Where to drink now
Though this may come as little surprise to locals braving the sticky heat, San Antonio has a sub-tropical climate. While that may make an afternoon jog a little taxing, it’s perfect for another post-work diversion — beating the heat with a refreshing tiki drink. With fresh juices and sunny flavors, they are perfect for balmy weather.
Blue Box Bar
The brickwork and wood bar at this Pearl hangout hardly screams fun in the sun, but that doesn’t mean it doesn't pour one of the best tiki cocktails in Alamo City. The Mai Tai Is High turns the original formula of rum, lime, orange curaçao, and orgeat on its ear, adding (gasp!) vodka, banana, and peach liqueurs, and fresh berries. The result is a more complex drink than the original sugar bomb. Slowly sip and close your eyes and you might just hear the ocean.
This groundbreaking bar is making a move to the Pearl area by the end of the year, but there’s still some time to say goodbye to the OG location. Go on a Tuesday, when you’ll find historical tiki creations like the 1937 Nui Nui or the 1946 Scorpion Bowl. If you are more of a contemporary type, opt for one of the house cocktails like the Selena-inspired Como la Flor with Flor de Cana extra dry and Lemon Hart 151 rums. Either way, you’re in for a torrid evening.
The owners of this chic Japanese gastropub rarely stick to tradition (just look at the food menu’s beet-infused deviled eggs), so you shouldn’t expect to find classic tiki drinks or Mai Tais or Painkillers at the bar. Still, Hanzo's original creations might just find a spot in the tiki hall of fame. The Fuji Five-0 gets its name from sparkling Fuji apple sake, kicked up with a little Plantation Rum. But for true beach vibes, go with the Shiso Thursty, a sunny mix of Falernum, lime, shiso leaf, tiki bitters, Nigori sake, and pineapple-infused rum.
Although this hot spot boasts a collection of approximately 8,000 bottles of the stuff, rum is just the beginning for this funky restaurant’s collection of tiki drinks. Try the Oaxacan Sparrow with mezcal and aperol joining juicy fruits like pineapple and lime. Or go dry with the Let’s Get Tropical, a passion fruit sipper that finds paradise by way of Scandinavian aquavit. Feeling rowdy? Gather a few of your besties to share an Octopus Bowl or a Cuzco Punch.
Tiki Bar at El Tropicano
With its retro sign and midcentury building, this River Walk hotel is a step back into time to 1960s Acapulco, complete with a poolside bar selling beachy drinks. It may not have the encyclopedic liquor collection of San Antonio’s more serious bars, but it makes up for it with lively touches like a thatched roof and a roaring fire pit. Wear your best Hawaiian shirt and order a Zombie. Then, sit back and chill.