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Best San Antonio Nightlife

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With so many businesses and hotels located in the downtown area, it only makes sense that there is a high concentration of nightspots there, too. You’ll find everything from cigar bars to dance clubs and musical venues featuring homegrown talent. Latin-inspired music runs the gamut from tejunto to mariachi to salsa. There is also a thriving jazz presence. While San Antonio certainly has its “dives” and a bit of an underground music scene, because of the proliferation of luxury hotels, the nightclubs—at least in the River Walk area—tend to be more upscale. Patrons are a mix of business people, tourists, and students. Despite the fact that the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) is located on the northwest side of the city (off Loop 1604), the college crowd heads downtown for entertainment, along with the rest of us. While there are other nightspots scattered throughout the city, for the most part, when it’s time to party, the rallying cry is “take me to the river.”

Casbeer's at the Church

Neighborhood: Downtown/King William Historic District
You might think Casbeers is just another live music venue until you find out its full name—Christian name, one might even say—is Casbeers at the Church. Regardless of your taste in music, what’s not to love about a nightclub housed in a former church (the stained glass windows and wooden pews are right where the congregation left them). With a nod to its spiritual past, a gospel brunch is held once a month; otherwise, expect secular music from bands like The Texas Tornados.

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Casbeer's at the Church  

Bar at the Hotel Havana

Neighborhood: Downtown/River Walk
Formerly known as Club Cohiba, Bar, in the reopened Hotel Havana, retains its intimate atmosphere. Dimly lit, with candles providing additional illumination, it still has that Cuban vibe—the famed mojitos, Cuban coffee, and Caribbean music—sans the cigar smoking in this incarnation (if you want to smoke, you’ll have to go out to one of the patios). Despite only being reopened since April 2010, Bar has already made Esquire magazine’s 5th Annual Best Bars in America list. With no sign to advertise its presence to tourists, you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled upon an insider’s secret.

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Bar at the Hotel Havana  

Ivy Rooftop

Neighborhood: North Central/The Ridge
Owner Terrin Fuhrmann created one of the hippest, most talked about nightspots for the under-30 crowd when he opened the Ivy Rooftop in December 2009, and he did it, in part, by offering something found nowhere else in San Antonio: a rooftop bar. DJs spin the latest hits while bodies crush together dancing and mingling (it gets crowded), which could account for the South Beach comparisons. Not far from UTSA’s 1604 campus, it’s local Millennial fashionistas’ and trendsetters’ favorite spot to see and be seen.

Jim Cullum's Landing

Neighborhood: Downtown/Hyatt Regency
You might not believe it, but San Antonio is home to the second oldest jazz club in the nation after Preservation Hall in New Orleans. Like the jazz masters of old, Cullum plays a cornet, and the band focuses on improvised ensemble playing. The Landing offers a popular swing night with new theme nights being planned. Grab a bite to eat (reservations accepted) and prepare to enjoy some old-time jazz.

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Jim Cullum's Landing  

Azúca Nuevo Latino Restaurant & Mojito Bar

Neighborhood: Southtown
Azúca is a popular restaurant in vibrant, artsy Southtown, but ask any local and they’ll tell you the real draw is the salsa dancing on Friday and Saturday nights. (Classes are also offered on Saturday afternoons from 4-6PM.) Caribbean, Central and South American influences are evident in everything from co-owner/chef’s L. Rene Fernandez’s food to the live music and the dancing. Plan to eat and then dance the night away.

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Azúca Nuevo Latino Restaurant & Mojito Bar  
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