Don't Miss These 6 Bars That San Antonio Locals Love
When visiting San Antonio skip all the tourist traps with sky high prices and crowded spaces and check out the watering holes that locals love.
There is no shortage of places to find a drink in San Antonio. While most tourists will simply venture out to the bar or pub nearest to their hotel if you take some time and do some research you can find the places that locals love to hang out and have a truly San Antonioan experience. Often times the unique places, just off the beaten path, are the best way to get to know a city's culture and people. By visiting these bars you can get the real feel for life in the Alamo city. From hidden speakeasies to local breweries there is a little bit of everything for just about anyone in San Antonio. So if you're looking for something a bit more unique than the Howl at the Moon or Pat O'Briens why not check out something a little more local.
Paramour: High Class with Great Views
Paramour is the new hotspot in San Antonio. It opened its doors in the fall of 2015 and has been the place to been seen ever since. Located between the Pearl Brewery and Downtown just off the Riverwalk this lounge is an easy walk for anyone visiting the city. If you don't feel like walking there is a River taxi stop just a few feet from the entrance.
When you arrive at Paramour you'll instantly be confused. This bar, located on the top floor of the building, isn't easy to find. Look for the fire-escape like stairs on the south side of the building. There you'll find the bouncers who can point you in the direction of the elevators or if you're up for a walk head up the stairs.
Inside Paramour offers unobstructed views of the Alamo city skyline. It's a great place to watch the sunset, check out a River Parade during Fiesta, or take in the Christmas Light Show on the river. There is plenty of seating both inside and out and a cocktail list to suit just about any taste. If cocktails aren't your jam then check out the list of local beers or the scotch list that is takes up a small book. When visiting such a fancy location be sure to dress smart and bring your camera because you'll want to snap some photos to show off your find to your friends.
Paramour's Address: 102 9th St | San Antonio, TX 78215
Stay Golden Social House: Chill Environment at the Pearl
Stay Golden Social House is truly for locals only. Located just a few feet from the crowded Pearl Brewery complex this bar offers a relaxing environment away from all the crowds. They have a fantastic cocktail selection and a long list of local beers to choose from. During the weekends there are often food trucks parked near by so you can grab a bite to eat while enjoying your drinks. Both the food trucks and Stay Golden have very reasonable prices and a great selection so pencil in a reasonable amount of time into your schedule to check them out. You'll definitely want to pull up a chair and stay awhile.
Stay Golden has a small indoor seating area and a large outdoor space as is typical for bars in South Texas. The "ice house" feel of this place just increases its charm. They have a large screen out back for showing Spurs games and lawn games to keep you busy while you sip your drinks. This the perfect spot to stop and relax after shopping around at the Pearl Brewery Complex's many kitschy shops or after visiting the farmer's market which runs Saturday and Sunday mornings and early afternoons.
Stay Golden Social House's Address: 401 Pearl Pkwy, San Antonio, Texas 78215
Sternewirth: The New and Exciting Addition to Hotel Emma
Sternewirth is the new cocktail lounge in Hotel Emma. The hotel, which opened in November of 2015, was built in the ruins of the old Pearl Brewery. The restoration process was remarkable and this landmark hotel offers some of the most interesting decorations in town. In particular Sternewirth is appointed with many relics from the original brewery which have been restored. The old steel fermentation tanks have been refurbished and turned into private seating areas.
Visiting this bar is best done with a group as it is arranged to seat large parties and gives plenty of space to lounge about and enjoy a conversation with friends while sipping your cocktails. They also offer a selection of snacks and small plates to nibble on during your stay. Come early as the place can get quite crowded in the evenings and on the weekends.
The bar was named Sternewirth as a nod to the Sternewirth Privilege. This law entitled those working at breweries in the 19th century to enjoy free beers throughout the workday. While the law was repealed during the Prohibition its legend lives on. Check out Sternewirth's webpage for more stories about what it was like to work at the Pearl Brewery in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Additionally, while visiting the bar and hotel look around for more information about the original brewery you'd be surprised what you can learn!
Sternewirth Address: 136 E. Grayson | San Antonio, TX 78215
The Friendly Spot: An Ice House with Great Beer
The Friendly Spot is properly named as it may just be the friendliest spot in town. This "ice house" style bar has been a favorite of locals for years. It sits in King William, a historic area a few minutes walk from downtown. The bar has a playground area for kids to play while their parents relax with a drink. It is also pet friendly, as are most outdoor places in San Antonio, so you will see quite a few furry friends accompanying their owners to their local watering hole.
While they have a full bar the Friendly Spot is known for their beer selection. They boast an impressive 76 taps and over 250 different bottles. If you are a beer connoisseur then you'll definitely need to check this place out as they are almost guaranteed to have something new and exciting for you to try. The locals know the larger bar, with the shorter lines, is in the back behind the main bar. There is also plenty more seating behind the main bar if the front is crowded. A small food selection tops off the menu, try out the loaded chilli cheese fries if you're feeling hungry.
The bar can get crowded especially on the first Friday of every month. First Friday is an event that runs each month on, you guessed it, the first Friday. The main street is closed off and filled with artists, street performers, and vendors selling all sorts of local art and wares. If you're in town you should definitely come and check out this unique festival and relax with a Texas Beer afterward.
The Friendly Spot Address: 943 S Alamo St | San Antonio, TX 78205
Bar 1919: Hidden Speakeasy
Bar 1919 is a speakeasy style bar in San Antonio located in the Blue Star Art Complex. Keeping true to its speakeasy style there are no markings for this bar including no sign. When you arrive at the address you will see a set of stairs descending down into a small outdoor patio with a table or two. Near the tables is an unmarked door—this leads you right into Bar 1919.
Upon entering you'll be greeted with dimly lit bar filled with more kinds of alcohol that you ever knew existed; but, however, only one type of vodka (ask the bartender why for a fun story). Here the bartenders wear vests and bowties and the making each drink is truly an entertaining production. The drinks, or libations as they call them, are carefully crafted with no detail spared. The menu is rotating and seasonal but many favorites, like the Blue Azul, are permanent fixtures.
The bartenders here are dedicated to making sure you find a drink that you love. If you don't find anything on their expansive menu that suits your fancy talk to them and they will create a handcrafted cocktail specific to your tastes. It's worth having them make you a custom drink as they are always delicious and unique. The bar serves a few small plates to give you something to snack on. While you're there be sure to read the "house rules" found on the back of the bar menus. They are good for a laugh and speak to the true character of this unique San Antonio spot.
Bar 1919 Address: 1420 S Alamo St | San Antonio, TX 78204
Alamo Beer Company Tasting Room: Local Beer and Food
Alamo Beer Company is a local brewery that offers some fantastic microbrews. Check out their tasting room/bar located within walking distance of downtown just over the Hays Street Bridge. In fact their tasting room sits just beneath the bridge. Here you can sample the local brews or settle in with a few pints while enjoying the great Texas weather. There is ample seating both indoors and out and furry friends are allowed to join you.
Alamo Beer Company is a favorite of locals. Their signature beer, Golden, is available in many restaurants and stores around town. By coming to their tasting room you can try their seasonals as well as some of the exclusive beers such as their Amber Lager, German Pale Ale, and their Pilsner. The tasting room and beer hall are open to the public Thursday - Sunday.
Check out their website for events, often food trucks or local restaurants will bring in food or there will be live music to complete the experience. While you can get Alamo beers at many local restaurants and grocery stores nothing will compare to getting a frosty glass right at its source. They do their brewing on site and there are even occasionally tours of the brewing facility.
Alamo Beer Company Address: 202 Lamar Street, San Antonio | Texas 78202
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