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Day Trips

Belly up to the longest bar in Texas at the Esquire Tavern in San Antonio

By Gerald E. McLeod, Fri., Dec. 13, 2013

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

The Esquire Tavern in San Antonio has the longest wooden bar in Texas at just over 100 feet. More importantly, it also has affordable prices, good food, and history.

The full-sheet whiskey menu does a room like this proud, as do the pressed tin ceiling tiles and stuffed animals. Although it originated in only 1933, the Esquire belongs on the list with historic establishments like the Menger Hotel Bar. Even though it was thoroughly modernized in 2011, the Esquire has the feel of old San Antone.

From the Commerce Street entrance, the tavern looks like the Sixties-era dive it used to be. From the River Walk, the bare limestone blocks covered in green moss exude history, and you have to climb a flight of iron stairs. At the top are a few outdoor tables overlooking the tour barges plying the channelized river.

During the day, a few tourists wander in, but the lunch crowd is mostly professionals. When the nearby courthouse empties, the booths and elbow-polished bar are filled with happy-hour revelers. They're all drawn by the assortment of local beers and made-from-scratch food that goes beyond the usual pub grub. The bison burger and pimento grilled cheese sandwich are top-notch.

The Esquire Tavern is at 155 E. Commerce St. in downtown San Antonio. The James Beard Award-nominated bar and grill is open daily from 11:30am 'til midnight, and 'til 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.

1,167th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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