Entertaining out-of-town guests can be a hassle. Finding the perfect spot is daunting, but thankfully San Antonio has a plethora of joints that cater to the most discerning of guests and they're all scattered across town. Here in no particular order are the places we'd take mom, dad, old friends, new friends, college roommates, wily grandmas and more.
Facebook/The Esquire Tavern
Though not the first cocktail bar in San Antonio, The Esquire
(155 E. Commerce St., 210-222-2521) earns points for several great traits. From its storied history as the longest bar in Texas, to its thoughtful decor, to its amazing food menu, to its extensive mezcal list, and yes, classic and inventive cocktails, there's a bit of everything to find here.
Maybe we love The Brooklynite
(516 Brooklyn Ave., 210-444-0707) because it's a hop-skip away from our office, but the bar's appeal doesn't stop there. Take your visitors there for great cocktails, people-watching come weekends or a potent Pain Killer from their tiki menu featured every Tuesday.
Facebook/The Friendly Spot Ice House
Or maybe you want a place where you can let the kiddos get the wiggles out. You can do that at The Friendly Spot Ice House
(943 S. Alamo St., 210-224-2337). Beer lovers will get to choose from oodles of bottles on the wall (er-fridge) or more than 70 taps of local, regional and national craft — though you can still get down with a Lone Star if you want. Pups are also welcome to while away the day under the giant trees or take in a movie during the week on the inflatable big screen.
Good ol' Francis Bogside
(803 S. St. Mary's St., 210- 988-3093). Actually, it's not very old, but it felt homey from the get-go. Maybe it was the friendly bartenders, the varied food menu that surprises us to this day, or how close it is to downtown. As Steve Mahoney's newest bar, Franky Bogs comes in as his best with a killer reverse happy hour after 10 that includes $5 cocktails, an airy space and moderate noise-volume so you can still have conversations with the person sitting across from you.
Facebook/Bohanan's Prime Steaks & Seafood
If we're talking OG bars, your out-of-town guests need to visit Bohanan's
(219 E. Houston St., 210-472-2600) for expertly made cocktails by a professional staff and the classy vibes that grow from spending time on Houston Street.
Yes, you can take your guests to grab a margarita at X place. But why not treat them to an experience? Take them to Mezcalería Mixtli
(5313 McCullough Ave., 210- 320-1660) where you can learn about mezcal and tequila by sipping copitas and noshing on Mexican botanas.
If frozen margs are more their speed (no shade here), head to Sanchos
(628 Jackson St., 210-320-1840) which is equal parts patio, music venue, purveyor of tasty tacos and other bar snacks (get the shrimp balls). But it's best to enjoy them on the roof where you get magnificent views of Downtown, the Taco Bell parking lot and more.
SA Current/Jeffrey Burton
If your fam has high expectations and not just any old rooftop will cut it, take 'em to Paramour (102 9th St., Suite 400). Known for its barrel-aged program, thorough wine list and being Downtown's first rooftop bar, the sprawling watering hole makes for excellent people watching. Take in the view with your pals and brag about how cool San Antonio is getting.
If you're already in the Pearl area because your visitors needed to get a box of macarons from Bakery Lorraine, then make sure to walk them on over to Hotel Emma, where they can ooh and ahh at Sternewirth
(136 E. Grayson St., 210-223-7375). Because it really is that breath-taking, it will require multiple visits, but their first foray into this brewery-turned-bar should include a sit in the brew-tanks that now function as fun cubbies for groups. Or sit near the wine wall and lord over the rest of the patrons, or take the whole family (adults only) and sit at the long table over a few tiki drinks.
SA Current/Sara Luna Ellis
On the flip side of posh, get a true San Anto experience and visit Tony's Bar (206 Brooklyn Ave., 210-227-4551). Yes, it's cash only, but the libations are hella cheap and Tony Lopez and his staff will take care of your brood. It's one of the Current's
favorite places to watch the Spurs game and will be yours soon, too.
This one's a bit of a two-fer as Freetail
technically has two locations. There's the original brewpub with fun brewspirements at 4035 N. Loop 1604 W., Suite 105 that features a legit beer list and even better food menu so you can take hungry visitors to grab a bite. Or take them way south to the brewery's taproom at 2000 S. Presa St. where your guests can learn about Freetail's brewing mantra and enjoy a flight to sample all the offerings.
The St. Mary's Strip is having a bit of a renaissance and leading that charge is Danny Delgado, owner of Faust Tavern
(517 E. Woodlawn Ave., 210-257-0628), Hi-Tones, La Botanica, Phantom Room and soon The Squeezebox. Faust edges out sister Hi-Tones (though you should definitely still go there and have a pickle shot) with Crossroads Kitchen, which serves Southern fare until 2 a.m., its spooktastic vibe (there's a ouija board inside!) and laid-back atmosphere.
When The Hoppy Monk
first landed in SA, we thought it was too good to be true. But several visits and beers in and we couldn't speak highly enough of this bar with its more than 90 taps of craft brew, delicious and evolving menu and chill ambiance. Sure, it sits right next to 1604 and doesn't have the best of views, but if your guests want great tacos and equally tasty beer, you could do far, far worse.
Honestly, you could go to any Big Hops location (off Bitters, Huebner or Austin St.) and get great service and your fill of growlers. But we're partial to the Bridge
location where you can hop on Hays Street Bridge and admire San Antonio from a new angle. Your out-of-town guests will get a great view and hopefully a few great beers.
If your guests want to get down, take them to the Bonham Exchange
(411 Bonham St., 210-224-9219) one of San Antonio's oldest, longest-running gay bar and it's housed inside a historic building. The drinks are cheap, the place is massive and the DJ sets are on point. What more do they want?
If your friends and family would rather visit a dive than a cocktail lounge, or if they're into day-drinking early, then a visit to Cobalt Club (2022 McCullough Ave., 210-734-2244) is in order. The tiny bar plays host to random performances by local acts like Buttercup
and opens at 7 a.m. for all your drinking needs.
Maybe your guests need a very specific kind of entertainment? Pegasus Nightclub (1402 N. Main Ave., 210-299-4222) with its outdoor drag courtyard, country bar and leather bar is a can't-miss stop if you and your guests are crawling along the Main Avenue Strip. Make sure to fuel of at Luther's beforehand.
Facebook/Tucker's Kozy Korner
A San Antonio staple since 1948, Tucker's Kozy Korner (1338 E. Houston St., 210-320-2192) has gone through plenty iterations. The latest, owned by Chris Cullum of Cullum's Attaboy and Attagirl, delivers dance nights, elevated bar food and an even better brunch. Give your company a taste for the East Side with a stop at this long-standing bar.