Concierge Picks from the Valencia Riverwalk

Nightlife, Things to Do — By Zain Iqbal on April 7, 2010 at 8:05 am

Springtime in San Antonio can be a busy time for Joe Lopez, a concierge at the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, and this year is no exception considering the city played host to the NCAA Women’s Final Four in basketball. However, even with a full house Joe managed to offer us some tips on where he sends thirsty guests for some of the best cocktails San Antonio has to offer. It’s a huge city (in fact, it’s the seventh largest in the nation) and the choices are varied, but he barely skipped a beat while mentioning these can’t-miss bars, clubs, and restaurants.

One of the prime spots to relax with a vintage cocktail or even a cigar is Swig Martini Bar, conveniently located right on the famous Riverwalk. With an ambiance that mixes retro and contemporary styles, Swig serves up cocktails that are inspired by the 1940s with a modern twist. They also have live music and DJs on the weekends. Also close to the Riverwalk is Zinc, which feels more like a authentic French bistro specializing in champagne and domestic wines. They also have an extensive menu featuring ports, specialty cocktails, locally-inspired cuisine, and cigars. Bohanan’s is an upscale steakhouse, but they also have a well-appointed bar where you can sip on a variety of different drinks in a upscale, civilized setting. Be sure to check out their jazz trio on Fridays and Saturdays.

The New Orleans institution Pat O’Briens has set up shop near the Riverwalk and serves up a number of drinks including their famous Hurricane cocktail. Close by is Howl at the Moon, which claims to have the “World’s Greatest Rock N’ Roll Dueling Piano Show” and is great for groups of friends looking to belt out their favorite music from the 70s to today. Suede Lounge and Tabu Lounge (formerly Club Rive) are downtown clubs close to the Hotel Valencia and offers drinks and bottle service and dancing.

Find peaceful ambiance at Buddha Rok

Two local establishments that offer great drinks and a relaxing atmosphere are Soho Wine and Martini Bar and Buddha Rok. Soho is located inside a historic banking building downtown, with the former vault serving as the bar’s wine cellar. A rotating, featured artist curates the design inside Soho, which is a nod to the art scene in New York City’s famous Soho neighborhood. Buddha Rok has an excellent happy hour for both drinks and small plate, and serves up Asian-fusion inspired cuisine.

Of course, if you can’t decide on where to go, start at the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk’s own Vbar, an elegant lounge with a lively happy hour (especially during big-ticket sporting events and great views of the Riverwalk.

[photos courtesy of Hotel Valencia Riverwalk and Buddha Rok]