So many bars, so little time.
Because we want you to make the most of your week off, Foghorn Editors John Oliva, Jose Alonzo and Sam Gutierrez went downtown to check out the local bars and clubs to figure out which ones are worth your time. While there are plenty of places to drink, these are our top 4.
We started our bar hopping at BUS, aka Bar Under the Sun. Walking in, the first thing you see is the mass amount of people crowding the area. The interior design is reminiscent of a hipster bar from Austin, but with a very social atmosphere.
While waiting to order our drinks, we noticed that nearly everyone there was overdressed and young. Men were wearing suits and women were wearing dresses. Everyone seemed of the upper class as well.
Two of us ordered signature drinks they offered, the Balacera and the Gum Hollow Ranch Water. Oliva described the Balacera as a smooth, citrusy cocktail with a weird aftertaste. Gutierrez said her drink, the Gum Hollow Ranch Water, was OK but too watered down.
The bartenders were fast but put their work into the craft of being a mixologist, especially on a packed evening.
Once we received our beverages, we found plenty of patio furniture and games in the outdoor area. There were giant checkers, giant Jenga, giant Connect 4 and cornholes. We made our way to the back and sat down near a local food truck.
We overheard a live band singing a cover and made our way in that direction. On the opposite side of the bar was another lounge space where music took over.
Overall, we felt underdressed but enjoyed ourselves. BUS is not a place to go if you’re looking for a calm evening, but a place to go if you want to feel classy.
Oliva: Balacera, $10
Alonzo: Vodka and Red Bull, $7
Gutierrez: Gum Hollow Ranch Water, $8
Entering the next bar, our immediate response was how laid-back, inviting and open it was. There was live music in the corner giving the bar a chill atmosphere.
Along the walls were multiple pieces of art from local artists all for sale. Families and couples were enjoying themselves around the venue.
We walked upstairs where a couple was relaxing on a couch, while their children colored on a coffee table. Another group of people upstairs were enjoying their meals and drinks at an opposite table while gabbing away.
There are daily specials as well as monthly events with different singers and bands. At each table were phone chargers attached to digital menus, providing a helpful aid to those with low batteries.
The staff were very friendly and professional. The bartenders kept conversation with each guest, making them feel heard and appreciated.
The Exchange is the ideal place for a fun night out with family, or a perfect spot for an intimate date that isn’t overcome with other people and loud music.
Editors did not drink at this bar, but the special was $3 margaritas that evening.
EXECUTIVE SURF CLUB
A mix between a surfer and sports bar, the Executive Surf Club has more than 30 options when it comes to beer. The bar had a local Coastal Bend feel to it along with being a fun atmosphere.
The bartenders were nice and attentive with more than one coming up to us to take our order. There was not much of a younger demographic but it was still inviting. We decided to not order any food, but there was plenty to choose from.
Once we walked outside with our drinks, our mood changed and was overcome with surprise. Another cover band was performing a song while two couples, one elderly and one young, were dancing crazy to it.
There was a “forever young” vibe going on, but we noticed how flirtatious everyone was with each other. We walked back inside and noticed their wall full of signed headshots of musicians who had performed there, such as Miranda Lambert.
The Executive Surf Club is a place to go for a fun kickback time with friends. Customers will receive amazing service while enjoying their food and drinks.
Oliva and Alonzo: Peach Margarita, $5
Gutierrez: Did not drink
THE GOLD FISH
The Gold Fish was definitely our favorite place of the evening. With the open area and relaxing atmosphere, we ended our bar crawl here.
There was more live music, but it was a jazz band that occupied our ears. Gutierrez said it reminded her of her favorite Disney movie, “The Aristocats.”
The bar area was intimate, and the bartenders helped suggest cocktails for us.
The location is mainly outdoors, with strings of lights illuminating the air.
The crowd was friendly as well. Striking up conversation with other guests was an added bonus to the local bar.
The history of the bar is interesting by it originally being a gas station from the early 1900s and then later becoming a dry-cleaning store.
Oliva: Bourbon Sour, $9
Alonzo: Did not drink
Gutierrez: Harbor Punch, $10
Foghorn editors Sam Gutierrez and Jose Alonzo contributed to this report.