Setting the bar

5 classic San Antonio spots with tried-and-true happy hours

5 classic San Antonio spots with tried-and-true happy hours

Esquire Tavern San Antonio cocktail
During happy hour, The Esquire Tavern serves contemporary cocktails at historical prices. The Esquire Tavern/Facebook

With more and more San Antonio bars and restaurants opening every year, there’s a new happy hour to try every week. But sometimes it’s just easier to take all the guess work out of the afternoon ritual.

That’s why more often than not, we flock to Alamo City spots that have been around long enough to feel like second homes. With decades of experience under their belts, they’ve earned it.

Aldaco’s
Since first opening in 1989, Blanca Aldaco’s namesake restaurant has had one of the most bumping happy hours in town. From 2-6 pm on weekdays, enjoy a trio of margaritas for only $5.95. Everyone has a favorite, but it is hard to beat the signature avocado version with so much of creamy fruit it’s almost a health drink. Sip it with snacks like the layered dip or, better yet, arrive before 3 pm to take advantage of the lunch specials.

Bar America
This classic spot has been around since 1942, but it took it until 2014 to serve liquor. Celebrate that wise decision from 4-8 pm Tuesday through Friday or Saturday from 3-7 pm when refreshing cucumber martinis are $5 and Bloody Marys and well margaritas are only $4. While your at it, pig out on decidedly not health-conscious snacks like fried pickles, tots, breaded mushrooms, wings, or brisket nachos — none priced over $5.

The Esquire Tavern
Once Prohibition ended on December 5, 1933, this historic downtown bar wasted no time. The very next day, it was serving cold ones to thirsty San Antonians. Save for a few years in the 2000s, it still does the same today, especially during the weekend happy hour between 3-7 pm. The prices may be a higher than when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, but with a selection of $3 small plates and $3 off the entire cocktail menu, it’s pretty close.

Luther’s Cafe
Popular for its drag shows and its late night eats, this 60-year-old cafe also has one heck of a daily social from 2-7 pm. The snacks menu includes lots of choices under 10 bucks, including street tacos, sweet corn nuggets, and hefty piles of fries topped with everything from barbecue pork and queso to Philly cheesesteak fixings. Go late on Wednesday to stretch the wallet further. After 7 pm, all “frozenated” drinks are $3 a pop.

The Martini Club
The spring chicken of this list, The Martini Club has only been around since 1980, but that’s more than enough time to figure things out. From 4-7 pm on Tuesday through Friday, specialty martinis are naturally one of the best deals, clocking in at only $6.50. Well drinks are even cheaper at only $3, a small price to pay for some liquid courage before karaoke.