The tax deadline has passed, and whether you are anticipating an audit or a refund, the yearly chore gives us all a good cause to have a drink. Sure, San Antonio’s many neighborhood bars can take care of that need, but why not pay homage to the possibilities of spring by going off the beaten path?
Ranging from upscale cocktail meccas to down home dives, these five spots will all do the trick. Here’s to new beginnings.
Aquaduck Beer Garden
Location, as they say, is everything — something the owners of this indoor-outdoor space surely had in mind when they took root on the Southside off Mission Trail. Whimsically named after the Espalda Aquaduct, this spot takes an everyman approach to it brews. One won’t find beer nerds endlessly debating the relative merits of types of hops. Instead, they’ll discover an approachable selection of local craft brews, over-the-top micheladas, and frothy sugar bomb mimosas that all make a strong argument for living in the moment.
The Friendly Spot
Sure, a Southtown watering hole that has been around for a decade hardly qualifies as new. But a recent addition to the menu has given the place some fresh sparkle. Now, in addition to enjoying the stupefying selection of over 300 beers, guests can kick it up with equally friendly cocktails like margaritas and watermelon gin and tonics. It’s one of many reasons the neighborhood staple keeps packing them in.
This high-flying project from former Juniper Tar bar manager Benjamin Krick and Earth Burger’s Lucas Bradbury landed in the former downtown location of The Last Word on April 1. Fans of the former bar will find much to love in the midcentury modern-inspired space. It may look nothing like the former’s jazzy speakeasy digs, but drinks like the light rum-based Maritime Commerce once again prove why Krick is one of San Antonio’s most respected bartenders.
Housed inside a former gas station, this St. Mary’s Strip newcomer offers a different sort of fuel. Chad Carey of Empty Stomach Group (Chisme, Hot Joy, Barbaro) has stocked the walls with an ever-rotating selection affordable and unexpected wines. The interior is unexpected, too. Instead of using wine bar affectations like deeply pigmented walls and dark cafe chairs, the operation is wrapped in a gallery white — all the better for observing a Dolcetto as it swirls inside a glass.
The Culinary Institute of America’s latest venture has been mostly lauded for its food — and rightfully so — but the drink program is no slouch. Sticking to the classics, this Pearl eatery has a solid menu of greats like Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, and daiquiris and approachable wines that effortlessly work with the bold flavors coming out of the kitchen. By all means, don’t skip the prix fixe dinner experience, but also don’t overlook it for a casual date.