Best Bars in San Antonio

From Classy Craft Cocktails to Local Brews at Outdoor Haunts

San Antonio prides itself on its ability to have a good time and, of course, that means some awesome bar options!

The Alamo City is fortunate to see plenty of sunny days and takes advantage of this with a number of wonderful outdoor venues. Among the best of the best is Burleson Yard Beer Garden. There's just something special about this place that makes you want to go again and again. The spacious outdoor patio, array of libations and ping pong tables might just be it!

The Luxury is also a fun outdoor bar, with swinging chairs that face the picturesque riverwalk and serious bar food, including one of the most scrumptious burgers in town. If you're hungry, make sure to get a side of fries topped with their special sauce. 

For something a little more classy, but with a local vibe, head to Dorcol Distilling Co. to partake of their unique apricot brandy and superbly-crafted brews, which are made on-site. To step it up even more, take that special someone to Jazz, TX for live jazz, craft cocktails and even a little dancing, if you're so inclined. 







The Flying Saucer is a favorite for hanging out after work or on the weekends and watching the game with some outstanding beer and good food. The Flying Saucer is the preeminent bar in town, known for its extensive beer selection with 80 brews on tap and about a dozen TV's. This is a place for anyone and everyone. You can even bring the kids during the daytime. So grab a beer and a brat and relax inside or outside on the patio. The menu also has a wide variety of soups, salads and sandwiches, such as the Reuben-esque, which comes with pastrami, jalapeno kraut, Swiss cheese and 1,000 Island dressing on rye bread. Locals like to take on the challenge to see if they can try all of the brews on tap. Think you're up for it?

Recommended for Bars because: Flying Saucer offers a massive assortment of imported and domestic quality craft beers and a full pub menu.

Kimberly's expert tip: One of the best bar options for beer enthusiasts on the north side of town.

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This outdoor bar is the best place to hang out when the weather's perfect. While it's not a traditional sports bar as they only have one giant inflatable screen, there's nowhere better to watch the NFL games on Sunday or the always popular Spurs games. Voted by readers of the San Antonio Current as best ice house, best michelada and best patio, The Friendly Spot is an excellent place to relax under a shade tree and enjoy any of their phenomenal beers, of which they have almost 200 selections from Texas brewers. Alamo Beer Company and Real Ale Brewing Company are among the offerings. Its location at the heart of the trendy and pedestrian-oriented King William Historic District is one of the draws.

Recommended for Bars because: A popular outdoor bar, the vibe at the Friendly Spot feels as if you're hanging out in your friend's backyard.

Kimberly's expert tip: Bring the kids. They have a playground!

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With 17 beers on tap, standard and tournament-sized pool tables, and a TV playing the big game, it's back to basics at Joey's. Keeping things simple has made this St. Mary's bar a longstanding success. College students and neighborhood regulars lend a laid-back vibe to the proceedings. Grab a seat on the rooftop deck if the weather's nice, or get the best view of the television from the second-floor balcony. With reasonable drink prices and better-than-average food, Joey's is always a good bet. We recommend the pizza and a game of shuffle board for a night to remember with the best of friends.

Recommended for Bars because: A local haunt, Joey's is the place to go if you like your drinks with a side of games.

Kimberly's expert tip: Go during the week to ensure you get a pool table.

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Durty Nelly's is a genuine Irish pub located right on the Riverwalk and is a tourist favorite. Even locals looking for a rowdy evening go to Durty Nelly's for the piano bar. This great little pub is a replica of the orginal Durty Nelly's in Ireland and dates back to 1620. This bar is always hoppin' so make sure to get in early to find a good seat. If you're looking for some nosh, Durty Nelly's has some good eats, including Fish & Chips, Jalepeno Poppers, Irish Fries, Wings, a Grilled Reuben, Shepard's Pie and more. What better way to spend your evening than with a frosty pint and a good sing-a-long?!

Recommended for Bars because: Durty Nelly's is the perfect place for a group of friends if you're up for a raucous good time!

Kimberly's expert tip: Try the Shepard's Pie for a little taste of Irish tradition.

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The warm, LGBT-friendly atmosphere abounds at this coffeehouse, where you can relax on the patio with friends from work or stake out one of Candlelight's comfy couches. Thanks to a reasonably priced but thorough selection of coffees and a range of tasty desserts (including Italian cream cake), the neighborhood hangout is a stylish after-dinner choice. Sandwiches, beer, and wine are also available. In fact they have an admirable wine list. Candlelight is an inexpensive option that has been around for decades and provides a uniquely intimate and relaxing atmosphere. It's a great place to mingle and make some new friends.

Recommended for Bars because: Candlelight is the kind of bar you want to go to for long, deep conversations and awesome wine.

Kimberly's expert tip: Candlelight is known for their decadent desserts!

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Photo courtesy of Paramour

It's been said Paramour has changed the cocktail culture in San Antonio, and it's hard to disagree. If you're looking for somewhere cool and classy to go grab a few drinks, take in the San Antonio nightlife, and just relax with your friends, then Paramour is top on the list. They have an extensive drink menu that includes beer, wine, and cocktails, including barrel aged spirits. Their "You Can't Handle the Proof" cocktail made with bonded bourbon, apple, mint, and pecan orgeat is a perfect example of Paramour's talent for tongue in cheek humor and clever flavor combinations. For a little fun in the daylight, be sure to check out their Drag Brunch. That's right! You can enjoy a delicious brunch with a side of drag - a drag show to be exact.

Recommended for Bars because: Everyone loves this rooftop bar, from its ambiance to its cocktail menu, not to mention the amazing food from Guerrilla Gourmet.

Kimberly's expert tip: Paramour features a "drag queen" brunch on Sundays that is a must if you're up for something just a bit different.

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Elsewhere Garden Bar & Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Elsewhere Garden Bar & Kitchen

Elsewhere is one of the most charming options to lounge along San Antonio's famed Riverwalk. Located across the river from the San Antonio Museum of Art, this funky fun outdoor bar and restaurant is known for their craft beer, fine wine and elevated bar eats. Enjoy everything from hearty burgers to Baja Shrimp Tacos to juicy chicken sandwiches, including a yummy Chicken Parm made with chicken fried chicken breast, mozz, marinara, parmesan and creamy pesto that's topped with a Ceasar salad on a brioche bun. Perhaps the best part of the experience here are the swings situated along the river's edge. It's the perfect option for a romantic date!

Recommended for Bars because: An unexpected gem along the Riverwalk, without having to worry about downtown parking.

Kimberly's expert tip: A great place to start the evening off right before strolling north to visit the historic Pearl Brewery!

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Jazz, TX
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta

There's something quite magical about Jazz, TX with its stellar live music, cool speakeasy vibe, out-of-this-world cocktails and incredible food. It simply hits on every note! Located in the basement of the once bottling plant, now a food hall, at the Pearl Brewery, stepping into this jazz joint is like stepping back and forward in time all at once. There's nothing else like it in San Antonio, perhaps, in the entire state of Texas. Doc Watkins is the star of this show - a jazz artist, pianist, and singer. When he takes the stage, he lights up the room and sings an array of classic tunes across genres. You can also find some traveling acts here, but there's a primary focus on local, very talented, musicians. Jazz, TX is the purest definition of "dinner and a show!"

Recommended for Bars because: Jazz, TX is perhaps the classiest bar in town, serving up cocktails that are made with true craftsmanship.

Kimberly's expert tip: The best place in town for dinner and a show! They're cuisine isn't as well-known but is quite exceptional, offering a little bit of something for everyone, from appetizers to entrees.

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Dorcol Distilling Company
Photo courtesy of Dorcol

Thanks to a new law, Dorcol Distilling Company, which makes an incredible Serbian apricot brandy, transforms into a cocktail lounge on the weekends and, using only their signature spirit creates the most amazing craft cocktails! Dorcol was the first urban distillery to open after the law, enabling them to sell liquor on the premises. Located in the burgeoning arts district on Flores Street south of downtown in San Antonio in what used to be a restaurant equipment dump site, Dorcol is now a social hub with as much promise as character and originality. Owners Boyan Kalusevic and Chris Mobley opened their doors at the end of 2013 and have been gaining momentum ever since. Currently, Dorcol only makes one spirit called Kinsman, which is a premium handcrafted Rakia made on site in small batches. The cocktail bar, or tasting room, is only open Thursday through Saturday, but is certainly worth a jaunt to the Southside, particularly if it's the 2nd Saturday of every month, which is when the arts walk in the neighborhood takes place. Dorcol usually hosts an art opening as well - featuring one of San Antonio's local talents.

Recommended for Bars because: Dorcol offers visitors a unique opportunity to sample some incredible local spirits and brews.

Kimberly's expert tip: Visit Dorcol on the second Saturday of the month, when they take part in an "Art Walk," featuring local artists, live music and a festive atmosphere.

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Burleson Yard Beer Garden
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta

Located on the east side of downtown, Burleson Yard Beer Garden is simply one of the most enjoyable venues in all of downtown San Antonio. Although they have an indoor bar, this is the preeminent place to go when you just want to kick back outside with your friends and a few brews. Bring your dog, kids, parents or co-workers - the vibe is always super chill. They have a ginormous patio, a stage for live music or a DJ, ping pong tables and a wide variety of libations, from beer (of course) to creative cocktails. As a bonus, they offer food, whether its in-house or from one of the many popular local food trucks. The staff is always friendly and it seems so are the guests. Everyone's here just to have a good time! A local's favorite, it's also a great place to get in on a fun event, featuring San Antonio chefs or holiday celebrations.

Recommended for Bars because: Burleson Yard Beer Garden practically guarantees you're going to have a good time. It's one of the most welcoming, relaxed venues in San Antonio.

Kimberly's expert tip: As parking is plentiful here, and free, it's an ideal place to go if you're driving.

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Meet Kimberly Suta

Kimberly A. Suta is a professional freelance writer, filmmaker and entrepreneur with a background in marketing, advertising and social media. Her first business, Midnight Sun Innovations,...  More About Kimberly