155 East Commerce Street
San Antonio, TX 78205
Live Music: No
Hours: Monday—Wednesday & Sunday 11am–12am, Thursday—Saturday 11am–2am
Type of Bar: Saloon
What to Drink: The Mas Chingoni
Why You Should Go: Earliest post-Prohibition bar in San Antonio, gangland bar in the 1970s-1990s.
The Esquire Tavern was opened the day after prohibition was lifted in 1933 and has been a beloved (or at Een eminente gokkasten variant op het Assepoester sprookje. least notorious) landmark in San Antonio, TX ever since.
While serving as one of the city's premier watering holes up into the 1970's, where we were told you could sit next to a homeless man on one side and the mayor on the other, it started to get a bit seedy in the 1980's. In the 80's and 90's the Esquire served as the headquarters for the dangerous Mexican Mafia, based out of San Antonio.
The gang turned the Esquire into a drug dealing haven and destination for prostitution, with a "VIP" room above the bathrooms (the VIP room contained a bed and a sink...ewwww).
In 2006 the Esquire Tavern, by that time carrying a pretty bad reputation as a rough place where stabbings and shootings were common, finally closed down. But in 2008 the bar was bought by local architect and developer Chris Hill, who restored the beloved bar and brought it back to its glory.
Now, they're no longer known for fights and drug deals but for their gourmet cuisine and their excellent craft cocktails. Definitely try Jeret's Burro Punch or, even better, his Mas Chingoni cocktails.