If you’re just starting at one of the three college campuses located in central San Antonio (or you just never made it off campus last semester), consider adding a little extra-curricular exploration to your course load. Thanks to prime locations, students at Trinity University, San Antonio College and University of the Incarnate Word can find plenty of off-campus spots for dating, dining, drinking and studying, all accessible with or without your own ride.
Great for a Date
Niki's Tokyo Inn
819 W Hildebrand, (210) 736-5471
Niki’s Tokyo Inn on Hildebrand is the definition of a treasured hole-in-the-wall restaurant. The friendly, knowledgeable waitstaff serves a delicious menu ranging from sushi to authentically prepared ramen. Patrons may eat in the main restaurant or upstairs, where they will be seated on cushions at tables low to the floor, in the traditional Japanese dining style.
For the Health Nuts
URTH Juice Bar
5317 McCullough , (210) 272-0467
Opened in 2009, the URTH Juice Bar offers tasty organic juices and smoothies that can be ordered straight off the menu or made exactly to taste. The bar is stocked for all dietary restrictions and choices—gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan concoctions are all easily ordered and prepared. URTH also boasts plenty of seating room and a colorful, funky interior decorated with the work of local and emerging artists.
Sweet Study Spot
3011 N St. Mary’s, (210) 738-0099
The Candlelight Coffeehouse has become one of San Antonio’s favorite places to relax and have a drink (alcoholic or otherwise) in a low-key atmosphere. In addition to 60 different wines, award-winning coffee and lots of unique sodas, Candlelight offers a wide variety of tasty dishes, many with an ethnic twist. Patrons can lounge inside on comfy couches and armchairs or slightly more formal dining tables, or hit up the expansive back patio. Bonus: LGBT friendly.
For Your BFF’s B-day Gift
On Main/Off Main
120 W Mistletoe, (210) 737-2323
Locally owned and operated in the historic Monte Vista neighborhood, On Main Off Main is a rare species of gift shop. From artisan chocolates, gag gifts and greeting cards to incense, books and Dia de los Muertos-inspired art, On Main/Off Main offers something for just about anyone.
San Antonio College
Late-night Eats and Karaoke
1422 N Main, (210) 223-7727
Need a place to chow down after a night of partying? Looking for somewhere casual to eat lunch? Luther’s Cafe has been the place to go in San Antonio for mouth-watering burgers, nachos and other American delicacies since 1949. The late-night karaoke on Friday and Saturday is not to be missed. Bonus: LGBT friendly.
For the Crate Diggers
1824 N Main, (210) 733-5354
Some people say the independent music store is dead, but don’t bring that up at Hogwild Records. This institution sells new and used CDs and records for great prices. While the stock trends toward metal and alternative rock, the Hogwild crew is nothing but helpful when it comes to locating and/or ordering albums from different genres. Finally, a great selection of merch like buttons, DVDs and T-shirts make this record store a classic hit.
Awesome Outdoor Dining
La Fonda on Main
2415 N Main, (210) 733-0621
La Fonda on Main is one of the San Antonio’s oldest Mexican restaurants, serving some of the best authentic and Tex-Mex food in the city since 1932. Patrons can enjoy their traditional pozole or enchiladas verdes in the elegantly decorated restaurant interior or out on the patio amongst gargantuan Live Oak trees and lush greenery.
Better Than a Bar
Bananas Billiards & Lounge
2003 San Pedro, (210) 226-2627
If you’re looking for a retro night out, Bananas Billiards & Lounge is the place to go. This bar, grill and pool hall offers a wide variety of old-school entertainment, including multiple pool tables (often free to play), dart targets, vintage arcade games and even a real juke box. Popcorn is also available.
University of the Incarnate Word
Fancy Drinks in a Fancy Atmosphere
Bar du Mon Ami
4901 Broadway, (210) 740-9229
On Broadway, Bar du Mon Ami offers a cozy spot to get together with friends over beer, mixed drinks and wine. Intimate leather booths, an art nouveau aesthetic and vintage R&B emanating from the speakers lend the bar a swanky atmosphere. Mixologists use fresh fruit and lots of little flourishes to make each drink a memorable one.
Music and Lit on the Cheap
3207 Broadway, (210) 822-4597
Tucked away next to a few consignment and antique shops on Broadway is Half-Price Books, a fab place to find used games, movies, books and all else one might need on a rainy day. The friendly staff and local sensibility of the little bookstore create an inviting environment for visitors to browse (or to stay and read).
3123 Broadway, (210) 828-2322
Fresh, fun and friendly, W.D. Deli serves up a stylish assortment sandwiches, soups and salads from old-school options like liverwurst to an amazing pimento cheese and walnut. Coffee, baked goods and a selection of refreshing iced teas also make this deli an excellent place for a casual date or quick study session.
To Watch the Game (Any and All of Them)
Lion and Rose
5148 Broadway, (210) 822-7673
The Lion and Rose on Broadway is a homegrown British pub, providing a warm, homey venue for friends to get together, watch the game and play a round of trivia. The pub fare ranges from authentic (Scotch Egg) to, um, not (nachos), and there’s also an uncommonly good selection of salads at this sports bar. Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper pub without an awesome selection of Irish and English ales, stouts and lagers.