Got a night or two in downtown San Antonio, and want to see the best of the best?
I’ve found myself in that situation more than once, and over my years living in this great city, I’ve come to find myself in the same local watering holes again and again.
Of course, San Antonio has a ton of great bars, but today we’re focusing just on those spots within the downtown area.
So whether you’re a visitor roaming the Riverwalk or a long time local finding themselves deep in the heart of San Antonio, here’s my picks for the best bars in downtown San Antonio!
Map of my favorite bars in Downtown San Antonio
The Esquire Tavern
You can’t say you went bar-hopping downtown if you didn’t make an appearance at The Esquire. The gorgeous, old-timey interior definitely makes for a warm but higher-end night of drinks. I mean, this place is dripping in gold and leather and intricate tilework, so if you want to feel like a high roller, grab a house cocktail like the Bexar Hug: a tequila cocktail with guava, lime, and sparkling wine.
Esquire has the longest wooden bar top in Texas, which clocks in at 100 feet long. Its downstairs area also overlooks the San Antonio River, which is the perfect view with a few drinks in your system. Thanks to the atmosphere, Esquire doesn’t get as rowdy as other downtown bars, so you and your friends can have a good (but still loud) time out in SA with tasty drinks.
- Address: 155 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205
- Website: The Esquire Tavern
The Local Bar
The Local Bar is the polar opposite of Esquire Tavern. It certainly isn’t fancy or pretentious, but it’s a place where downtown San Antonians will slip in to avoid the tourist crowds. You won’t find high-end bar tops or shiny new decor, but you’ll get ice cold Lone Star tallboys from a bartender who actually pays attention to you.
Oh, and Local Bar is a great place to pre-game a trip to the Alamo or Madame Tussaud’s, if that’s your thing. Their shots menu will get you where you need to go (in his drinking days, hubby loved the Pickle Shot, but Starf*$#Ker is my go-to).
- Address: 600 N Presa St, San Antonio, TX 78205
- Website: The Local Bar
SoHo Wine & Martini Bar
Okay, let’s get this out of the way first: “wine” is in its name, but SoHo doesn’t actually sell wine. Sure, it’s a weird misnomer, but the martinis here are to die for. And the old-timey, speakeasy vibe is nothing to shake a stick at, either. If you’re nice to the bartender, they can make just about any martini you can imagine. If you like sweet drinks, ask them for a Peanut Butter Cup martini as a perfect after-dinner treat.
- Address: 214 W Crockett St, San Antonio, TX 78205
- Website: SoHo Wine & Martini Bar
Did you know that the Rathskeller is the oldest bar in San Antonio? It’s had the same TABC license since 1937!
Sure, it’s decked out in retro wood paneling and tables that probably haven’t been updated since the 70s, but this historic bar tends to draw an older, calmer crowd. This German bar is housed in a building that also includes a bowling alley and ballroom. You won’t find fancy cocktails at the Rathskeller, but you can still get a cold can of Shiner or a glass of wine as you catch up with friends.
P.S. Like many older buildings downtown, the Rathskeller is supposed to be haunted AF.
- Address: 525 S St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78205
- Website: Rathskeller
Just visiting SA for a weekend? Stay at the Marriott downtown and you’ll find Bar 414 near the lobby. The speakeasy-inspired bar plays blues music and serves Prohibition-era cocktails to match its vibe. Stop by Monday – Friday from 4 pm – 7 pm for Happy Hour—or, if you’re a whiskey fan, stop by for $5 glasses of American whiskey on Wednesdays.
Oh, and don’t forget to order a few apps with your drinks, too; my husband swears that an Old Fashioned tastes even better with a side of pork rinds.
- Address: 205 E Houston St, San Antonio, TX 78205
- Website: Bar 414
Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub
There is nothing better in this world than a rowdy Irish pub, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at Durty Nelly’s. Celebrating 40 years on the River Walk, you can score a traditional pint of Guinness at Durty Nelly’s. If you’re trying to stay awake during a late bar crawl, order one of their mixed coffee drinks like an Irish Coffee, which comes with whisky, coffee, and whipped cream (it’s my favorite drink in the winter).
Durty Nelly’s also has live piano entertainment every day and serves up a mean basket of greasy bar food. Go for the Durty Animal Style Fries with brisket, cheese, grilled onions, and special sauce.
- Address: 200 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78205
- Website: Durty Nelly’s
Jet-Setters is another retro-modern bar, but it has an international flair. Most of its drinks are named after international locations or are internationally inspired. Try the Capetown, a bourbon drink with orange curacao and bitters, or the Chilicano with pisco, lime, ginger ale, and aromatic bitters. Be sure to stop by during happy hour every day from 4 pm – 7 pm for drink specials!
- Address: 229 E Houston St #10, San Antonio, TX 78205
- Website: Jet-Setters
Alibi’s Sports & Spirits
Hey, you can’t skip over a good ol’ sports bar like Alibi’s. This place is definitely more laid back and less of a tourist trap than bars like Esquire. Alibi’s has a full bar, so if you want a cold beer or shots, they’ve got a cure for what ails you. This bar isn’t a clubby sort of place; it’s a fun downtown dive where you can catch up with your buds, hear live music, and watch the latest game. If it’s too loud inside, check out Alibi’s outside area with plenty of seating.
- Address: 1141 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205
- Website: Alibis Sports & Spirits
Moses Rose’s Hideout
Moses Rose’s is the best-kept secret in downtown San Antonio. Locals nickname it “The Hideout” because it’s a 2-minute walk from the Alamo, but hardly any tourists drink here. I mean, it’s definitely a dive bar and doesn’t have the mystique of other downtown bars, but it’s a great place for Tex-Mex-inspired food and drinks. Try the Pepino Lindo (“Beautiful Cucumber”) with cucumber vodka, lime, and Tajin. Moses Rose’s also serves burgers, wings, and tacos to help you party all night long.
- Address: 516 E Houston St, San Antonio, TX 78205
- Website: Moses Rose’s Hideout