Location: 229 E. Houston, San Antonio
Opened: April 2019
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Founder/Beverage Director: Benjamin Krick, a veteran of San Antonio’s craft cocktail scene, most recently as bar manager at the now-closed but beloved Juniper Tar.
The Story: This cocktail bar serves up destination-inspired drinks without pretense or kitsch: think complex tinctures for tiki drinks crafted in the kitchen housed behind the bar, and rarefied rums from Michoacán, all served in vessels befitting each beverage.
Ambience: The subterranean space, outfitted with plush mid-century-modern furniture, stylish clocks displaying world times, and vintage international posters, beckons like an airport lounge from the golden age of travel.
What to Order: Ease into the evening with the bar’s most popular elixir, the tequila-based Alamo City, which marries citrus and chocolate notes to great effect, over crushed ice. The jammy Maranello, which Krick calls a tribute to Italian craftsmanship—with grappa, marsala secco, vino chinato, and fig liqueur—seems to change flavor profiles as the spirits mingle, and is cleverly garnished with a grape disguised as an olive.
Pro Tip: Arrive early, when the vibe is relaxed and the ultra-knowledgeable bartenders have plenty of time to chat about their concoctions. Their delightful happy hour menu is a departure from the usual choices you find at many cocktail bars, with creative libations.
2 ounces blanco tequila
½ ounce piloncillo syrup
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 ounce Crème de Cacao
1/4 ounce Ancho Reyes chili liqueur
2 dashes mole bitters
Shake all ingredients together and double strain over crushed ice in a large rocks glass. Garnish with grated Abuelita chocolate and and a dehydrated lemon wheel.
1 ounce grappa
1 ounce marsala secco
1 ounce vino chinato
1/4 ounce fig liqueur
Combine all ingredients by stirring with ice and then strain into a Nick & Nora glass. Add a skewered grape for the garnish.
This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “First Class.” Subscribe today.