Family-friendly outdoor beer garden hatches on San Antonio’s South Side

Family-friendly beer garden hatches on San Antonio’s South Side

Brooster's Backyard Icehouse
Opening this weekend on the South Side. Brooster's Backyard Icehouse/Facebook

The chickens have come home to roost on San Antonio’s South Side. Brooster’s Backyard Icehouse, a new restaurant and bar located at 815 Pleasanton Rd., opens today, November 20, egging on San Antonians to join the family- and pet-friendly festivities as the beer garden celebrates its grand opening.

The icehouse, which includes a full bar and a 6,000-square-foot outdoor activity space complete with a variety of yard games, is the brain child of owner Norman Velez, a 20-year veteran of San Antonio’s restaurant and bar industry. Velez, who hails from the South Side, says he’s long wanted to open a concept in the area, and began scouting locations a couple years ago. It’s a business he’s so passionate about, he refused to chicken out even amid the pandemic.

“This is going to sound funny and crazy, but this pandemic actually did it,” Velez told the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce in an interview, referring to his decision to open now instead of waiting out the pandemic. “Me and my business partner said, ‘You know what? Why don’t we go ahead and move on something on the South Side?’ … When the opportunity presented itself, I just jumped on it.”

Velez aims to give back to his South Side community by providing a community gathering space that embraces the neighborhood, noting the most important aspects of the icehouse are that it’s family- and community-focused. He says he hopes to expand the concept to other locations in coming years, always paying homage to Brooster’s original spot on the South Side.

The Brooster’s menu includes plenty of beer-bar favorites like chicken wings, fried pickles, and loaded fries, but Velez made sure to include some San Antonio staples as well, like street tacos and barbacoa. Patrons can even enjoy a beer alongside their pooches since Brooster’s will also offer its non-alcoholic pork brew for pups, Bowser Beer.

The icehouse’s grand opening event begins at 4 pm on Friday, November 20, and includes free hot dogs and hamburgers while supplies last, a mariachi performance, games, and giveaways.