Located about an hour out of Austin, where SXSW kicks off next week, San Antonio offers its own incredible nightlife for locals and visitors a like. Sure, there are plenty of bars around, showing the football and serving wings and beers… and you can rarely go wrong there! But, this list is about the places for the more unique experience – and you may even get a little bit of live music along the way…
Address: 606 W Cypress St, San Antonio
Part restaurant, part bar, part music venue, part dog grooming, dog walking, laundromat and car wash, The Cove literally has it all. And that’s why it’s one of San Antonio’s most popular day AND night spots. Family (and dog) friendly, the venue has outdoor and indoor stages, some of the best fish tacos around and an incredible selection of beers on tap. No matter what sort of mood you’re in for, this is the place to go for a good night. And given a lot of the seating is outdoors, sitting alongside a big green house (on whose porch they hold a lot of the performances), there’s a nice feel of “home” to it all, too.
Address: 621 E Dewey Pl, San Antonio
This tiny venue is famous for its live music, cheap drinks, Pickle Shots and something I’d never experienced before… a chamoy shot. It’s an acquired taste – very sweet AND sour – but definitely worth trying. The place was packed with people when I headed along, and most were ordering one of the two shots with a beer, while a DJ mixed up tracks from Caribou and The Rolling Stones, among many others. It’s a busy place, but there’s a nice courtyard and it’s a great vibe.
THE TEN ELEVEN
Address: 1011 Avenue B, San Antonio
The ten eleven is a small venue right by the San Antonio Museum of Modern Art. Judging by the array of bands they had on the night I headed along, I daresay this is a pretty safe bet for some great live music. I witnessed an energetic five piece called The Tides while I was there, and enjoyed a couple of the venue’s craft beer and cider selections. They don’t really have much else though – so if you were looking for spirits you’d be out of luck. But the rest of their selections more than makes up for it. Pay your $5 at the door and have a great time.
Address: 2417 N St. Marys St
Out of everywhere I went along to in San Antonio, I think Joey’s was my favourite. For those who are in Sydney, let’s just say this is the Frankies Pizza of San Antonio. Great vibes, a tonne of Rock n Roll, and some excellent Pizza. There’s also a room for billiards and an excellent – and pretty damn affordable – drinks list. If I was living here I’m pretty sure I’d be here every night. And the St. Mary’s Strip is home to quite a few great places, I’m told… so you don’t have to roam far to find the next great place to visit…
JOHN T FLOORE’S COUNTRY STORE
Address: 14492 Old Bandera Rd, Helotes
This place is beyond iconic. Though it’s a 30 minute drive outside of San Antonio, this 70 year old music venue is home to some of the best live music in the country. Among the list of people who have played Floore’s? Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, B.B. King, Little Richard, Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, Patsy Cline, Jerry Lee Lewis, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Dwight Yoakam, Lyle Lovett and his Large Band, Robert Earl Keen… you get the picture.
Willy Nelson made the place famous in his track “Shotgun Willie”, which immortalizes John T. Floore. But it’s not all about the music, there’s a great menu at the Honky Tonk Cafe and plenty of drinks to wet your whistle. If you can make the time to get out to it, it’s worth the trip.
For more ideas and to plan your trip to Texas, visit TravelTex.com
This article was sponsored by Texas Tourism. San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau kindly brought the writer along to The Cove and The Ten Eleven.