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“Great Burgers”
Review of Esquire Tavern

Esquire Tavern
Ranked #52 of 4,800 Restaurants in San Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $20
Cuisines: Gastropub, Brew Pub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: St. Mary
Transit: Conveniently located in downtown on the San Antonio River, The Esquire Tavern is within walking distance from most major hotels. In addition, The Esquire is serviced by the Yellow Line Downtown Trolley conveniently located at the corner of Commerce and St. Mary’s fifty feet from our front door.
Description: One of the Top 25 Bars in America, The Esquire Tavern opened in 1933 to celebrate the end of Prohibition - a beloved San Antonio watering hole ever since. When it comes to choosing the best Riverwalk bars to spend your time, atmosphere certainly matters. Our legendary establishment is the quintessential downtown bar: dark, cool, redolent with history, and serving cold beer, swanky cocktails, and excellent food. Don't believe us? Step right up and sink your teeth into some handmade SA comfort food including Organic Sirloin Burgers, Crispy Chile Salted Fries, Big Red Empanadas, and Fried Apple Pie with Bourbon Carmel Sauce made from scratch! Now that you trust us a bit more....feel free to stay a while and enjoy hand crafted cocktails using the best of spirits and freshest of juices from the Margarita to the Moscow Mule. Beer lovers, indulge with over 10 Texas/regional brews on tap and enjoy the ice cold bottled beers you love.
Reviewed November 12, 2013

I ate here twice while in town and the burgers were excellent. Also had the fried pickles which were about the same as anywhere else. I thought $6 a bit steep for an IPA on tap. The first night I went in I sat at the bar and a barback told me the bartender would be right with me. 15 minutes later she asked if he had come over and I said "no" and she took my order. The bartender was a tall thin drink of water with a tie, vest and van dyke-ish bit of facial hair. He was in a conversation with a couple customers about ten feet away from me when I came in and I guess he just couldn't be bothered to say "what can I get ya" before returning to his conversation. The first time he ever came up to me to ask if I needed anything was about 2 hours after I had been there but by then I had just been ordering from this little barback who looked like Janene Garafalo. She was wonderful and made sure I was taken care of. So other than that bad bartender experience I would recommend this dive to everyone. It has a small but nice balcony overlooking the Riverwalk that was a perfect place to unwind at the end of the day after my conference. Again - the burgers should not be missed. I give it an overall rating of 4 for the balcony and the food - the service not so much.

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1  Thank COLOFLTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 11, 2013

Ahhhh, what a way to enjoy the Riverwalk without getting into the thick of it - the balcony at the Esquire. We entered from the wrought iron staircase off the Riverwalk and were greeted with a smile from the hostess who welcomed us to have a seat. We ordered a few cocktails and some appetizers. No pressure to hurry up even though the place was busy due to the band getting ready to play. So, we stayed, ordered another cocktail and listened to the band. Ended up going back a few more times during our stay. Great place, great people, great cocktails, great service, great everything!

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Thank TravelerNBNW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2013

I had heard great things about this Tavern. I went with a group of coworkers to experience their amazing grilled cheese. All in all we had a good meal (and the grilled cheese was awesome) however, the service was very slow and the staff is very unorganized. An extra waiter and/or a door person would be helpful. The staff wasn't super friendly either. The food was good and we would definitely return.

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Thank PerryHacker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2013 via mobile

After several nights in town and too much Tex Mex, we decided to stop here on our last night in the city for an unusual cocktail and a burger. Much like the other reviewer, we walked in from the street side and no one greeted us at the door. After a moment we walked to the rear (river walk entrance) and stood for a few moments. Again ignored. No signs stating "please wait to be seated" or anything! Finally, after seeing multiple servers pass right by us completely, my husband walked up to the bar and asked a "bus boy" type what we were supposed to do to get served. He then showed us to a booth, brought us each a glass of water, left menus for us and said " your server will be right with you." Fair enough.
After the young man seated us, we waited and waited, passed by numerous times by servers who never even checked in to say "hello and be with you momentarily." Just as we were about to get up and walk out, a waiter showed up and apologized for the delay. Naturally we ordered on the spot just in case we didn't see him again for a while!
Overpriced mediocre deviled eggs came out, but our drinks took forever. The burger made its way eventually, too and did not live up to the hype of other reviewers here.
I regret that we spent our last evening in San Antonio at this poorly managed place. I want to urge others to stay away so they aren't disappointed by the poor service and average food (at best) that this place puts out!

1  Thank cindersmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2013

I was in San Antonio for a few days as part of a vacation around the Hill Country, and friends recommended this bar for dinner and drinks. Four friends and I arrived at just after 7:30 on a Monday evening. When we walked in, nobody came to greet us or make us feel welcome at all. We walked through to the other end of the bar, looking for a place to sit, and a waitress stopped us. She said that there was nowhere to seat us, even though there were plenty of empty spaces around. A booth that would quite comfortable have sat the five of us was somehow out of the question. She told the five of us to wait by the bar until a table became available.

The bar, unlike the booths, was quite busy. There's not much space there though (it's basically enough to stand single-file between the bar stools and the booths), so it's not an ideal place to ask five people to wait, especially as servers needed to go back and forth past us. There weren't five barstools for us to sit together either, so after a couple of moments feeling like we were in the way, we moved back to the end of the bar where there was more space.

This seemed to annoy the waitress, who came back over to us to berate us for waiting in the wrong area. She then told us that she wouldn't seat us at all because there was a 45 minute await for food from the kitchen because they were too busy. There were plenty of booths available, and spaces at the tables at the back - so quite how the kitchen was 'too busy' I don't know. I would say the bar was at about 50% capacity.

The attitude of the waitress was particularly poor. It felt like we were annoying her by being there, rather than feeling welcomed. She could've sat us at a booth for 30 minutes to enjoy a few drinks until the kitchen was less overrun to take our orders, but that wasn't suggested, and when I asked about sitting at a booth she just repeated that there were too many people and we wouldn't be able to sit down.

My wife and I live in London, UK - so we're used to 'brusque' service at times; but attitude this bad would stand out even in the worst tourist traps in the capital back home. It's certainly not what we expect from a place like Texas that prides itself on it's friendly people and customer-focused service. Definitely the worst customer service I've experienced in TX (possibly the worst I've encountered in the US).

I'd say avoid this place. There are plenty of other fantastic spots to eat or drink in SA, but this isn't one of them. Can't comment on the food, or even the drinks, because we didn't get a chance to try. Disappointed.

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4  Thank grrr_uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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