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When my husband and I bellied up to the 100-foot wooden bar at the Esquire Tavern, the gentleman standing next to us said that he owns a T-shirt from the establishment’s earlier days that reads, “I got frisked at The Esquire.”

No frisking took place on the day we imbibed, but it’s the colorful history of this place that makes for interesting conversation. Founded in 1933 on the day that Prohibition was recalled, The Esquire has been a mainstay of downtown San Antonio’s thirsty crowd for nearly 80 years. The owners claim that it’s the oldest bar on the San Antonio River Walk, and who can disprove them?

When we learned that you couldn’t buy Shiner Bock on tap…and I do believe that’s something that needs to change…my husband and I ordered a sampler of bottled Mexican beers. Not bad, but after we had them, we wished that we’d tried some of the craft beers on tap instead. Most bottled beer runs between $5 to $7, with Bud Light priced at $3 and Shiner Bock at $4.50. Craft beers, like Real Ale, Live Oak and Ranger Creek Pale Ale, are $5 to $8 per pint, with one German beer priced at $10.

You may follow the Esquire Tavern on Twitter to keep up with their specials, like a recent Happy Hour that featured Texas drafts for $3.50. The Esquire bills itself as a Gastro Pub that serves comfort foods. We only had beer the day we were there, so we’re going to have to go back to sample their culinary options, especially their Saturday/Sunday Brunch. They’re also striving to develop San Antonio’s cocktail culture, so that’s a whole other area worth exploring.

The Esquire Tavern is located at 155 E. Commerce Street at St. Mary’s Avenue, and many VIA busses pick up/let off just steps away from the front door. The tavern is also on the Yellow Line of the downtown trolleys, and four parking garages are nearby. The Esquire is open from 11 a.m. until late 364 days a year. (Don’t show up on Christmas Day.) Their phone number is (210) 222-2521.

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