Tag Archive | "The Esquire Tavern"

Celebrate Siege Day at the Esquire

Monday is Texas Independence Day, and the folks at the Esquire Tavern, 155 E. Commerce St., are teaming up with Alamo Beer for a party.

beers2From 6 to 9 p.m., you can enjoy live music provided by Tony Romero and the Spiders. Alamo Beer will be available on tap and your first request for an Alamo Golden Ale will bring you a complimentary pint glass to keep.

The kitchen will be open until 10 p.m.’

For more information, click here.

Store your beer

Do you cellar your beer?

You may want to start, according to the folks at Tasting Table.

“Aging beer encourages simple flavors to expand and evolve right inside the bottle, resulting in uniquely delicious brews. But there’s more to building and maintaining a vintage beer collection than forgetting about the tallboys in the back of your fridge.”

But how do you go about doing that? Read the full article here.


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Grab That Coconut — SA’s Texas Tiki Week Arrives

Tiki with Bartender cropped

All Tiki Photos Courtesy David Rangel.

This week, your favorite drinking and eating establishments want to interest you in fruity, boozy cocktails that are not only delicious, but comparable to a vacation in a glass.

Or – you know – a coconut.

In San Antonio, it’s time for Texas Tiki Week, going now through Sunday, June 29. (See Schedule below.)

These days, tiki is no longer considered tacky, and with the support of the United States Bartender’s Guild, high-end versions of these delightfully potent libations are appearing in your favorite craft cocktail bars in San Antonio.

In San Antonio, popular establishments doing tiki include Hot Joy, Bohanan’s and Blue Box at the Pearl.

Most notable, though, are The Brooklynite (a proponent of Tiki Tuesdays since its inception in 2012) and El Mirador (under new ownership); both of which are participating in this year’s Texas Tiki Week.

The Brooklynite will launch its new tiki menu this week. El Mirador will hold an educational seminar with Wahaka Mezcal before an Agave Tiki hour on the newly-renovated back patio.

The Esquire owners now own El Mirador, and bar manager Houston Eaves had the following to say about his excitement for Tiki Week:

Tiki with flame cropped“We are going to be hosting our event at El Mirador, instead of The Esquire. Texas Tiki Week is a way to involve our community in a lot of fun, educational, and philanthropic events (with rum!). It exposes consumers to a really fun part of American history that may be a bit misunderstood. Tiki drinks have gone full-circle. They began with fresh, tropical fruits, and a variety of rums, then got dumbed down to bottled mixes & sub-par rums. [Now] we are embracing the fresh and quality ingredients available to us, as well as innovative culinary technique. This is a week to celebrate the kitschy, contagious fun of Tiki!”

Jeret Pena owner of The Brooklynite adds, “Our focus is to go back to the basics of tiki vs. the modern flavors, weird colors and hyped out vibe.  The goal is to focus on the classics and still make them fun!”

Schedule for Tiki Week

The Esquire Tiki Week menu will be running now through Sunday featuring drinks like:

IMPROVED DAIQUIRI:  3-island rum, overproof Jamaican rum, lime, sugar, absinthe. WAKING THE DEAD:  bonded bourbon, espresso-fernet, italian vermouth, pineapple, lemon. MAI TAI: 3-island rum, jamaican rum, demerara 151 rum, curacao, orgeat, lime.  SINGAPORE SLING: dry gin, benedictine, cherry heering, lime, mineral water. SEA OF CONFUSION: Jamaican rum, demerara 151 rum, pear brandy, chartreuse, zucca rabarbaro, passion fruit, lemon, angostura bitters.

Wednesday (6/25) Agave-Tiki @ El Mirador (new concept)

3-5 p.m. Educational Seminar with Wahaka Mezcal for Industy only

5-7  p.m. Agave-Tiki Happy Hour

Texas Tiki Week croppedThursday (6/26 – 6/29)  Tiki Late Nite @ Hot Joy starting at 11 p.m.

Late night tiki menus (food & drink)

Sunday 6/29 – Blue Box

Bacardi Blender Bowl @ The Blue Box

Starting at 1 p.m. -3 p.m.

Bohanan’s will be hosting the closing SA party on Sunday (6/29) at 4 p.m. in their courtyard. With tiki snacks and guest bartenders making tiki drinks.

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Riverwalk Empire: Esquire Celebrates 80th Birthday

The Esquire Tavern

The Esquire Tavern

Celebrate in style — 20s- and 30s-style that is, at the Esquire’s Repeal Day celebration on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

In addition to being the end of Prohibition, the day the Repeal Proclamation was signed was also the beginning of the Esquire Tavern, on the San Antonio River Walk at 155 E. Commerce St.

The oldest and longest bar on the River Walk, the Esquire’s birthday bash is calling for costumes — if you love the look of the 20s and 30s, dress the part and get some special recognition from the bartender.  Houston Eaves will be serving a Repeal Day Punch, plus there will be a retro cocktail menu and a champagne toast at 8 p.m.

Chef Brooke Smith will be putting out complimentary appetizers from 6-10 p.m. and a late-night menu will be available until 11 p.m.

The party starts at 6 p.m. and  Brent Watkins entertains with jazz from 7-11 p.m.

, but the fun goes on until 2 a.m.

Go for it!

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NAO at the CIA to Have Soft Opening May 23

Robert Fleming is opening a second Magnolia Pancake Haus this week.

NAO, the Latin restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America, will have its soft opening on May 23.

It will be in the Pearl Brewery, 200 E. Grayson St., and will feature dishes from throughout South America, Latin America and the islands.

NAO will be student-staffed and the menu will feature traditional dishes creatively reinterpreted for San Antonio diners.

Jesse Perez

In other Pearl Brewery news, chef Jesse Perez is opening his contemporary American restaurant, Arcade, this fall. It will be in the lab building near the stables on the property.

The streamlined industrial look of the space will be playful, Perez says.

We’re hoping the food will be as good as what we sampled from Perez during this year’s Culinaria.

In other restaurant news, Robert Fleming will be opening his second Magnolia Pancake Haus on Friday at 10333 Huebner Road.

Old favorites, such as the Apfelpfannekuchen and the pancakes as well as the house-made sausage and eggs to order, will be available. Call (210) 561-6117.

Robbie Nowlin, who left Jason Dady’s the Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, to work at the prestigious French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., has returned to town. He will be working for Dady again, this time at Bin 555.

The Esquire Tavern

The Esquire Tavern, 155 E. Commerce St., has been named one of the top bars in America by Men’s Fitness magazine. The listing says that “Luckily despite its tourist-y location, this is a casual local favorite that just happens to boast the longest wooden bar in Texas. At 79 feet it’s the perfect spot to throw back a few Lone Stars (the “National Beer of Texas”), and hang with the locals. As for cocktails they’re fittingly big and boozy.”

The Grand Hyatt, 600 E. Market St., has a new executive chef. Lawrence Eells grew up moving around the world. As a young boy in a military family, he spent the majority of his childhood in places such as Okinawa, the Philippines, Shanghai, Hawaii, Albuquerque, San Diego, Minneapolis and Dallas.

After paying his way through college by working in the food industry, Eells took a job as chef de cuisine at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis in 1982. Since then, he has held a 30-year culinary career with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, working nearly every position in the kitchen at nine properties across the United States, opening four hotels and forging incredible, long-lasting relationships along the way. Most recently, Eells was the executive chef at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Hawaii, a position he held for the past six years.“I bring excitement and innovation with strong roots,” he said. “I hope to continue to use my background and experience to make myself valuable to Hyatt for years to come.”

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Burgers, BBQ and Beer — a Match Made in San Antonio Heaven

Michael Alvarez of the Grand Hyatt offers braised beef on a wheat bun.

Culinaria wound up five days of celebrating the finest in San Antonio food and spirits scene with an event that is tailored made for Texan tastes: Burgers, BBQ and Beer.

Sure, some wine and alcohol were thrown for good measure, but the highlights for the hundreds who thronged to the Pearl Brewery were treats such as the Wagyu beef burgers and lobster rolls that John Brand’s team from Las Canarias and Ostra served up.

Chef Jesse Perez of the upcoming Arcade restaurant offered up a chorizo burger, while Steve Warner of Two Step Restaurant served pulled pork with slaw on a buttery bun. Chef Michael Flores from Sur la Table offered pulled pork, too, but he complemented his with pulled shrimp.

John Brand is engulfed in smoke as he prepares burgers.

Jeff Balfour of Citrus won fans with a decidedly different rabbit burger with cheese and Dijon mustard; the bottles of Shiner Wild Hare Pale Ale that he and his staff used to fight off the heat were not chosen because of the meat, Balfour said with a laugh. Shere Henrici of the Rolling Pig had an Asian-influenced sweet and sour pork dish with peanuts adding crunch to the sauce.

Michael Alvarez was part of the Grand Hyatt team, which  served up three-day braised beef with house-made giardinara and a raspberry gelatin  shooter that had a touch of chocolate in it.

The array of burgers included patties made of sausage, venison and other meats came from the likes of Magnolia Pancake Haus, the Esquire Tavern and EZ’s, while barbecue came from Ben E. Keith and Q on the Riverwalk among others.

For those who partied a little too much the previous night at the Grand Tasting or wherever the party may have been, Jason Dady offered Bloody Mary’s with a smoky barbecue flavor.

Pet the possum? Sure, just not around the head.

Bakery Lorraine and Flour Power were among those offering sweets, with macarons in several flavors, brownies, cookies and cake bites drawing snackers of all ages.

For those in search of something a little different, Kameron Bean of Wild Times Edutainment brought a possum, a hedgehog and a non-fragrant skunk for people to pet. The shaded area drew plenty of interested visitors, as did the mister area, which helped take an edge off the warm day.

The sun made an icy beer all the more welcome, as Culinaria closed out its festival season on a high note.



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Auden, Dady Among James Beard Award Semifinalists

Bruce Auden

Two San Antonio chefs, Bruce Auden of Biga on the Banks and Jason Dady of Jason Dady Restaurants, are among the semifinalists for this year’s James Beard Foundations Awards, which honor excellence in the food service industry.

The Esquire Tavern, 155 E. Commerce St., is also a semifinalist in the category of Outstanding Bar Program.

The finalists will be announced March 19, with the awards handed out on May 7.

Auden is a semifinalist in the category of Best Chef in the Southwest for Biga on the Banks, 203 S. St. Mary’s St. He has been a finalist in the category several times in the past.

Paul Qui of Austin’s Uchi and “Top Chef” contender is also among the semifinalists, as is Maiya Keck of Maiya’s in Marfa, Bruno Davaillon of the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, Manabu Horiuchi of Kata Robata in Houston, Anita Jaisinghani of Indika in Houston, Hugo Ortega of Hugo’s in Houston, and Teiichi Sakurai of Tei-An in Dallas.

Dady, meanwhile, in a semifinalist in the category of Outstanding Restaurateur, which covers all of his food ventures, including Bin 555, Tre Trattoria, Two Bros. BBQ Market and the DUK Truck as well as the recently closed Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills. Another Texan on the list is Nick Badovinus of Flavor Hook in Dallas.

Jason Dady

Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine in Austin and Grant Gordon of Tony’s in Houston are on the semifinalist list of Rising Star Chef of the Year.

Stephan Pyles of Stephan Pyles in Dallas and Sustenio in San Antonio is among the semifinalists for Outstanding Chef.

Outstanding Pastry Chef semifinalists include two from Texas: Julieta V. Adauto of Orange Peel Pastries, Cakes & More of El Paso and Philip Speer of Uchi.

Another Texas semifinalist is Café on the Green at Four Seasons Resort in Irving for Outstanding Wine Program.

The foundation has also announced that Charlie Trotter of Chicago will receive its Humanitarian of the Year Award while Wolfgang Puck will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

For the full list of semifinalists, click here.

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Cocktail Conference Shakes It Up for a Good Cause

Rob Gourley of San Antonio makes a Philly Smash with rye, lime, Averna, simple syrup, berries and mezcal at the Esquire Tavern.

By the time the last drop of vodka had been poured, the last cube of ice chipped and the last mint garnish bruised, the inaugural San Antonio Cocktail Conference could be classified a success.

Adrian Sarabia of San Antonio uses Ranger Creek White in his White and Red.

The four-day event, which included everything from what could affectionately be dubbed “booze cruises” along the river to Sunday brunch, attracted hundreds. Several of the seminars, on topic ranging from ice to making cocktails at home, sold out, all offering the promise of a great future for the event.

The best news of all was the event, planned as a fundraiser for the San Antonio charity HeartGift, raised enough money to pay for the costs associated with the heart surgeries of two children from countries where the proper treatment is either unavailable or inaccessible. The surgical fees are donated by the doctors, but there are costs associated with flying the children in and taking care for them during their recuperation.

Houston Eaves of Austin makes a 3-Piece Suit with Fernet, Campari and Punt e Mes.

Saturday brought a cocktail competition in which more than 30 contestants had to prepare an original cocktail that was judged on taste, presentation and execution. The grand prize winner was John Lermayer from the Florida Room in Miami, followed by Jake Corney of Bohanan’s, which is where the contest was held, and Charles Shelton of Austin.

Lermayer named his winning cocktail Have a Heart and promised HeartGift executive director Cathy Siegel that he would be donating some of his winnings to the charity.

Saturday evening brought a crowd of cocktail lovers to the Esquire Tavern. Along the longest bar in Texas, mixologists whipped up specialty drinks that featured drinks such as Texas spirits, including Ranger Creek White and Tito’s Vodka as well as absinthe, mezcal, the Italian vermouth Punt e Mes, and digestifs such as Averna and Campari. Spray cans of bitters were also used by several to finish off their cocktails.

Wonderful flavors, all, and a great reason to raise a toast to a successful launch of the San Antonio Cocktail Conference.


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San Antonio Drinks In Its First Cocktail Conference

Corey Morris mixes cocktails at the launch of the first San Antonio Cocktail Conference.

Can you make a perfectly dry martini? Do you know how to make a margarita that achieves the right balance of natural sweetness and tartness? Do you know how to modify a classic cocktail when using the cucumber-flavored Hendrick’s Gin instead of a regular gin?

The Business 2 ounces Hendrick's Gin 3/4 ounce honey syrup 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice Place all of the ingredients in an ice-filled shaker. Shake until cold and pour into a cocktail class. Garnish with a slice of lime or cucumber, if desired.

Anyone who loves a finely crafted cocktail knows that it takes plenty of studying to get the right mix.

But it also begs another question: Can you think of any studies that are more flavorful and more conducive to partying?

That’s the format of the first San Antonio Cocktail Conference, which kicked off Thursday night with, appropriately enough, a cocktail party.

Chef Mark Bohanan, a driving force behind the conference, opened the bar at his Houston Street place to more than 350 cocktail lovers. The crowd  went from the luxurious interior, where a jazz combo kept things lively, to the neighboring patio.

The balmy January evening was perfect for traveling among the various tables where patrons could drink cocktails made with the likes of tequila, vodka, gin, Cognac and Champagne as well as such flavorings as coconut, ginger, lime and honey.

The whole conference is a fund-raiser for HeartGift, a local charity that provides medical assistance to children from around the world in need of heart surgery.

The overflowing crowd put a big smile on Mark Bohanan’s face. It must also be gratifying to know that some of the seminars today and Saturday have sold out. (For a schedule of events, including river cruises, parties at SoHo, Ocho and the Esquire Tavern, and Sunday brunch at the Sheraton Gunter, click here.)

More than 350 fill Bohanan's for the inaugural event of the San Antonio Cocktail Conference.

Corey Morris, a bartender at Bohanan’s, offered a few tips for making a good cocktail at home:

  • Make sure your ingredients are good. You can taste it when they’re not.
  • Make sure you use good ice. Ice with an off flavor can affect your drink.
  • Don’t shake your drink too much. Ice that melts too soon can water down your drink.

That’s just a taste of what’s to come over the next few days, including sessions in  Forgotten Cocktails, the Wonderful World of Gin and the homegrown Lone Star Cocktails.

While working at Bohanan’s, Morris has studied under several master mixologists, including the internationally regarded Sasha Petraske of Milk & Honey. Petraske is just one of the people who will be leading seminars, which means that anyone with passion for making perfect cocktails can learn what bartenders know. Or you can just sit back and absorb the intoxicating atmosphere that’s marking the inaugural cocktail conference.



Posted in Featured, Wine, Beer, Spirits Q&AComments Off on San Antonio Drinks In Its First Cocktail Conference Shines a Light on Austin, San Antonio Chefs has announced its 2012 Austin–San Antonio Rising Stars award winners, including several favorite names from the San Antonio dining scene.

The winners will be showcased at the Rising Stars Revue at 6 p.m. Feb. 21 at The Driskill Hotel in Austin. The walk-around tasting gala, , hosted by Chef Jonathan Gelman of Driskill Grill, will give diners the opportunity to eat their way through a series of Austin and San Antonio’s restaurants and sample beverage pairings by the winning sommelier and mixologist.

This is the first year has held a Rising Stars Revue in Austin-San Antonio.

More than 60 Austin-San Antonio candidates were considered through in-person tastings and interviews.

The 2012 Austin-San Antonio Rising Stars Award Winners, with San Antonio winners in bold:


David Bull, Congress Austin

Ned Elliott, Foreign & Domestic

Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue

Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine

Rene Ortiz, La Condesa

Paul Qui, Uchiko

Quealy Watson, The Monterey

Andrew Wiseheart, Contigo


Plinio Sandalio, Carillon

Philip Speer, Uchiko


Michael Sohocki, Restaurant Gwendolyn


Josh Watkins, Carillon


John Bates and Brandon Martinez, Noble Pig


Tyson Cole, Uchi, Uchi Houston and Uchiko

Jason Dady, Bin 555, Tre Trattoria, and Two Bros. BBQ Market


June Rodil, Congress Austin


Jeret Peña, The Esquire Tavern

The Mentor Award, presented by Vitamix, will be given to an influential chef who has shaped a new generation of culinary talent locally. It will be announced at the gala, along with a Brewer Award. Guests will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite dish of the night. The Rising Star who garners the most votes will receive a Jade Range 18-inch commercial plancha.

Tickets are $85 per person; VIP tickets are $125 and include a private reception with Champagne and Petrossian caviar, beginning at 5:45 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 212-966-7575.



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Restaurant Notes & Quotes: Brasserie Pavil Closes

Hot and hotter. Good thing some cool specials are happening indoors.

Brasserie Pavil

The restaurant, at Huebner Road and Loop 1604, closed its doors on Tuesday.  A sister restaurant, Watermark Grill, closed in February. Both restaurants were owned by Watermark Hotel Co. Inc.

Sangria and more at Azuca this summer

Azuca is offering sangria as a way to battle the heat.

Head over to Azuca’s website for a coupon, and then go to the actual restaurant for two of Spain’s most delicious treats: sangria and tapas (savory little snacks).

Azuca is at 713 S. Alamo St. Call 210-225-5550 for information.

Tejas Steakhouse to open this week

Tejas Rodeo Company is opening the Tejas Steakhouse and Saloon on its property at 401 Obst Road, Bulverde. (Just take Blanco Road north to Specht Road, about 10 miles from Blanco and 1604, and turn right. Follow the road for two miles and you’ll see Tejas Steakhouse and Tejas Rodeo on your left.)

Opening night is set for Friday.

Steaks are obviously a part of the menu, with a 20-ounce bone-in rib steak the star attraction. But it also offers burgers, catfish, chicken, salads, tacos and more. There’s also a kids’ menu.

The steakhouse will be open for dinner Thursday-Sunday as well as lunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

Open Thursday-Sunday for Dinner; plus lunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Details at

In addition to dinner, the Tejas Rodeo Company offers live music plus open mic night under the stars.

Call 830-980-2226 for more information.

The kitchen at the Esquire is offering lunch specials.

Now at the Esquire Tavern

Check out the lunch specials offered 11 a.m.-3 p.m.  Monday-Thursday at the Esquire, 155 E. Commerce St. Select entrée and side are available for $12, served with iced tea and daily ice cream.

Fridays are for martinis: Have the house martini along with steak and frites and the daily ice cream for $18. And yes, we llike the sounds of the daily ice cream as much as you do.

Also, happy hours are 3-7 p.m. Monday-Friday. Select local draft beer is priced at $3.50; select cocktails at $4.50.

Yes, it’s cool inside, but the small balcony overlooking the River Walk is pretty, too, and might even be breezy.

This week at Fig Tree Restaurant

The Fig Tree’s Tuesday and Wednesday dinner specials are among the best deals in town. It’s a great chance for we who live here to get down to the River Walk and enjoy one of the best destination restaurants in town.

The three-course prix fixe menu is $39 per person; if paired with wine, it’s $49. Selected wines are $29 per bottle. (The regular menu is available, as well.) Valet parking is for free. The Fig Tree is located at 515 Villita Street on the San Antonio River Walk. For reservations call 210-224-1976.

Here is the menu for today and Wednesday:  Escargot Ravioli with tomatoes, olives and garlic butter, or, Summer Rolls with Thai prawns and peanut sauce: optional wine is Chateau D’Esclan “Whispering Angel” Cotes de Provence 2010.  Lamb Noisettes with  raspberry demi, Potatoes Borex, upland cress: wine is Main Street Merlot, Sonoma 2006; or, Grilled Sturgeon with yazu butter, carrot mousse and thyme jus served with St. Francis Chardonnay, Sonoma 2008. For dessert, a choice of Passion Fruit Mousse or Molten Chocolate Cake.

Fig Tree is at 515 Villita St. Call 210-224-1976.

Burger lovers, make way for a Chicken Club

Whataburger is about more than burgers. That’s why it has introduced its Honey Mustard Chicken Club.

The folks who work hard to make you want to try these limited-time options — the folks in the marketing department, that is — have described the new sandwich as follows: “It’s your choice of a grilled or crispy chicken breast with bacon, fresh tomatoes, lettuce and Swiss American cheese topped with sweet Honey Mustard sauce.”


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