Meet the Tastemakers
Each year, we toast Alamo City's top restaurant and bar talent with the CultureMap Tastemaker Awards. Now it's time to raise a glass to San Antonio's best bars.
Our 2021 Bar of the Year nominees range from new ventures that beat the odds amid the pandemic to longtime San Antonio establishments. Among them, two key trends emerge: a celebration of tiki drinks and classic cocktails.
From the River Walk to Southtown, from casual spots to swanky speakeasies, these are the five best bars in San Antonio. Read about them below, stop in for a drink, then join us August 5 at Austin's Fair Market for the Tastemaker Awards, when we will unveil the winner in this category and many more. Tickets to the signature tasting event and awards ceremony are on sale now.
This new cocktail lounge is shaking up Southtown. Located behind the historic Bar America, Amor Eterno is an intimate spot for a drink or two, celebrating Alamo City's vibrant culture via colorful tiki-style drinks and boasting a fun tiki brunch on Sundays to cap off the week.
This San Antonio speakeasy, named for the year that Prohibition was ratified, serves up perfectly crafted classics for the most discerning drinkers. Belly up to Bar 1919 for award-winning classic cocktails and signature creations. Just don't ask for a Cosmo or Long Island iced tea (it's against the house rules, really).
The Esquire Tavern
The Esquire Tavern pours out a menu of classic drinks that harken back to its 1933 origins. Pair a cocktail with the bar's comforting fare (deviled eggs, burgers, even a fried seafood platter) for a quintessential evening on the River Walk. This is the attraction's oldest bar, after all.
San Antonio bar star Jeret Peña does it again with Hello Paradise, the new Southtown hot spot for cool sips. Here, you can build your own "Frozen Drank" by choosing a base — daiquiri or margarita — then jazzing it up with a flavor. Go classic with mango or strawberry or get unique with spicy cucumber or matcha. There are also house shots and cocktails, plus a menu of authentic Thai fare to balance the booze.
This new River Walk destination from restaurateur Chris Hill is like taking a trip to the Pacific Islands. All the tiki classics are here — Painkillers, Mai Thais, and more — complemented by Hugman's house creations (try a Piñagroni, made with gin, pineapple-washed Campari, and sweet vermouth). Sip them alongside affordable, elevated snacks such as candied jalapeño rangoons ($7) or ribeye galbi skewers ($9) to complete your tropical escape.