Emily Reynolds
Food & Drink

The Best Places to Drink in San Antonio Right Now

Updated On 12/14/2017 at 04:40PM EST
Lauren Wilks

Paramour

Downtown

Swanky rooftop bar with modern decor and panoramic city views
SA’s first rooftop bar offers not only a dramatic view of the city, but also a good look at its see-and-be-seen crowd. And why not? This town is resplendent with laid-back icehouses and tequila bars; sometimes it’s nice to have a reason to spend a little more time in front of the mirror before heading out for the evening. Bonus: The bartenders definitely know their business.

Bar 1919 San Antonio

Bar 1919

Southtown

Dimly lit speakeasy with strong drinks and a great happy hour 
The word most often associated with this cozy cocktail bar is “swanky,” and with good reason. This upscale, modern-day speakeasy employs only the best of the best behind the bar, and it shows in every drink they create. The selection of alcohol contained in such a small space is mind-blowing, as is the creativity on display; try a seasonal cocktail, or opt for a classic.

Hills & Dales Ice House

Hills & Dales Ice House

Northwest Side

Well-known dive bar with a large outdoor patio
Once a distinctly blue-collar bar where bikers gathered, this open-air establishment is now drawing a more diverse crowd. Even with a decided uptick in hipness, Hills & Dales has managed to retain its neighborhood-joint vibe -- a necessary quality for staying in business in this part of town. If the decor -- candy-colored retro shell chairs -- and the extensive craft beer list seem familiar, it’s no surprise; H&D’s new owners are none other than the folks behind the venerable Friendly Spot. Still, Hills & Dales manages to create its own buzz, separate from its Southtown cousin’s.

Ashley Cass

Jazz, TX

Tobin Hill

Pearl Brewery spot with inventive cocktails & live music every night
An extensive, global wine, beer, and spirits selection and a tight, Southern-inspired menu pair nicely with the live jazz, blues, salsa, and Texas swing showcased in The Pearl’s first-ever music venue. Open since July 2016, Jazz,TX hit the ground running with live music Tuesday through Saturday nights and a steady stream of events to keep things interesting. Ten house cocktails offer a spin on classics; try the Somewhere in South Texas, a vodka gimlet made with a spicy Dr. Pepper reduction and cilantro salt.

Blue Star Brewing Co.

Blue Star Brewing Company

Southtown

Conveniently located microbrewery with live jazz nights
Blue Star has been brewing in SA since 1996 and offers a range of beers for every palette, from the dry Texican Lager to the knock-you-on-your-ass barley-wine-style King William Ale. Located in the Blue Star Arts Complex, the brewery is a beloved part of Southtown’s history and the perfect place to stop in for a cold one while navigating the Museum Reach district.

Bar America

Bar America

Downtown

Southtown bar with a stacked jukebox and diverse cocktail menu
Originally launched in 1942 as a cafe, Bar America has seen some menu, format, and even location changes over the years. But it has stayed in the Ramirez family, beginning with the current owner’s great-great grandfather. The vibe is relaxed and welcoming, drawing guests from all walks of life. The one thing you won’t find at Bar America is unruly or rude patrons, who by strict policy will be asked to leave. So pull up a stool, follow the Golden Rule, and enjoy one of dozens of draft and bottled craft beers selections and some tunes from the jukebox or DJ.

Freetail Brewing Co. 

Freetail Brewing Company

Shavano Park

Local brewery with some of the best views, beer, and pizza in the city
A relative youngster on the local brewing scene, Freetail manages to broadcast the laid-back attitude of its SoCal-bred founder while still feeling 100% San Antonio. Its signature beers, which are produced at the company’s Southtown brewhouse and available for sampling there, include the always-popular Bat Outta Helles Lager, Bourbon Barrel Aged Local Coffee Stout, and the summer-only Peach Bexarliner.

Emily Reynolds

The Well

Northwest Side

Popular watering hole for young professionals & UTSA students with fried food galore
There’s no shame in being a novice two-stepper, but thanks to weekly dance lessons offered at The Well, there’s no excuse for not getting better. With its nod to old-school Texas dance halls and thoughtful, substantial food menu, The Well is a welcome addition to a Northwest Side that can lean heavily toward chain restaurants. Throw in more than 80 beers on tap and some expertly crafted house cocktails, and we have a well-rounded winner.

The Last Word - San Antonio

The Last Word

Downtown

Looks like a library, but serves excellent cocktails
If you haven’t noticed, craft cocktails are having a moment in SA right now. One of the folks at the epicenter of this renaissance is Jeret Peña, the man behind several of the Alamo City’s most prominent bars. The Last Word is one of his newest, but it definitely holds its own in the family. Designed to resemble a library, the bar is charming and comfortable. Happy hour prices are fabulous, and so are the innovative libations.

The Bang Bang Bar

The Bang Bang Bar

North Shearer Hills

Welcoming neighborhood bar owned by members of a local band
A dive bar on a grand scale, Bang Bang is the brainchild of former Martini Ranch-owner Jamie Hoppe and two members of beloved SA indie band Girl in a Coma. Several months after it opened in early 2016, BBB garnered some press by introducing a turkey-leg Bloody Mary for brunch -- typical of its fun, why-the-hell-not approach. Bang Bang doesn’t take itself too seriously and might be the perfect place for those seeking a little grit to balance out all the pretty, pretty cocktail bars that garner so much attention around town.

Scott Martin/Courtesy of Hotel Emma

Sternewirth

Tobin Hill

Swanky lobby bar of the Hotel Emma specializing in cocktails
This rustic cool bar, located in Hotel Emma, has soaring ceilings and no shortage of wooden accents or intimate sofas. Craft beers, carefully selected wines, and handmade cocktails pair perfectly with small plates or conversation. The top bartender recommendation is The Three Emmas, which combines gin, gran classico, apricot, and absinthe.

The Esquire Tavern

The Esquire Tavern

Downtown

San Antonio's cocktail mecca since 1933
The Esquire is perhaps SA’s best-known bar, and why not? It opened its doors in 1933 on the day Prohibition ended, and has been a cool, welcoming respite from the crowded Riverwalk ever since. The food is fun (try the sweet and spicy Wildcat Burger or the famous Pimento Grilled Cheese), and the cocktails demonstrate how the bar has evolved while staying true to its historic roots. Taking someone out for their first time in the Alamo City? Have it here.

The Brooklynite

The Brooklynite

Southtown

Award-winning, retro cocktail bar with creative takes on classic drinks
Relaxed but sophisticated, elegant and cozy, warm and inviting -- the list of positive adjectives to describe this modern speakeasy is a long one. Even so, the best thing about The Brooklynite is its drinks. Made with only the finest ingredients, cocktails here are creative and fun. Take the Killer Parties Almost Killed Me, made from bourbon, amontillado sherry, house pecan cordial, pumpkin butter, and angostura bitters. If there’s a better use of fall’s most celebrated squash, we have yet to find it.

Flying Saucer San Antonio

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium

Huebner Oaks

Popular beer bar serving hundreds of beers and greasy pub fare
A suburban strip-mall location and status as part of a Ft. Worth-based, six-state chain belies the unique personality of The Flying Saucer in Huebner Oaks. What truly stands out here -- aside from the sheer volume of beer varieties offered -- is the attentiveness of the Saucer’s staff and the passion its always-knowledgeable bartenders have for their jobs and their bar.

TBA

TBA

St. Mary’s Strip

College student go-to for reasonably priced cocktails
Tiny TBA stands out on the St. Mary’s Strip for its thoughtful approach to cocktails and its attention to detail. Think dive bar, but without the bathrooms you’re afraid to use for fear of disease. While it’s a true neighborhood hangout, TBA’s bartenders make an effort to engage anyone and everyone who walks through the door. Feeling sluggish? Wake up your mind and body with A Farewell to Hef, made with Diplomático Blanco rum, cherry, coffee bitters, and pink peppercorn.

Zinc Bistro & Wine Bar

Zinc Bistro & Wine Bar

Downtown

Riverwalk joint with a diverse wine menu
Though not directly on the Riverwalk, Zinc is surrounded by it on all sides. That means it is a haven for tourists, but locals shouldn’t let that keep them away. With an elegant, European vibe, Zinc Bistro has a simple yet eclectic bistro menu and an impressive liquor roster, but it especially excels when it comes to wine. You won’t find a better vino cache in the entire city.

Alamo Beer

Alamo Beer Company

Eastside

Beautiful brewery with some of the city's best beer
ALAMO began brewing its Golden Ale in 2003 and now produces three other year-round varieties and six seasonals. In 2015, it opened this brewery and biergarten in the city’s emerging Eastside district, where it sits in the shadow of historic Hays Street Bridge and offers one of the best views of Downtown you can find anywhere in the city. The compound is big and beautiful -- really well-designed and one of the few breweries that would be an equally ideal venue for an upscale wedding or grabbing a quick beer after work.

The Friendly Spot Ice House

The Friendly Spot

Southtown

San Antonio's best outdoor drinking spot with famously decadent cheese fries
This is the most aptly named bar ever; you’ll always find a mix of hipsters, families, dogs, and tourists of all ages, socioeconomic statuses, sexual orientations, and races chillin' in the brightly colored retro lawn chairs. It is all outdoors, offers 250+ kinds of bottled beer and nearly 100 on tap, serves a mean Michelada, and is an ideal place to watch a Spurs game under the stars on TFS’s huge screen. From October through May, there are few better places to while away a Sunday afternoon.

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San Antonio's Best Bars to Watch the FIFA World Cup

Published On 06/08/2018
T he World Cup is upon us, and the world’s best players are about to battle it out in Russia -- and sure, the United States team didn't qualify, but that's no reason to skip it. Some of the world’s fiercest rivalries will be playing it out on the big screen, and the Cup lasts from June 14 through July 15, so you have no excuse not to catch a game (or five). Many of San Antonio’s finest drinking establishments, pubs, and restaurants will be showing the tournament, and we've picked out the best spots to post up and watch all the low-scoring action. We'll be updating this page with more details about drink and food specials as they emerge, but for now, plan on visiting some of the following spots to fulfill your World Cup needs.
The Winchester

The Winchester

Alamo Heights

Best for: England fans, and maybe Spain fans too
This is your footie pub HQ, right here. The Winchester has a classic British pub atmosphere, with an intensely fanatical British fan base to match. The pub is the central point for supporters of Tottenham, West Ham, and Liverpool. There have even been some sightings of some Spanish supporters – likely Real Madrid, but unconfirmed. Every day that a regular season game is in play, The Winchester has it on all of their flat screen televisions, and on Sundays they host a soccer brunch to accompany the match of the moment.

In anticipation of the World Cup, they will be hosting a massive FIFA tournament, in which the final will take place on the first day of World Cup. In addition, they will have an inflatable pitch out back to play some mini matchups. Beware though, still no word on what the reaction will be if you walk in wearing a Suarez jersey -- you might get bitten.

Freetail Brewing Co.

Freetail Brewing Company

Northside

Best for: A lively, boisterous atmosphere
There is no question: Freetail's brewpub at 1604 has some of best watch parties in San Antonio, particularly when World Cup rolls around. A big game entails multiple pitchers of beer, and an infectious atmosphere that usually devolves into chanting. At the last World Cup, they pulled down a huge projection screen and people were already streaming in to save seats for a 6pm game somewhere around the 10am mark. The only downside to all this, of course, is that if you want to actually get a table at Freetail, you’ll probably have to carefully calculate getting there hours in advance to reserve a table. Worth it, though.

Ojos Locos

Westside

Best for: Fans of Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, or Peru
If you're a Mexico futbol supporter in San Antonio, you should already be familiar with Ojos Locos -- and if you have a Chicharito jersey, this bar will be your home from June to July. Outside of the Cup, Ojos Locos shows futbol matches about every Sunday, and pairs it with cold Mexican lager and spicy margaritas. The drinks are cheap, the crowd is rowdy, and on Sundays the ladies get $1 margs until 11pm. If you are a Costa Rica, Panama, or Peru fan (first time in the finals since '82!), then this is likely the spot for you to enjoy the game. But beware: If you're the superstitious sort of fan, do not show up for the fifth game.

Francis Bogside

Francis Bogside

Southtown

Best for: Catching an early morning game
Despite being the new kid in town, Irish pub Francis Bogside is already blossoming, and they are planning on going all-out for World Cup. You'll find proper pints here, as well as a large and comfortable area for seating, and a projector screen television. No word yet on whether they will be supporting a particular team -- Ireland didn’t qualify this go around -- but they will be opening for every single match (even the 7am games) and showing them on their big projector screen, with food and drink to match.

Courtesy of Kunstler Brewing

Künstler

Southtown

Best for: Dog-friendly outdoor game viewing
Künstler is better known for its delicious and varied German-style beers and artisan-style food selections. It's a relatively smaller venue, but punches above its weight thanks to outdoor televisions and delicious food. Word on the street is that a few Czech Republic fans make this brewery their soccer watching area on Sundays during the regular season. Künstler is tentatively thinking of doing food pairings with specific teams, including Germany and Spain, but no final decisions have been made as of yet. If you want to bring your parents or a smaller crowd (i.e. under 10 persons) to watch a match with a traditional German beer and carefully thought out native dish, this is the place for you. Better still, dogs are welcome in the outdoor seating area.

Waxy O'Connors

Downtown

Best for: Fans on the Riverwalk
Waxy’s is one of the most iconic and authentic restaurants on the Riverwalk; the interior of the bar was actually moved piece by piece from the motherland (aka Eire) to San Antonio. The pub is boisterous, welcoming, and the layout of the place is elongated to the point that it fits both large and small parties without anyone missing out on a spot at the bar or a quick pint. During the year it is typically an Arsenal fan hangout, but they go all-out during the Cup. Word is that management is planning on showing all the matches on their televisions and offering several drink and food specials, but won’t release them until closer to opening day.

The Friendly Spot

The Friendly Spot

Southtown

Best for: A laid-back, kid-friendly atmosphere outside
Friendly Spot is an outdoor venue with plenty of shade beneath a handful of mammoth oak trees, and welcomes children and dogs with a very secure playground area. For the Cup, there will only be a select few matches (TBD) projected onto a big inflatable screen here -- still, The Friendly Spot is an ideal family-friendly bar where you can get a cold (and cheap) beer and still holler at the projector. The bar is entirely outdoors, though, so if you’re going to catch a game here make sure it’s in the early morning or evening.

Cover 3

Cover 3

Northside

Best for: Casual-to-hardcore fans
Cover 3 has easy parking, great food, and good drinks in an attractive indoor/outdoor setting -- it also has a dozen or so big-screen televisions, and they will all be showing Cup matches when the time arrives. Although the place isn't dog-friendly, it is family-friendly, so you can catch a game and still get a good meal. Note, though, that the place tends to get packed during World Cup games, with a diverse assortment of fans ranging from the casual to the die-hard Schweinsteiger jersey wearing Germany fan. In other words, you should feel right at home no matter how much (or little) you know about the various teams.

The Roo Pub

The Roo Pub

Northside

Best for: Socceroos fans
The Roo Pub is inarguably one of the best overall sports bars in San Antonio, with a huge venue, countless televisions, and ample parking. If you're part of a big group, this Australian bar and grill is the place to be -- and if you're a Socceroos fan, then this is your bar for the duration of the Cup. No word yet on drink or food specials, or whether the Roo will open up for the early soccer games, but those details are sure to come.

Krause's Cafe

Krause's Biergarten & Café

New Braunfels, Texas

Best for: Germany/beer fans
This traditional German beer hall is the closest you can get to feeling like you’re in Munich while you’re still in Texas -- and it's within 30 minutes of San Antonio, so we're including it here. The biergarten itself has 73 beers on tap, including 30 traditional German beers. For the World Cup, Krause's will be showing the matches on the four televisions outside, as well as the large indoor projector. In terms of German food, Krause’s is unmatched, with a heavy emphasis on traditional dishes such as schnitzel, bratwurst, and Bavarian pretzels. Krause’s is still in the process of figuring out what food or drink specials will be offered for the World Cup, but it's sure to emphasize either German or Mexican beer (depending on who is playing). If you're a die-hard German supporter and want to root for your team in a traditional atmosphere, this is the place for you.