- Scott Ball
Call it the Near East Side, Dignowity Hill, "just east of downtown" or what have you, the area east of U.S. 281 as it borders downtown has come seen a boom in watering holes as of late. Here's a rundown of new options to head to once the clock strikes 5.
202 Lamar, (210) 872-5589, alamobeer.com, 3pm-9pm Thu; 3pm-midnight Fri;, noon-midnight Sat; noon-6pm Sun
Much like St. Arnold Brewing Company's warehouse location in downtown Houston, Alamo Beer is tucked neatly alongside other massive buildings. But unlike its H-town counterpart, which is devoid of a patio, Alamo Beer's 1,800-square-foot taproom puts the brewery's ample lawns to good use by hosting hundreds of beer-lovers Thursday through Sunday. Though the patio features polished wooden tabletops and benches, the brewery also allows for use of lawn chairs and blankets. If the brewery is hosting a special event, get there early – it's turning into quite the hot spot.
Big Hops Growler Station
306 Austin St., Suite 100, (210) 320-1995, bighops.com, 3pm-midnight Mon-Thu; noon-midnight Fri-Sun
The fourth location in a string of Big Hops Growler Stations found its groove inside the home of the former Boneshakers Tap House and Pizzeria this March next to the Hays Street Bridge. Riding the city's newfound love for craft beers originally established in the area by its predecessor, Big Hops "The Bridge" offers 30-plus beers on tap from across the San Antonio area and the state. Unlike its sister locations which have opened in strip centers off Broadway, Huebner Road and Bulverde Road, "The Bridge" uses a cast of ever-evolving food trucks and its historic building to attract downtown denizens (as if the beer to-go options weren't enough to get the job done).
Toro Taco Bar
114 Brooklyn Ave., torotacobar.com, 5pm-1am Thu-Mon
Chef-owners Josh Cross and Rick Frame have been around the scene long enough to know what people want — accessible snacks, cold beer, boozy margaritas and an awesome patio with a view. Bar-goers get all three with the addition of their first solo project, Toro Taco Bar. The kitchen cranks out street-style pork, cabrito, lengua and smoked cod tacos, a handful of guacamole iterations and quesadillas to fill those bellies while throwing back fresh-fruit frozen cocktails and craft beer from Mexico and Texas.