Between mandated shutdowns and reopenings (and more shutdowns), San Antonio bars have been through the wringer, and the five nominees for CultureMap's Tastemaker Awards Bar of the Year have are no different. These spots have faced unprecedented challenges over the past few months, and we're honored to spotlight them for their work.
Our five of the nominees are quite different, and range from subterranean speakeasys to laid-back wine bars. And they all mixing up the city's cocktail scene in their own unique ways.
Raise a toast to the five fabulous cantinas that topped our list this year, then tune in on July 23 at 7 pm as we reveal the winner during our first-ever Tastemaker Awards — Virtual Edition. It's our way of celebrating the extraordinary spirit of the San Antonio restaurant and bar scene during this challenging time. Tickets to the virtual event are on sale now and include a Tasting Tote featuring bites, sips, and more to enjoy at home.
Nestled within the Blue Star Arts Complex, this swanky, subterranean spot has the feel of a modern speakeasy. Popular with both hipsters and the corporate set, craft cocktails are the proven attraction — and the bartenders are always a sight for sore eyes. Bar 1919 also serves charcuterie for a truly decadent experience.
Not far from the glow of the Alamodome, this bar doubles as a watering hole and charity. The growing number of downtown residents that frequent this neighborhood gem might agree that the caring spirit that inspired the establishment is apparent in its cocktails that always hit the spot.
True to its name, a quick glimpse around this midcentury, internationally inspired lounge offers the feeling of cocktailing in either London, Tokyo, or Berlin. With its opulent Mad Men-esque atmosphere and brow-raising cocktail menu, Jet Setter is among the best places in the Alamo City for a rendezvous. Feel free to unfasten your seatbelt during takeoff and landing, Jet-Setter brings the world to you one sip at a time.
Little Death: Hey, now. We see what you did there. Brought to you by Chad Carey, owner of Paper Tiger, Barbero, Hot Joy, Rumble, and Midnight Swim, this unique wine bar offers vinos you won’t find at H-E-B. Like its drinks, Little Death is in a class by itself.
Not yet a year old, this downtown cocktail bar offers an intimate setting and a charming backyard area that are perfect for colorful soirees. In fact, the glorious furniture alone is reason enough to add to one’s must-see list. Like its sister venue, Jett-Setter, their world-class drinks are made with dynamic flair and thoughtful ingenuity.