One of San Antonio's most awarded bars is teaming up on a new concept. Chris Hill, owner of The Esquire Tavern and Hugman's Oasis, is collaborating with Austin restaurant operator Ben Cachila on a "Japanese Whiskey Diner" concept called Tokyo Cowboy.
Located above Hugman’s Oasis at 135 E, Commerce Street, the new bar will offer shareable plates, signature cocktails, and an intriguing restaurant and bar atmosphere overlooking the River Walk. Tokyo Cowboy will open on Saturday, April 29, just in time for the last two days of Fiesta.
Hill is already well known in the San Antonio beverage world, while Cachila's background includes Uchi from James Beard Award-winning Hai Hospitality. According to a release, the menu will feature a "Tokyo meets Texas" vibe, to include an extensive array of Japanese whiskies and Japanese-inspired plates.
Alongside Japanese beer and a selection of wine, the cocktail menu will include enticing signature beverages such as the Togorashi Smoked Manhattan with Chinese 5 Spice Bitters; a Boozy Thai Tea with Japanese whisky, black tea, milk, sugar, and spice blend; Yuzu Margaritas with matcha salt; the Tokyo Cowboy Grasshopper with Creme de Cacao, Creme de Menthe, Braca Menta, pandan, and oatmilk; and Toki High Balls.
These will pair with food items such as Brisket Egg Rolls with pickled collards, queso asadero, and lime crema; Hot Chicken Chili Dumplings; Dashi Corn Waffles with shrimp and pork belly; Crispy Pork Chops with apple curry gravy; and Sushi Handroll “Tacos” filled with shrimp aguachile verde.
The bar's design will tie it all together, incorporating elegant and whimsical elements like custom brass light fixtures, warm wood banquettes and bar displays, locally designed wallpaper, custom brass countertops, millwork, and tabletops, and locally made centerpiece brass fixtures.
Apart from his San Antonio bar concepts, Hill is a local architect, developer, and preservationist. He has worked extensively to preserve the integrity and character of historic buildings in San Antonio, and Tokyo Cowboy will be no exception.
“We believe in authenticity," says Hill via release. "The San Antonio city center has a unique mix of 18th and 19th century limestone buildings intermixed with early 1920’s skyscrapers. The Milam building, when built in the late '20s, was the highest building west of the Mississippi, and we want to preserve and capitalize on that unique mix."
"The Witte Building had a storied past," he continues. "We wanted to bring the building back to a period of its prominence on Commerce Street. Fisher Heck Architects were tasked with the historic renovation, which included recreating and placing the carved limestone women’s faces atop pilaster columns and reinstalling the original three story wooden porches at the river facade of the building.”
The bar will open on Saturday, April 29.