(TIE) Ocho at Hotel Havana
, 1015 Navarro St., (210) 222-2008, havanasanantonio.com
; Sternewirth at Hotel Emma
, 136 E. Grayson St., (210) 448-8300, thehotelemma.com
> Although it’s only natural that two of San Antonio’s coolest hotels also have super-stylish bars, it’s a welcome surprise that Sternewirth (in Hotel Emma) and Ocho (in Hotel Havana) are both incredibly comfortable, vintage-inspired spaces ideal for lounging. From the giant fermentation tanks converted into surprisingly intimate seating cubbies to arrangements of massive leather sofas and a bar whose top was fashioned from a preserved tree trunk, there’s not a bad seat at Sternewirth to sit and enjoy a potent La Babia Margarita or the signature Three Emmas. While some might argue that the dimly lit, cinematically chic Havana Bar (formerly Club Cohiba) is technically Hotel Havana’s bar, it functions and feels like a basement extension to Ocho — a glass-encased restaurant/lounge that overlooks the River Walk and opens up onto a breezy patio perfect for sipping micheladas and mojitos. To properly experience the vibes that make us love these two spots, it’s important to time your visit wisely: Sternewirth is most enjoyable on weeknights in the early evening; and while the same is true of Ocho, it often gets packed and noisy an hour or two before big shows at the nearby Tobin Center, so check the schedule.