WINNER: The Bang Bang Bar
119 El Mio Drive • (210) 320-1187
In this day and age, it says a lot about an establishment when they don't claim to want to "revolutionize the city's nightlife experience" or be an exclusive, VIP-only lounge, catering to Spurs, their wives and their sides. As San Antonio continues to grow and evolve, it seems important to the city, as it should, that we grow "the right way." Now, what could possibly be the right way? That's subjective, of course, but we tend to lean toward the image of a bar or venue that pulls from the strengths of the city, the culture and beauty that is already here, rather than become part of the "gentrifical force" that is sweeping through the "realest" neighborhoods in the United States. The Bang Bang Bar never imported their fine antiquities, from the TV frames holding the liquor behind the bar — collected from locals — to the records spanning the bartop — given by the owners' mothers — and the crushed red velvet loveseats, antique coffee tables and skee-ball machine, yes, skee-ball machine, all collected via Craigslist browsing and/or local dealers. With a daily six-hour-long happy hour in which only oldies are played, you're not exactly begging for the trendiest "tastemakers" to barrage your spot, bedazzled selfie sticks in hand. The three owners, Jenn Alva, Jamie Hoppe and Phanie Diaz, want a San Antonio bar that caters to San Antonians, spares you the omnipresent Top 40 tripe and is a welcoming and inclusive place for anyone who wants a taste of proud, honest, sincere San Antonio.