San Antonio Dive Bar Guide

Urban Dives and Texas Hill Country Mix

The definition of San Antonio includes a bit of flexibility here, enough leeway to include some of the many can’t miss Texas hill country dive bars that surround the city. San Antonio proper includes everything that makes drinking in Texas great, including a number of downtown dives, but the inclusion of these dusty outposts only adds to the experience.

Case in point, Devil’s Backbone Tavern and Hangin’ Tree Saloon may be two of the best dive bars in the state and that’s before throwing in the holder of Texas’ first liquor license distributed after Prohibition, Riley’s Tavern in New Braunfels. All amazing in their own way, the chapel-like atmosphere of Devil’s Backbone is hard to beat, a tiny dive bar on a ridge that has expanded over the years without sacrificing the purity of cold beer on a Texas hill.

Spechts Texas, a little closer to town, retains a bit of that rural vibe with an expansive back patio that augments a building that dates back to 1887. And then there are more modern dive bar options, including metal-tinged Faust Tavern behind intimidating metal gates and the Bang Bang Bar, the final resting place for your great aunt’s couch, guaranteed.

The options spiral from there, both closer into downtown San Antonio like Texas T and further away like Hoity Toit Beer Joint and Happy Cow Bar further still. Exploring the city, exploring Texas hill country, San Antonio as home base unlocks a host of diverse dive bar drinking options.

Dive Bar Map

San Antonio Dive Bar Reviews

Ranked Order

Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Devil's Backbone Tavern

Review Rating: 10 out of 10
Like a shrine to drinking atop an appropriately-named ridge under a sea of dollar bills.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Hangin Tree Saloon

Review Rating: 10 out of 10
Legit saloon doors swing into an all-wood, all-dive hill country classic.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Riley's Tavern

Review Rating: 10 out of 10
Holder of the first liquor license in Texas distributed post-Prohibition.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Cartoon Saloon

Review Rating: 10 out of 10
A Texas Independence Day celebration turned Hill Country roadside attraction.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Hoity Toit Beer Bar

Review Rating: 9 out of 10
Grab a beer sleeve and beware the "Asshole Section" when selecting a seat.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Spechts Texas

Review Rating: 9 out of 10
Founded in 1887, this is drinking in a Texas field in the best way.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

El Luchador Bar

Review Rating: 8 out of 10
Southtown San Antonio's authentic, lucha libre-themed, mask-filled dive.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Shade Tree Saloon & Grill

Review Rating: 8 out of 10
Like a drinking and live music complex north of San Antonio.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

The Friendly Spot Ice House

Review Rating: 8 out of 10
Somehow this King William combo of playground, craft beer and courtyards works.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

VFW Post 8573

Review Rating: 7 out of 10
Drinking here is doing a patriotic duty, and an affordable one at that.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Faust Tavern

Review Rating: 7 out of 10
The bar opens when the metal gates swing wide under the devil neon.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Bang Bang Bar

Review Rating: 7 out of 10
Like a used furniture store converted into dive bar drinking destination.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Happy Cow Bar & Grill

Review Rating: 7 out of 10
Listen for the train to roll by and partake in the Train Shot when offered.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Longbranch Saloon

Review Rating: 7 out of 10
Underneath the refinished exterior lies a smoke-filled, Boerne dive.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Cocky Rooster Bar

Review Rating: 7 out of 10
Strong pours, ideal Comfort location and a giant metal rooster on the roof.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Sisterdale Saloon

Review Rating: 7 out of 10
For over 100 years, Sisterdale's trading post, grocery store, post office and bar.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

VFW Post 76

Review Rating: 6 out of 10
Downtown's multi-purpose river-adjacent dive drinking outpost.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Texas T Pub

Review Rating: 6 out of 10
Cash-only downtown dive under a simple sign a few steps from the Alamo.

San Antonio Dive Bars Not Yet Reviewed

Must Visit Recommendations

Unfortunately, we have not yet been to every single dive bar in the city, but there probably a few more punch cards on our livers, so we’ll make it there soon. In the meantime, the curated list of dives below comes highly recommended by a variety of friends, online sources and drunks.

Medical Center

Oak Hills Tavern

7920 Fredericksburg Rd
San Antonio, TX 78229
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Northwest

Whiskey Smith

6310 Callaghan Rd
San Antonio, TX 78229
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Other Dive Bar Options

Alibis Sports & Spirits

1141 E Commerce St
San Antonio, TX 78205
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Bentley's Bar

8123 Broadway Ste B
San Antonio, TX 78209
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Bond's Rock Bar

450 Soledad St
San Antonio, TX 78205
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Boneheadz

9503 Console Dr
San Antonio, TX 78229
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Bushwood Country Club

13800 Jones Maltsberger Rd
San Antonio, TX 78247
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Charlie Brown's

11888 Starcrest Dr #101
San Antonio, TX 78247
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Club Sirius

228 Losoya St
San Antonio, TX 78205
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Cootey's Tavern

8318 Jones Maltsberger Rd #128
San Antonio, TX 78216
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Cross Eyed Seagull

19141 Stone Oak Pkwy #206
San Antonio, TX 78258
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Floore's Country Store

14492 Old Bandera Rd
Helotes, TX 78023
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Hidden Tavern

11407 West Ave
San Antonio, TX 78213
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JW's Bracken Saloon

18400 FM 2252
San Antonio, TX 78266
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Lowcountry

318 Martinez St
San Antonio, TX 78205
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Lucky Monkey

8143 Latigo Dr #2553
San Antonio, TX 78227
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Retox Bar

1031 Patricia #105
San Antonio, TX 78213
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Rod Dog's Saloon

2617 Wagon Wheel
San Antonio, TX 78217
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Rookies Too Tavern

9200 Broadway
San Antonio, TX 78217
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Silver Bullet Ice House

10929 Nacogdoches Rd # 3
San Antonio, TX 78217
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TBA Bar

2801 N St Mary's St
San Antonio, TX 78212
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The Base Line

1139 Harry Wurzbach Rd
San Antonio, TX 78209
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The Hidden Treehouse

4102 Rittiman Rd
San Antonio, TX 78218
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The Mix

2423 N St Mary's St
San Antonio, TX 78212
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The Reggae Bar

826 San Pedro Ave
San Antonio, TX 78212
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The Squeezebox

2806 N St Mary's St
San Antonio, TX 78212
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The Thursty Turtle

1626 NE Interstate 410 Loop
San Antonio, TX 78209
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Two Rivers Tavern

13550 O'Connor Rd #3
San Antonio, TX 78233
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Web House Café & Bar

320 Blanco Rd
San Antonio, TX 78212
Google Map

Zombies

4202 Thousand Oaks Dr
San Antonio, TX 78217
Google Map

What Did We Miss?

8 + 11 =

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