San Antonio, TX

The Ultimate List of Cool Bars in S.A.

Rick Martinez

San Antonio is a city that has something for everyone, and the nightlife scene reflects this.

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From dives to rooftop bars, many different experiences are waiting for you in San Antonio. What better way to explore these options than with a list of some of the coolest bars in town?

While the city has always had ample options for suitable watering holes, we're currently in the throes of something of a renaissance. Between a burgeoning craft cocktail scene, booming local beer business, and an overall uptick in the quality of restaurant bar programs, it's a very exciting time to be drinking in the Alamo City (responsibly, of course).

The scene is inspired and exciting, and the landscape is flourishing. So much so, in fact, many national publications have started to take notice. Several local hotspots have been featured in national publications, with many more on the rise.

Here we share some of the top picks in the Alamo City that best represent how far San Antonio has grown and in what direction it's headed.

From the Riverwalk to other neighborhoods around town, here are some great spots where you can enjoy libations. 

The Havana Bar

Nestled in a dimly lit and cozy cocktail den in the famous Hotel Havana basement, this gem of a bar called the Havana Bar has a hidden speakeasy feel.

With its candlelit gathering area and lavish yet laid-back decor, it's aesthetically pleasing, to say the least. At the same time, the drinks are undoubtedly high class. 

This lovely location is perfect for visiting after a night out on the Riverwalk too. 

Location: 1015 Navarro St.

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Friendly Spot

This place is literally one of the friendliest places to grab some drinks in the city.

The Friendly Spot in San Antonio is a classic, home-grown establishment serving happy San Anonians of all ages. 

It's kid and pet-friendly and open daily until midnight. The Friendly Spot also has several hundred bottled beers to choose from, in addition to 76 more on draft, so there's always something new to try here. 

It's also great for food with hearty Tex-Mex fare, an on-site playground, and Sunday brunch specials.

Location: 943 S. Alamo St.

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Blue Star Brewing

The Blue Star Arts Complex anchor, a longstanding staple for beer-lovers, makes various brews with organic barley and hops that are always cold and ready for sipping on the boardwalk deck overlooking the river. Check out the Barnstormer Series for new and noteworthy experiments that are often just slightly off-center, like the recent Close Encounter, a two-year aged sour blend with hints of tamarind and prunes. 

Location: 1414 S. Alamo St., Ste. 

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The Esquire Tavern 

The Esquire Tavern is celebrated for craft cocktails in San Antonio and throughout the Southwest—and with good reason. When owner Chris Hill reopened and revamped the dusty River Walk dive in 2011, the upscale saloon environs became a breeding ground for bartending talent. If there's a new joint in town making a splash with cocktails, chances are many of their bartenders earned their chops here. Regardless of who is behind the bar, consistency rarely wavers; the eclectic drinks are always made with precision and care. 

Location: 155 E. Commerce St

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Rooftop at the Fairmount Hotel

Set on the rooftop of the charming Fairmount Hotel, right in the heart of downtown San Antonio and next to Hemisfair Park, this rooftop bar offers one of the best views the city has to offer, hands down.

While the Fairmount dates way back to 1906, the rooftop space is a much more new and modern bar area. 

With super comfy furniture and a shaded area, this may just become your new go-to place for easy cocktails and great views.

Location: 401 South Alamo Street

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The Moon's Daughters

One of San Antonios newest arrivals, 'Moon's Daughters,' will not disappoint.

Set on the 20th floor of the brand new Thompson Hotel, the elevator ride might make your ears pop just a wee bit.

The ride will be worth every bit as you step onto one of the most spectacular rooftop bars anywhere. The city skyline is breathtaking, no doubt.

Reservations are definitely recommended at this recently opened hot spot. 

While you're there, enjoy a libation from an extensive cocktail, beer, and wine list or a meal from a Mediterranean-inspired menu.

Location: 115 Lexington Ave., in the Thompson San Antonio hotel

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Sternewirth at The Hotel Emma

The entrance to this bar is a sight to see all unto itself. Once you are inside, you'll find soaring 25-foot vaulted ceilings over plush and easy groupings of sofas, chairs, and banquettes arranged to encourage conversation, celebration, and of course, business deals. Enjoy a refreshing cocktail, a notable wine, or sturdy craft beer. 

Come for the city bar authenticity, classic cocktails made without gimmicks and hearty small plates that satisfy your appetite for flavor and substance.

Location: Hotel Emma at Pearl 136 E. Grayson Street

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The last pour

So many places, so little time.

Thanks for reading, and if we missed your favorite watering hole, leave us a comment, and we'll do our best to get them in on the next go-round!

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I'm a freelance writer and a nurse, exploring the world one beer, donut, and experience at a time. Writing about the travel nurse industry and healthcare, with the occasional emphasis on donuts. #NomNom

San Antonio, TX
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