The Rough Rider Bar at the Menger Hotel is the oldest continuously operating saloon in San Antonio’s history, according to a plaque outside its front door, which is a stone’s throw from the Alamo. Opened in 1859, the bar was made into an exact replica of a pub in London’s House of Lords in 1887.
I wish the moose that’s prominently displayed could talk because I bet he would have some stories to tell. The bar claims to be the site of more cattle deals than any other place in Texas. Captain Richard King, the founder of the famed King Ranch, loved the Menger. I enjoy imagining him wheeling and dealing while throwing back a Rosebud bourbon or two. King passed away in the Menger in 1885 and still continues to roam around, according to the Sisters Grimm.
The Rough Rider Bar’s name is derived from the time that Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt enlisted recruits at the bar to fight in the 1898 Spanish-American War. With a maximum occupancy of 65, the bar is extremely intimate. It’s been named one of the 10 most historic bars in America.
Memorabilia from the First Texas Calvary on the Border (1916-1917) and drawings of Teddy are on display in the bar. Ask the bartender for a whiskey, and raise a glass to President Roosevelt for prioritizing and expanding America’s national park system.
The Rough Rider Bar is located at 204 Alamo Plaza and is opened Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. until midnight. On Sundays, it’s open from noon to midnight.
For even more ideas of fun things to do and see in San Antonio, visit Barnes & Noble, The Twig, Whole Foods, Half Price Books on Broadway, Costco, Sam’s and Hudson News to purchase “100 Things To Do in San Antonio Before You Die” by yours truly. ¡Viva San Antonio!