Thursday, May 10, 2012

Road Trip Part 19: A Drinking Life

The Buckhorn Saloon in San Antonio is exactly what you'd expect from those top two pictures: it's tacky, there is an arcade for the kids, and the food that I saw passing by looked pretty bad. Most of the people - including me and Elizabeth - looked like tourists.

But it was a very hot and humid day and we had walked for probably three miles at that point. The air conditioning in the Saloon was cold, the bartender was extremely friendly, and the beer was ice cold. I drank a schooner of Shiner Bock while Elizabeth enjoyed a pint of it and we both were quite content. Though we did not stay for more than one beer.

Every once in a while I come across a bar on vacation and fall in love; I immediately know that if I lived close by I would spend far too much time there. The Esquire Tavern is just such a place. We walked by and decided to go in for a drink.

I started with an Alamo Golden Ale while Elizabeth had a Dark & Stormy. It was nice in the bar, quite calm, but halfway through our beers I wandered to the back just to check out the layout of the place when I noticed a back patio suspended over the Riverwalk. I immediately suggested to Elizabeth we move outside.

True, it was quite humid, but with cold drinks and a slight breeze, we didn't mind.

I stayed with the beer, but next up Elizabeth tried the Gibraltar: calvados, pear liqueur, lemon and sugar in a mezcal-laced glass.

Neither of us remember exactly what this was called - there is a drink on their menu called a Philly Smash and that sounds right - but Elizabeth liked it as well.

The menu looked good, too. I wish we'd gone there instead of Republic of Texas. 

Our server at the Esquire was a nice girl and when she finished her shift we closed out with her and figured it was a good time to go try another place ourselves. We asked her opinion and she recommended a place called SoHo. The layout of the place itself was awesome, housed in a more-than-a-century-old bank.

Unfortunately the bartender was the least pleasant server we encountered on the whole trip. She wasn't so much rude as indifferent, and then after she served us our drinks she completely ignored us, even when I asked her a question. (Actually when I put it like that, she was pretty rude, especially for a bartender.) So we left before we'd even finished our drinks. Every single person we encountered in San Antonio - from the clerk at the hotel, to a fellow guest who gave me advice, to the Riverwalk boat guide, to the (many) bartenders - was very friendly except one, so we had no problem moving on from here.

After walking around for a while, we stopped into a place called Mexican Manhattan to use the restroom. It's got a nice view of the river but does not feel like it's really in the middle of the Riverwalk crowds. While waiting for Elizabeth in the bar area and trying to steal a glimpse of a basketball game, I started talking with the bartender who, of course, turned out to be a really nice guy. So I decided to have myself a beer. Elizabeth thought it looked tasty and got one too. Why not? I drank a Tecate and snacked on chips & salsa - not great, but pretty good, especially considering they were free.

The next day we got to New Orleans and, after dropping our stuff off in the room, we headed out in the French Quarter. This was Elizabeth's first time in NOLA, as I have written, so I took her to get a Hurricane. They were delicious as always.

I drank mine faster than she did, so I got myself a beer next.

I mentioned, when writing about Margaritaville the other day, that I first saw Lynn Drury perform there. Two years later I was back in NOLA, looking for something to do with my friends, when I looked in the local paper and saw that Lynn was playing that night at the Kerry Irish Pub. We went and had a great time. (I wish I could understand why it's impossible to turn on the radio these days without hearing Adele on at least two different stations yet someone like this remains relatively unknown.)

On our walk back to the hotel that first night in town, Elizabeth and I passed by the Kerry and I said we should pop in for one last drink of the evening. It was pretty empty inside, no music playing, but my Guinness was wonderful.

Every trip I've made to New Orleans has included a stop at Tropical Isle for a Hand Grenade or two. (Well, every adult trip. I guess I didn't go there on my first NOLA trip when I was 9.) Elizabeth and I had more than one Hand Grenade. We also went back the next day.

And we had Horny Gators. 

Really Horny Gators. 

In the light rain we took shelter on the back patio of a bar and had us some Abita beers: Purple Haze for her, Amber for me. 

When the rain stopped we wandered around some more and found a bar with a tiny courtyard. It was a pleasant place to drink and I had my first Dixie Beer of the trip.

Later on in the evening we stopped by the Funky Pirate for one drink to see Big Al Carson - "500 pounds of blues." When I first saw Big Al more than a decade ago, that number seemed low, but he looked like he'd lost some weight so I believe it now.) More Abita Amber.

For our morning river cruise on the Steamboat Natchez, I had myself a Blue Moon Spring Blonde Wheat Ale.

Later in the afternoon, as it heated up, we stopped to get a beer on Bourbon Street. Several of the beers were being advertised as "three for one," but Elizabeth wanted a Blue Moon, which was not part of that promotion.

The Champagne of Beers was, however. So I drank three of them.

I do not remember exactly what this was - I think Dos Equis - but I am sure it was not Stella. 

After our last afternoon (and evening) on Bourbon Street, we stopped for an icy drink on the way back to the hotel: 190 Antifreeze.  

I purchased some Hurricane mix and brought it with me to Florida, where I served everyone Hurricanes beside the pool.

And finally, Easter Sunday, as I mentioned yesterday, was a very hot day. The beer selections at the party we went to were small: Newcastle Brown Ale and Coors Light. So I drank the latter.

And that's it from the road trip. 3763 miles, 16 states, 11 days, 0 speeding tickets and 0 Albert Pujols home runs missed.

Tomorrow we start on my new life in New York.


mindful mule said...

I’m feeling a little drunk this morning after reviewing this post. Nothing could be better looking than an ice-cold schooner of beer. To Brooklyn!

Michelle said...

I will miss the road posts but way to go out on top!

Ryan said...

First time poster but a long time viewer of the blog and I just wanted to say I enjoyed reading the adventures of your road trip.

Oh and that Guinness looked fantastic. It's not often you find a place that knows how to properly poor a Guinness.

JustinM said...

Thanks Ryan. I agree completely about the Guinness.

Nosh Gnostic said...

Wow. I'm hungover after that - but nothing a Bloody Mary garnished with a Slim Jim can't fix.