- Sara Luna Ellis
- Off-season silence makes way for Spurs viewing come game time.
As any puro San Anto resident can attest, it's a fantastic time to be a Spurs fan right about now. So, whether reveling in Manu's continued legacy or already daydreaming of LaMarcus Aldridge driving down the paint, now's the perfect time to think of great-but-less known spots to watch the Spurs next season.
In an attempt to convince downtown and midtown dwellers that there are better spots than ubiquitous sports barssports bars, I nominate Tony's as the número uno choice to watch Danny Green nail some three-pointers.
Owned and operated since 1999 by Tony Lopez along with his son and located next to the gas station on the corner of Brooklyn and North Alamo, Tony's is all about hospitality. I was greeted warmly with a koozie and a joke about my caller ID name (I had called earlier to get the hours of operation, and I forgot I changed my caller ID to my nickname, "Yonky"). I have made bigger mistakes after slamming a few daiquiris. I was then asked if I was avoiding traffic, and I wondered if it was a not-too-subtle hint that I seemed out of place or because many people actually wander in to avoid traffic.
After a couple laughs, I took the time to order a Bohemia and take in the calm atmosphere. I had only been in before to watch our Spurs, so I was used to the rowdy hustle and bustle of some of the most tried-and-true fans with whom I've partied.
The vibes are mega chill. Red rope lights are the main source of lighting, along with a couple others of the string variety and some neon beer signs. A man in a cowboy hat played a slot machine video game in the corner the entire time I was there, while another gentleman (also in a cowboy hat, because Tony's is technically a country bar) and I watched Entertainment Tonight on the big screen.
If found it peculiar to see a white door leaning against the wall next to me with a hand-written sign reading: "for sale $40." Actually, all of the signage is handwritten. This is my kind of place to unwind. Just some blue-collar dudes hanging out after work, maybe or maybe not in the market to buy a door. It felt like I was chillin' at my uncle's house. It was all very comfortable and welcoming which, as a female, is not always the feeling I get when going solo to a new bar.
That being said, I have seen Tony's at its complete opposite on Spurs game days — packed, packed, packed in the best of ways. Picture whistles blowing, towels swirling in the air, with free tacos and snacks typically available as a "thank you" from Tony. There are bar snacks being knocked on to the floor and beers are raised in either victory or disappointment.
Speaking of brews, prices go $2.25 for domestics and $3 for Mexican beers. With $15 per drink being the average these days, this is a breath of fresh air. Also worth mentioning, Tony's is cash only and there's no hard liquor to be had there — just beer and wine (à la Bar America back when it was cool). Don't worry, there is plenty of Smirnoff, so you can still "ice" the shit out of all your frenemies.
If you head to Tony's for a game this upcoming season — as you should — get there early, especially if you are coming with a group. The place is pretty intimate and it fills up fast. The maximum occupancy sign above the bar confirms the joint can hold up to 62 people. You can call ahead and reserve a table but good luck, as regulars are quick to claim first dibs. If you get there early enough and get settled with your frosty beers in time for the opening tip, you'll have a blast — guaranteed.
The air is electric with people from all over our great city, and I've had nothing but friendly and fun experiences at Tony's. If you are down to clown for a special occasion (post-bris, perhaps?), private parties are accommodated for $150. If you prefer the chill, off-duty vibes, just head down and play some pool and fiddle around with the jukebox. Either way, you're gonna dig Tony's.
206 Brooklyn Ave., (210) 227-4551, 4pm-2am daily