Transplant’s Guide to San Antonio: Nightlife Edition

First of all, we would like to welcome you to the great Alamo City. We think San Antonio is an incredible place to live. This city offers something special! It’s unique and diverse, able to appease a wide variety of residents...from families to singles to professionals, artists, and more. The nightlife culture of San Antonio is certainly a reflection of this unique vibe! The San Antonio area is full of eclectic bars, Western-style dance halls, breweries, wine bars, and more. But how do you choose just one? How do you tell the tourist trap from the real thing? Instead of making you navigate the maze on your own, we thought we’d give you an insider guide. Check out our favorite spots below!

Entertainment Venues

-Sam’s Burger Joint

Though the name makes this place sound like a run-of-the-mill burger stop, it’s anything but ordinary! Sam’s was voted “Best Live Music Venue” both by readers and editors in San Antonio magazine in 2010. Sam’s has quickly become a city favorite, pairing delicious comfort food with great music and a lively atmosphere. They host bands of all kinds, from indie to country to rock. Be sure to check out their upcoming concerts and stop in!


Another local favorite nightspot, Rebar is unique among live music venues! You can listen to the sounds of local and area bands while hanging out in any of the 3 bars, including a spacious outdoor patio! Locals cite this as a favorite due to its relaxed atmosphere and high-quality music…and there’s never a cover! To add to its appeal, Rebar also offers weekly drink specials and a daily happy hour.

-502 Bar

502 Bar has been named another live music favorite...some say it has the best acoustics in the city! Reminiscent of the Austin scene, 502 typically hosts a variety of bands, an open mic night, and more. Their impressive craft beer selection also adds to their appeal. Concerts are usually intimate (holding about 160 people), but never overcrowded, allowing you to listen and sway without squeezing through a tight crowd.

High-Quality Drinks

-Dorcol Distilling Company

Due to changing state laws, distilleries in Texas have grown sizably in number in recent years. San Antonio’s very own Dorcol Distilling Co stands out among the rest, boasting the highest rated American Brandy of 2014, among other distinctions! Serving high-quality spirits and cocktails, this Southtown gem is a must for anyone interested in fine spirits.

-Freetail Brewing Co

This eclectic brewery came on the scene just over 5 years ago, and it’s already become a favorite among San Antonio residents. They seek to brew exceptional, interesting beers and foster a fun environment. Catch a game, hang out with friends, or grab some good food...all at the same place.

-Soho Wine & Martini Bar

Sip great wine and amazing cocktails at the Soho Wine & Martini Bar! This local gem is upscale and high-quality without being pretentious. The actual building is the re-purposed San Antonio Loan & Trust Bank. Bartenders are skilled and knowledgeable, offering acclaimed martinis, as well as beer and wine.

Sip and Relax

-Flying Saucer Draught Emporium

Located off of Huebner Rd, the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium offers over 200 types of beer, both domestic and imported! With its pub-like atmosphere, Flying Saucer is a favorite for a relaxing night or an after-work hangout.

-Candlelight Coffeehouse

If you’re looking for a locally acclaimed “hangout spot”, Candlelight Coffeehouse is a must-visit. This hidden gem is located in the downtown area, but still far enough away from the Riverwalk to keep the crowds low-key. Pop in for an impressive selection of wines, desserts, and coffee, or come in earlier for dinner or weekend brunch. Furnished with couches and a cozy “living room” environment, this is a great spot for intimate gatherings and conversation.

-Liberty Bar

This re-purposed Southtown convent has been transformed into Liberty Bar: a combination restaurant/bar that has become a local staple! Along with an eclectic atmosphere, you’ll find seriously good food and dessert, complemented by premium beer, wine, and cocktails. You might come for the novelty of eating and drinking in an old convent, but you’ll also find yourself astounded by the downright good food and drink!

Let Loose!

-Bonham Exchange

Bonham Exchange is the classic club scene with a twist. This premium dance club is located in a downtown 19th-century historic building...originally destined to be an athletic facility. The variety of music, drink specials, and multi-floor dance party make Bonham exchange hard to miss on the San Antonio nightlife scene!

-Gruene Hall

If you’re looking for some old-fashioned Texas music and dancing, you absolutely cannot miss Gruene Hall! Popularly known as the oldest dance hall in Texas, Gruene Hall is a concert/two-stepping venue located close outside of San Antonio city limits. The historic small town of Gruene has plenty of Hill Country charm, and the dance hall draws in big-name artists like George Strait, among others!

-Thirsty Horse Saloon

San Antonio News 4 recently named Thirsty Horse Saloon “the best country bar in San Antonio”! Dance the night away with local up-and-coming bands...and if you don’t know how to country dance, Thirsty Horse also offers lessons! A spacious interior and old-country atmosphere make this place a must-visit in the San Antonio area.

As you can see, the San Antonio nightlife scene is lively! Though there are plenty more places to sit and grab a drink or dance the night away, these are our favorite places to recommend to locals and San Antonio newbies alike. 

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