One of my favorite hangouts is also one of the giants of the San Antonio cocktail scene.
The Bar at Bohanan’s [ Facebook | Twitter | Yelp ] is a pet project of Mark Bohanan of Bohanan’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, whose award-winning restaurant sits above the bar. Its location at 221 East Houston Street downtown — almost directly across from the Majestic Theatre and near downtown hotels — makes it a popular choice for theater-goers, conventioneers and locals alike.
Launched in 2009, the Bar at Bohanan’s specializes in hand-crafted pre-Prohibition cocktails. Sasha Petraske of NYC’s famed speakeasy Milk and Honey developed the menu and trained the staff in the art of the cocktail. His influence continues today; from time to time he still visits the bar, and continues to consult on the menu.
The ambience of the bar is old-time mens’ club-by. Rows and rows of fine spirits line shelving lit from below and mirrored behind, framed by dark wood paneling. Etched glass windows, old-time lighting fixtures, leather chairs and banquettes, cozy nooks and soft lighting all harmonize to create a warm, comfortable spot in which to share food & cocktails with friends new and old. Friday and Saturday nights are enhanced by excellent live music from the South Texas Jazz Quartet [ Facebook | Twitter ].
Clad in black suits, white shirts and black ties, the barmen at Bohanan’s are consummate professionals who know their craft, offering a warm greeting and a firm handshake to welcome patrons. They man a long wooden bar neatly cluttered with all the fine ingredients they need for their creations: all manner of bitters, spices, syrups and fruits, alongside the tools of their trade: stirrers, shakers and juicers.
The menu is eclectic and comprehensive. From classics like the Old Fashioned, the Gin Rickey, and the Bee’s Knees to new creations like the Rickey Maurin, the Muddled Orange Margarita and gelatin cocktails, to more exotic fare like Absinthe, to the extensive scotch, whiskey and tequila lists, to draught beer and a nice wine list, there’s something for everyone. Even the (nonalcoholic) ginger beer is great! Used as an ingredient in many of the cocktails, it’s also a great choice for those not imbibing, or for taking a breather between rounds. (Remember to pace yourself and always drink responsibly!)
When you’re feeling adventurous, consider asking to be surprised. Do offer a hint of guidance, though. Sweet? Savory? A specific spirit (bourbon, gin, vodka)? A particular flavor profile (citrus, fruit, mint)? Be creative!
And get this: selected cocktails are only $5 all day Friday and Saturday! Who has happy hour on the weekend? Bohanan’s does.
Of course, with a world-class steakhouse upstairs, the bar menu at Bohanan’s stands alone. Olives, cheeses, charcuterie, Bohanan’s candied jalapeños, Akaushi short ribs and albondigas, and desserts are just a few of your choices. A late-night menu features a Kurobuta BLT to die for and a weekday lunch menu features a foie gras PB&J!
The cheese and charcuterie trays are created especially to order. Make your own selections from the available meats and cheeses, or have the chef choose for you. Your tray will include a number of accompaniments such as peppers, nuts, fruits and honey. One of my favorite meats currently on the menu is Nduja, a spreadable salami imported from Italy.
While the two sleek televisions in the place are not my favorite features, they are popular when the Spurs are playing, and for other sporting contests. Be prepared to follow along with the captioning; the ambience of the bar is not spoiled by the audio track of the television programming.
All kinds of yummy goodness awaits at the elegant, cozy, and friendly Bar at Bohanan’s. What are you waiting for? See you there!
The diversity of the crowd results in a range of attire. Some patrons are coming from or going to the theater, others are on their way to or from dinner upstairs, still others are conventioneers or vacationers. Thus, many patrons sport business casual, while some are dressed to the nines and others are in shorts and golf shirts. Jeans and t-shirts are not the order of the day.
- Bohanan’s Brings the Cocktail Renaissance to San Antonio, TexasYankee.com
- Pub Crawl: Bohanan’s Bar, MySA.com