Neighborhood Gems

Blink and you could miss this gem from the folks behind The Cove

Blink and you could miss this gem from the folks behind The Cove

Sanchos Cantina y Cocina San Antonio restaurant bar front entrance
Keep your eyes peeled for Sanchos. Photo by Edmond Ortiz
Sanchos Cantina y Cocina San Antonio restaurant bar nachos
Sanchos serves up tacos, tortas, nachos, and small bites. Sanchos/Facebook
Sanchos Cantina y Cocina San Antonio restaurant bar cocktail drink shrimp balls
The bar highlights tequila, mezcal, and Mexican beer. Sanchos/Facebook
Sanchos Cantina y Cocina San Antonio restaurant bar front entrance
Sanchos Cantina y Cocina San Antonio restaurant bar nachos
Sanchos Cantina y Cocina San Antonio restaurant bar cocktail drink shrimp balls

On a short side street off San Pedro Avenue and Poplar Street, just north of downtown, lies Sanchos Cantina y Cocina. It's a classic blink-and-you-could-miss-it place.

Once you're on the grounds, Sanchos proves inviting with a laid-back style. It was opened last year by Sam and Lisa Asvestas, who own and run The Cove, the well-established restaurant that helped spark a local commercial renaissance in the Five Points neighborhood.

Sanchos has a similar vibe to The Cove, which is but a few steps away. With seating inside and out, this restaurant-and-bar combo is unassuming and welcomes all sorts of people: blue- or white-collar types getting off work, foodies, musicians, artists, and neighborhood residents.

The bar is fully stocked with tequila, mezcal, and cerveza. The beer imports are available by can, bottle, or draft, with prices averaging around $3 to $4. Sanchos also has a nice list of house cocktails, virtually all of them with tequila. Popular drinks include the Rita Rita, a frozen margarita with avocado, and the Cabrona, which relies on Malibu rum, Red Bull, and pineapple juice.

The kitchen is small, and so is the food menu, but the staff serves up a nice offering of goodies made from scratch. You could go light with chips and salsa, borracho beans, or shrimp balls. On the heavier side are tortas or nachos, which come with your choice of meat.

Sanchos also cranks out street tacos on house-made tortillas — shrimp, bistec, tinga, pollo al pastor, carnitas, pork belly, and picadillo are the heartier options. Don't do meat? No problem, as Sanchos will set you up with a vegan or vegetarian taco order. Of course, cilantro and onions are always available as a topping.

Sanchos is mostly an outdoor venue surrounding one building that is perhaps a few hundred square feet. It sounds small, but is really more intimate and cozy, with interior seats at the bar as well as a few tables with chairs. Live music can be enjoyed inside many nights. There's no "stage," so much as there is a compact space for the performers, but that only provides visitors with a good, close-up view of the show.

Although Sanchos does not have a playground like The Cove, the patio is still family-friendly. The crushed gravel patio wraps around the rustic-looking venue filled with aluminum chairs and tables. Bench and table seating is also available on a rooftop deck, accessible by a spiral staircase; from there, you may find a great view of the San Antonio skyline when you least expect it.

Sanchos is building up a reputation as a hidden gem in an older neighborhood that has a new kind of vibe with the independent bars and restaurants that have popped up in the area in recent years. It feels like a solid fit.

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