We’ve been there before and were a little underwhelmed by the city. However, it should be noted that we were there for only one day and played and stayed in the Riverwalk District. On our most recent visit, we made a conscious decision to explore the city and stay away (for the most part) from the Riverwalk. We are glad we did! There are so many unique neighborhoods and we hope other visitors leave the touristy center and discover the “local’s” San Antonio!
We are always looking for unique beverages and luckily stumbled upon this gem. Proprietors Chris and Boyan pursued their dream of continuing the family tradition European family farmhouse distilling and opened Texas’ first urban craft distillery in December 2013. Named after Boyan’s Belgrade neighborhood, Dorcol produces Rakia, a natural brandy made exclusively from Serbian apricots. Located in Southtown, Dorcol has a contemporary hipster vibe. For a small place, Dorcol draws a surprisingly large crowd. Luckily we arrived early to grab a couple of barstools to watch Boyan in action. If you’ve never tried Rakia, you will be pleasantly surprised. It has a clean, yet slightly sweet taste and a smooth finish. We also tried Rakia in a few cocktails, including a dirty martini that actually turned out surprisingly delicious.
The moment we walked into Cured, we knew we were in for a treat. Our eyes were immediately drawn to a large glass humidity controlled locker showcasing a dizzying array of cured meats. We happened to arrive during my favorite time of day… Happy Hour! There’s nothing better than cured meats and discounted beverages! To kick-off the end of the work day, Tom selected a beer and I had a cocktail as we shared a beautiful and delicious charcuterie plate featuring jalapeno sausage, smoked duck ham, and 90 day pork belly. We also noshed on 50 cent quail wings, sweetbreads, and (to be healthy) a delicious beet salad. If you are looking for a place that has lovely regional ingredients made into delicious eats and well-crafted cocktails, Cured should not be missed.
We enjoy a well-crafted cocktail. When we heard about Bar 1919, San Antonio’s variation of a speakeasy, we knew we had to check it out. Located in the Blue Star Complex, Bar 1919 is housed in an unmarked basement dwelling. Keep your nose sniffing for cigar smoke as the product is sold on the premises. We won’t give any more tips about location than this, as part of the fun is the discovery. Once we entered, we were surprised by the size of the bar. Many speakeasy bars are tiny, but there is a decent amount of space to relax at a quiet table or saddle up to the bar for great conversation. Whiskey is king here, as are delicious craft cocktails. Just be warned, vodka fans: there are over 300 spirits, but just one vodka. Keep your mind open and enjoy tasty adult beverages.
Located in Midtown, Cullum’s Attagirl is a tiny eatery in a cute converted house featuring Southern inspired chicken in many forms: buttermilk fried, hot wings, smoked wings, and chicken and waffles. Craft beer on tap and in bottles is the perfect accompaniment! We also enjoyed the tasty side dishes, especially the cilantro slaw and potato salad. Sometimes, all we want is comfort food and there is nothing better than wings and beer as we sit on the patio on a beautiful warm evening and watch the sun set.
Next door to Cullum’s Attagirl in Midtown, Cookhouse is a fantastic New Orleans Cajun/Creole influenced restaurant. We loved the innovative cuisine concocted by Chef Pieter Sypesteyn. We enjoyed the chef’s rendition of the charbroiled oysters. However, we also noticed oyster som tam on the menu. Really?! Naturally, we had to give it a try! Delicious gulf oysters were topped with a green mango salad. Instead of using fish sauce in the salad, fresh oysters were crushed for the salad dressing. We were impressed with the unique flavors of the som tom oysters and recommend trying it for a unique twist. The blackened drum, served over fresh shrimp creole was also a delight to our taste buds. Be sure order a side of stone ground grits. Yum!
The next time you visit San Antonio, be sure to see the Riverwalk and the Alamo. Come on, we know you have to do the touristy things. But please don’t limit your impression of the city to the central core. Explore beyond the downtown area and visit restaurants and bars that locals frequent. Get to know the “real” San Antonio… you will be impressed with the city’s offerings and their friendly residents!
Check out these out of the way places! Contact us and we can help!