The Esquire Tavern // San Antonio, TX
After a brief hiatus from the Texas bar scene, Esquire Tavern has opened its doors once again and this time they’re not going anywhere. With its old western charm and hearty cowboy grit, this bar is a blast from the past that is sure to welcome you with southern hospitality. A new cocktail menu is served to patrons by Esquire’s beloved Jeret Pena, who shows not only pride in his city, but in every drink that he pours. Craft cocktails, spirits and beer are all within his repertoire as he walks the line between the head of the saloon and cocktail connoisseur.
What makes the Esquire Tavern so unique?
Have you ever walked inside the Esquire? Forget about the cocktails for a moment. I know this might sound cliche but its like walking into the past. You can see the wear and tear on the bar from peoples hands, elbows and forearms over the last 80 years. Memories are woven into the very walls of this iconic place.
If going to the Esquire Tavern for the first time, is there a signature drink I should order?
Though it is simple to make, the Moscow Mule (or anything with Ginger beer) is a home run. Why you might ask? Our home made ginger beer is one of the best you will try.
We admire your selection of locally brewed beer. Do you feel Texas is a strong contender in the craft beer scene?
Big Craft brew hot spots around the country have cleared the way for fledgling markets to prosper. The learning curve is rapid in new markets because most of the ground work has been done. It is now San Antonio’s time to join and make a name for itself. So to answer the questions, yes!
We’ve had some mean margaritas in San Antonio. How do yours compare?
Define mean? Mean as in big and boozy? If so I can assure you that anyone can step up to the plate. If you are looking for a traditional margarita that is both balanced and enjoyable I would steer you no where else but the Esquire. We follow a traditional recipe that is measured for preciseness.
There was the martini trend, the single malt trend, the single barrel bourbon trend and then the high-end tequilas. What’s next for 2011?
Craft beer, spirits and cocktails! Both are making huge strides in the market. Less attention is shown to the big spirit companies and wine labels. We will see in the future a larger presence from the craft beer and spirit industry such as ; Ranger Creek in San Antonio who produce amazing beer and whiskey (in October) and Treaty Oak in Austin who are making rum, gin and other great craft spirits. As for cocktails, I have seen success in our market with larger companies adopting a cocktail program. My colleague Robert Millican at the Westin La Cantera has been working on a cocktail program. He has introduced craft drinks and Kold Draft ice machine to a huge resort. His success is all of our success. If we continue to support this movement, we will see in our near future Texas as a whole being on the same playing field as New York and California.
What’s the best thing about bartending at Esquire Tavern?
The Esquire had a notorious reputation much like a saloon in the wild wild west yet with the elegance and charm of classic cocktail bar.
What’s your favorite drink to serve right now?
The Mas Chingoni! Equal part reposado tequila, carpano antica and aperol. Then a bar spoon of Mezcal with a grapefruit twist. Definitely big and boozy!