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You're about to do a lot of drinking. Though San Anto still has its fair share of sports bars and dives, the cocktail lounge has made its presence known in the past five years, starting with a small group of downtown establishments that's ballooned to more than a dozen bars, each offering something different to the imbibing set. Visit Bohanan's Bar (219 E. Houston St.) for a sip of the good life inside their downstairs bar where well-suited 'tenders whip up classic cocktails in the heart of downtown. Or shimmy on over to SoHo Wine & Martini Bar (214 W. Crockett St.), where you'll find fun takes on sweet and spicy 'tinis and bold boozy favorites. The Last Word (229 E. Houston St.), the most recent addition to Houston Street via Jeret Peña and his Boulevardier Group, adds a bookish vibe to tap cocktails for a winning combination. The Last Word also joins the growing list of bars owned by Peña, including cocktail mecca The Brooklynite (516 Brooklyn Ave.) and laidback libation producer Stay Golden Social House (401 Pearl Pkwy.). The cocktails continue with Hemingway Daiquiris at Ocho inside Hotel Havana (1015 Navarro St.) and heavyweight The Esquire Tavern (155 E. Commerce St.), which boasts a bitchin' mezcal list and the longest bar in Texas. Over in Southtown, Bar 1919 (1420 S. Alamo St.) is helmed by Don Marsh, who will expound on the virtues of great Scotch. Islander flavors can be found at Concrete Jungle (1628 S. Presa St.), where the name of the game is tiki — so make sure to don your comfiest flip flops. The area's cocktail game rounds out with party-sized offerings at Feast (1024 S. Alamo St.), Asian-inspired 'tails at Hot Joy (1014 S. Alamo St.) and The Monterey (1127 S. St. Mary's St.), which launched its menu last fall. The booze jaunt also features stops at the Pearl, where you'll find cocktails via the boys at Blue Box (312 Pearl Pkwy.), along with Cured (306 Pearl Pkwy.), and Arcade Midtown Kitchen (303 Pearl Pkwy.), eateries that combine great eats and drinks. The St. Mary's strip has found a small cocktail niche of its own with the brandy-based wares found at Faust Tavern (517 E. Woodlawn Ave.) and industry-favorite TBA (2801 N. St. Mary's St.). Elisabeth Forsythe holds court at Barbaro (2720 McCullough Ave.) with bitter Italian amaros and smoky libations, while Park Social (224 E. Olmos Dr.) is wowing drinkers with their inventive portholes.
The North Side has a few cocktail bars of its own to tout including two Stephen Mahoney-created joints, Green Lantern (20626 Stone Oak Pkwy.) and George's Keep (17101 La Cantera Pkwy.), which crank out creative takes on faves to a rowdy Loopland crowd. With stirrings of others on the horizon (Paramour, Mezcalería Mixtli and Junipter Tar, to name a few), it seems San Antonio's thirst for cocktail bars is just getting started.