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Getting dragged into tourist row? Here’s some perfect hidden drinking spots to ease the pain

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Photo: Photos by Veronica Luna. Esquire: Bryan Rindfuss, License: N/A

Both physically and aesthetically, Ocho Lounge, part of the newly-revived Hotel Havana, is separated from everything on the River Walk that makes you cringe, far removed from the Hard Rock Cafe-types, the tourists furiously snapping photos and the vendors hawking coon-skin caps. This street-level bar, cased in a glass and steel conservatory-like structure, is upscale but intimate, laid back and loungey. And their outdoor patio overlooking the river tends to kill it with great live music. Hide away here, sipping on a Santiago Painkiller, a Hemingway Daiquiri, or Martinique Punch. — MB


SoHo Wine & Martini Bar
214 W Crockett
(210) 444-1000

I tend to do my “challenging” drinking at home. Saytown is full of Cheers-esque bars that are good for dry martinis, shots, and beers, but seldom reliable for a solid Manhattan or classic Side Car. At SoHo, you can sip brisket-infused bourbon or have a bloody mary garnished with freshly torched bacon. I recommend you ask bartender Ibis to prepare you an Old Fashioned with rye, sugar, Angostura bitters, and fire-zested orange (with a cherry). You’ll want to thank me, but, really, the credit goes to her and SoHo’s cadre of expert, accommodating barkeeps. — AVC



The Texan II
114 Jefferson

Located right around the corner from Travis Park, The Texan II (a fully stocked spin-off of the Texan I off West Ave) is a quaint place for locals who want to kick back and have a few drinks and avoid the hubbub of the River Walk tourist traps. The Texan II houses a diverse crowd who go for daily specials after a hard day/night of work. During the week the Texan II plays host to a variety of events ranging from karaoke, open-mic, and live music. Try the bartender-recommended specialty shot, the Starfucker, made with watermelon rum. — VS

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