From soothing jazz trios to high-energy dance floors, and neighborhood beer gardens to internationally acclaimed stage performances, there’s certainly no lack of things to do at night in San Antonio. Here are our insider tips that will take you straight to the heart of San Antonio nightlife.
Choose Your Bar Style.
Dorcol Distillery and Brewing Co: Ever tried rakia? How about a rakia cocktail? Drop by this award-winning distillery in Southtown if you’re looking for something new to dazzle your taste buds. It’s the only place in all of Texas making this magical, eastern European brandy, and the owners import the apricots for the rakia directly from Serbia.
Esquire Tavern: With its recent James Beard nomination, the Esquire Tavern just keeps proving that it really is one of the best bars in town. The mixologists here can get experimental – but the happy hour lasts from 3–7 pm, so why not take a gamble? Inside this elongated circa-1933 space, enjoy dim lighting, booth seats (you can also reserve a table in the swanky downstairs area), and a chill soundtrack while you gorge on seriously satisfying dishes like carrot curry soup, grilled shrimp with sweet potato and buttered rice, or an organic lamb burger. For some fresh air, grab a seat on the cozy balcony that overlooks the River Walk.
Howl at the Moon: This place is party central, so if you’re in the mood for a wild night, get here by 7 pm on Thursday through Saturday nights for a highly entertaining live music show. Order one of the specialty “bucket” drinks to share (or keep all to yourself), then head to the dance floor to get your groove on, and sing along with the crowd to your favorite tunes.
The Rustic: Get a real taste of Texas at this laid-back locale, which serves “down-home” offerings from the state’s ranchers and farmers, alongside local craft beers and cocktails made from Texan spirits. Even better? You can enjoy in the backyard under the stars with live music every day.
Beer Gardens in Texas Are A Must.
The Friendly Spot: It’s true, the vibe here is always friendly and casual. Maybe this King William district beer garden got its name because it kind of feels like hanging out in your friend’s backyard on a lazy, sunny afternoon. That is, of course, if your friend had more than 70 beers on tap, 300 bottled and canned beers plus wine and cider, a menu of comfort foods to snack on, and an inflatable movie screen for watching family-friendly movies and sports.
The Cove: One of the city’s favorite hangout spots, The Cove offers open-mic nights and concerts by local bands in the indoor space, with an extensive outdoor seating area that includes fire pits for colder nights and a playground for the kids. Sip your beer in peace and savor your dinner or beer snack from a vegan-friendly menu composed entirely of organic and locally and sustainably sourced ingredients.
Get Moving with Live Music and Dancing.
Jazz, TX: Serious (and well-dressed) jazz lovers flock to this intimate Pearl Complex joint in the evening to soak up the fine sounds of the city’s best jazz musicians. Aside from the well-executed specialty cocktails, there’s a large food menu if you’re hungry, including superb small plates and rich desserts that pair perfectly with a glass of wine (the divided wine list is inspired by the distinct styles of east- and west-coast jazz musicians). It’s only a $5 cover for the midnight show on Fridays and Saturdays.
VFW Post 76: For a real slice of San Antonio, make your way to the oldest VFW post in Texas and a designated historical landmark. A two-story, 110-year-old Victorian house with wraparound porch serves as the bar, but outside, you can join the locals as they dance the night away alongside the river to the sounds of a local band playing Tejano or country music.
Paper Tiger: Located on the lively, bar-packed North St. Mary’s Strip near downtown, this three-stage concert venue is a small space with an outdoor hangout area, but it’s known for attracting the big names from every genre passing through town. Once the show’s over and it’s time for a midnight snack, seek out the Tacos El Regio taco truck just a few blocks up – you’ll recognize it by the long line of loyal customers.
Bring on the drama.
Majestic Theatre: Fans of Broadway and comedy will find the hottest shows at this downtown spot. The upcoming season includes the sensational Hamilton, timeless classic The Sound of Music and quirky, clever comedians Eddy Izzard and Steve Martin. Be sure to grab tickets before you come to town as seats sell out fast.
Sylver Spoon: It’s a 35-minute drive from San Antonio, just past New Braunfels, but this intimate, creative venue for dinner theater is the perfect spot for lovers of drama and drinks. Operated by three sisters, Sylver Spoon is all about having fun, from the playful menu to brunch-time bingo and impassioned, highly relatable plays.
Andretti Indoor Karting & Games: It’s not an actual drama performance, but things can certainly get dramatic at this brand-new, 88,000-square-foot games and entertainment venue. Let your inner child go wild with more than 100 video and carnival-style games, a virtual-reality experience, 12-lane bowling, zip lining, and a ropes obstacle course, and a three-level indoor electric go-kart-racing track that also offers mini Mario Karts. Don’t worry, there’s also a full bar and well-curated food court to keep you fueled up for an action-packed evening. And if you want to switch things up after a couple hours, there’s always Top Golf right next door.
Book your San Antonio getaway at a Hilton hotel.