try the Cardi Bay, made with vodka, cardamon, bay leaf and lemon.

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Kill Bill fans will instantly know this bar means business. A thriving Japanese gastropub, Hanzo offers a well-rounded sake list and a perfectly executed cocktail list only 13 drinks long. We like the Fuji Five-O (apple sake, plantation rum, honey, lime, and sparkling sake) and the cheekily named Don’t Be Koi (apricot brandy, turmeric-infused vodka, yuzu-ginger syrup, and lime angostura). Hanzo's late-night happy hour from 11pm—2am means you can keep the drinks coming until last call. 

Tenured bartenders uphold classic preparations at this hidden speakeasy that specializes in daiquiris. Daily and weekend happy hours bring legions of bar devotes, where locals sip some of the city’s best craft cocktails in a warmly lit lounge filled with live music.

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The San Antonio installment of this six-state, niche bar chain is situated inside a strip mall, but don’t let that deter you from visiting this beer emporium with more than 200 available brews from all corners of the globe. On Mondays, every beer on the wall is just $4, from locally-sourced IPAs to Chinese rye-fermented brews. 

A relaxing gastropub with a south-Texas twist, TBA is great for affordable drinks, live music, late-night eats and petting cute dogs on the patio. Cocktails rarely cost more than $7 and a glass of wine is just $8. Happy hour is Monday through Friday 4–7pm, when house cocktails are just $5, all beers are $1 off and wine and a sandwich du jour are $6 each. 

 

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