Food & Drink

The Best Outdoor Restaurants and Bars in San Antonio

Published On 10/13/2015 Published On 10/13/2015
Nick Simonite/Ocho Lounge

Ocho Lounge

Beautiful and elegant without being stuffy, Ocho at the Hotel Havana is an amazing place to drink some tequila and watch the people. It’s the perfect place to take out-of-town guests when you want to show off our ciudad linda.


Launched in 2015, Paramour is decidedly more upscale than most of its fellow al fresco bars, which tend to be dog- and T-shirt-friendly. This rooftop lounge offers an outstanding vantage point from which to take in the skyline -- and the hobnobbers pretending for a night that SA is LA.

Nichole Connor/Taps Y Tapas

Taps y Tapas

There’s a surprise out back at this unassuming historic home-turned-restaurant -- a sprawling, enclosed yard with grass and trees and a bar and a stage. It’s intimate without feeling cramped -- a perfect setting for sharing a tableful of small plates with your nearest and dearest. 

The Friendly Spot

The name says it all as The Friendly Spot is Southtown’s open-air gathering space for all sorts of folks, and their dogs, seeking out a good michelada and an outdoor movie. Pull up a candy-colored retro lawn chair and make a new friend.

Courtesy of The Cove

The Cove

Few SA spots are more beloved than The Cove, a favorite for a cross-section of Alamo City residents looking for sustainable, locally sourced food in a sociable atmosphere as well as 50+ home-grown beers on tap.

La Tuna Grill & Icehouse

Order food in one building and drinks in another, then head to the shared outside space to enjoy your bounty. Such efficiency! The atmosphere is relaxed and lively at this family-owned favorite.

Courtesy of Two Bros.

Two Bros.

The only thing better than quality barbecue is quality barbecue eaten under the oak trees. You won’t find better brisket outside the Loop, or a prettier place to enjoy it.

Stay Golden Social House

Tucked under US 281, Stay Golden is only peripherally part of The Pearl. It’s a super-casual place whose skilled, friendly bartenders strive to make everyone feel like a regular. 

Courtesy of La Gloria

La Gloria

The menu features interior-Mexico street foods -- tacos, ceviches, tortas, and the like -- and the bar offerings are extensive. The real draw, though, is the outdoor space. It can get crowded, but it’s worth the wait to sit and relax alongside this serene and lovely section of the river. 

The Luxury

Come for the fries, stay for the river view. Order at the counter -- beer and wine only, which won’t bother you a bit when you see how extensive the selection is -- then grab your drink and hit the bocce court out back.

Courtesy of Toro Taco Bar

Toro Taco Bar

The two chefs behind one of SA’s newest bars have the chops to deliver top-shelf food and pair it with alcohol offerings that make sense. The patio space offers a great Downtown view and the squash tacos are buzzworthy.

Lee’s El Taco Garage

Happy hour drink prices at the Garage can’t be beat, and neither can the margaritas. San Antonians must agree, since the outdoor bar needed to be expanded to accommodate the happy crowds. Fun and funky, with live music often.

Courtesy of Viva Tacoland

Viva Tacoland

Mind that you don’t get too wild and run into a giant tree. As long as you can manage that, you’ll find much to love about this comfy, casual bar/taco stand that abuts The Pearl without absorbing any of its slick-n-shiny vibe.

Alamo Beer Company

If your fantasy is to hold your outdoor wedding reception at a brewery, this is the place to do it. The beer is excellent, and the well-manicured outdoor space is huge and more reminiscent of museum grounds than a bar.

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1. Ocho 1015 Navarro St, San Antonio, TX 78205

This restaurant and lounge at Hotel Havana offers indoor and outdoor seating in close proximity to the river. The menu pulls from a Pan-Latin influence, which is reflected in both its food and drink (including one of the best margaritas in the city). The downstairs lounge is dimly lit and intimate, with couches and leather chairs.

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2. Paramour 102 9th St, San Antonio, TX 78215

San Antonio's first rooftop bar, Paramour offers cocktails as spectacular as its views. While you're enjoying its industrial, rustic digs, considering dropping some cash on their selection of Pappy Van Winkle, the world's most sought after rye whiskey, and sip it as you look over the beautiful cityscape.

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3. Taps Y Tapas 1012 N Flores St, San Antonio, TX 78212

This restaurant serves modern Mexican food (specifically not Tex Mex) in a historic Five Points limestone building. The bar has 24 taps that attract craft beer enthusiasts and they offer a weekend brunch inspired by Mexican dishes, plus Tapas Social Hour Tuesday through Friday.

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4. The Friendly Spot 943 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78205

The Friendly Spot took the old model of the ice house and modernized it for the craft beer fan. Instead of sipping on Lone Star or Coors Light, you’ll have to decide which beer to order from one of their 76 taps or 250 bottles on hand.

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5. The Cove 606 W Cypress St, San Antonio, TX 78212

The Cove actually began as a laundromat and car wash -- its husband-and-wife team added food service as an afterthought, and now, years later, it's gained a dedicated following because of its welcoming atmosphere and organic, locally sourced ingredients. They offer lamb, bison, and brown-rice patties, plus their ‘09er, which is made with grass-fed beef and topped with goat cheese, pesto aioli, and roasted red peppers.

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6. La Tuna Grill and Icehouse 100 Probandt, San Antonio, TX 78204

This artsy eatery serves Tex-Mex and American classics, such as fish tacos, roasted lamb sandwiches, and loaded nachos. La Tuna also has a relaxed patio and icehouse that are perfect for happy hour.

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7. Two Bros BBQ Market 12656 West Ave, San Antonio, TX 78216

Ambiance-wise, it’s hard to find a better spot than Two Bros, with its oak-shaded outdoor picnic tables and extra-large double dining rooms inside. The menu also impresses with expertly smoked meats, solid sides, a free fixins' bar with an venerable choice of pickled goodies, and three distinctly different delicious sauces. Bright, warm and friendly, this is the perfect place to get your meat on.

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8. Stay Golden Social House 401 Pearl Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78215

Stay Golden Social House takes the best elements of the South Texas ice house and combines them with the sensibilities of a craft cocktail bar. One of Jeret Peña’s projects, this bar adjacent to the Pearl Brewery offers a killer happy hour in a laid-back environment.

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9. La Gloria 100 E Grayson St, San Antonio, TX 78215

This colorful cantina and icehouse is known for its authentic Mexican street food such as panuchos, ceviche, and tlayudas (Mexican pizza). Enjoy a prickly pear frozen margarita and al pastor tacos on the scenic patio.

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10. The Luxury 103 E Jones Ave, San Antonio, TX 78215

The Luxury is quirky and fun, with order-at-the-counter service and housed in converted cargo containers. They serve up hearty portions of eclectic, casual fare and features all-outdoor seating... kind of a maverick but with a serious chef pedigree. And remember, the fries are some of the best in Bexar County.

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11. Toro Taco Bar 114 Brooklyn Ave, San Antonio, TX 78202

This airy Mexican eatery offers frozen fresh fruit drinks alongside Mexico-inspired bar snacks. Bean and jalapeños tamales, mushroom poblano pop tart, and house-made guacamole are a few of Toro's specialties.

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12. Lee’s El Taco Garage 8403 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78209

This very relaxed breakfast-to-dinner Tex Mex spot is popular for its unbeatable margaritas and spacious setting.

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13. Viva Tacoland 103 W Grayson St, San Antonio, TX 78212

You’ll find much to love about this comfy, family-friendly bar/taco stand that abuts The Pearl without absorbing any of its slick-n-shiny vibe (or its prices!).

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14. Alamo Beer Company 202 Lamar, San Antonio, TX 78202

Brewed by born and bred Texans, Alamo Beer is a source of pride for the Lonestar State. A nod to the “Alamo” beer popularized by San Antonians during the pre-Prohibition years, the brewery crafts a focused list of quality brews – a signature golden ale, Vienna-style amber lager, a German pale ale, and a pilsner. The industrial space features a well-manicured outdoor beer garden, which seems more reminiscent of a museum grounds than a popular bar.