Rick’s Picks for Downtown San Antonio

A co-worker listed out my favorite restaurants and bars on a page she titled “Rick’s Picks.”

The catchy name wasn’t worth the grief I got from friends for leaving their places off the list. We smartly updated the page to be called “Do It Like A Local.” This larger section now includes links to our Downtown Partners as well as separate Attractions, Nightlife, Restaurant and Shopping tabs.

However, my Mom still sends her monthly request for me to “Please email your list of good places to eat so I can give it (insert random friend’s name I’ve never heard of) who is planning a trip to San Antonio.” That is a testament to San Antonio’s desirability as a visitor destination as well as our burgeoning culinary scene.

For fans coming in for the Valero Alamo Bowl, check out our Do It Like A Local, Bowl Week Itinerary and Valero Alamo Bowl Game Day Guide sections. However, both visitors and locals might also want to refer to the below list of restaurants and bars handy. A big part of San Antonio’s charm is its authenticity and always improving downtown. Thus, this list features links to unique places close to downtown that my wife and I recommend.

Restaurants Walkable From Major Downtown Hotels:
Acenar (Mexican)
Bohanan’s (Steakhouse)
Boudro’s (American)
CommonWealth Coffeehouse & Bakery
La Panadería (Baked goods)
Mi Tierra (Mexican)
Paesano’s (Italian)
Rebelle (New American)
Rio Rio Cantina (Mexican)

Restaurants around Southtown (1 mile)
B&D Ice House BBQ
Batallion (Italian)
Liberty Bar
Maverick Texas Brasserie
Nonna Osteria

Rosario’s (Mexican)
South Alamode Panini & Gelato Company
Southtown Pizzeria (Italian)
Stella Public House (Pizza)

Restaurants around Midtown/The Historic Pearl (2 miles)
Barbaro (Pizza)
Chris Madrid’s (Hambugers)
Cookhouse (New Orleans)
The Cove
Cured at The Pearl (American)
Green Vegetarian Cuisine

The Granary ‘Cue & Brew (BBQ)
La Fonda On Main (Mexican)
La Gloria (Mexican)

The Luxury (American/Outdoor)
Smoke Shack BBQ

Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery
W.D. Deli

Bars Walkable From Major Downtown Hotels:
Bar at Bohanan’s
The Esquire Tavern
Juniper Tar

The Last Word
Soho Wine & Martini Bar
Zinc Bistro & Bar

Bars around Southtown (1 mile)
Bar 1919
Francis Bogside
The Friendly Spot

Bars around Midtown/The Historic Pearl (2 miles)
High Street Wine Co.
Jazz, TX*

The Modernist


If you have specific questions or need a drinking/eating buddy, feel free to reach out to us socially to @valeroalamobowl or use #alamobowl.

Pro tips:
*  If the Yelp reviews include too many $$$, check out their lunch specials. Most are very reasonable.
*  Chris Madrid’s had a fire so they do not plan of re-opening until Spring 2018..
*  Jazz, TX and Sternewirth in the Pearl are two of the most popular bars in San Antonio and are often at capacity. Plan accordingly.
*  If your group is split between going to eat or getting a drink, then consider Esquire, Francis Bogside or Zinc as they offer the best of both worlds.
*  Our off-the-beaten path recommendations, the amazing brisket at 2M Smokehouse or Garcia’s (both lunch only) or the roasted chicken at Pollos Asados Los Nortenos.
*  Want to do a downtown brewery town? Hit Alamo Beer, Dorcol Distilling + Brewing,  Freetail Brewing’s Taproom and Kuenstler Brewing.
*  To look good while you explore downtown, buy a guayabera from Penner’s or a custom hat from Paris Hatters. Both of these family owned businesses are 100+ years old.
*  The Bowl has a partnership with Uber. First time Uber riders can get started here and insert the promo code VABOWL18 to receive a free ride up to $15 off.

Rick Hill was a Bowl Volunteer for the first several games and joined the Valero Alamo Bowl staff full-time in 1999. Complaints about this post should be directed to him.


Updated 4/1/18

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