Instagram / The Esquire Tavern / Kody Melton
After months shuttered, River Walk craft cocktail stalwart the Esquire Tavern will reopen later this year with a new leadership team and approachable neighborhood vibes.
Jeret Peña — known for popular craft cocktail bars the Brooklynite, Still Golden Social House and the Last Word — will return to the storied downtown tavern, partnering with owner Chris Hill to take over cocktail menu development and operations.
“Convention traffic is going to be fucked for at least a couple of years, thanks to COVID,” Peña told the Current
. “Now is the time to rethink what the Esquire can offer to San Antonio. We're taking a look at market trends, and making moves to pivot into something that makes sense for the long haul.”
The aesthetics of the nationally recognized boozery won’t see much of a change — it’s the attitude that will get a makeover. Those who loved Still Golden Social House’s easygoing vibe will be thrilled to learn that Peña intends to inject the Esquire Tavern with a similar dose of approachability.
“We're still going to be cocktail-focused,” Peña said. “We’re just going to cast a wider net."
The revamped menu will encompass the expertly crafted cocktails the Tavern is known for — but with the addition of frozen drinks and beer-and-shot combos.
This will be Peña’s second stint behind the Esquire's hundred-foot-long wooden bar. He previously held the title of HBIC (that's Head Bartender in Charge) from 2010 to 2012, a period during which the iconic River Walk spot was nominated for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program.
An official reopening date hasn't been set, and Downstairs — the cave-like bar under the Esquire — will remain closed for the time being, albeit with plans to reopen at a later date.
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