Sojourn offers vacation vibes, drinks to downtown San Antonio

Nestled on the west bank of the San Pedro Creek, neighboring the Alameda Theater which will shine again after its rehabilitation, is the new cocktail bar Sojourn. Derik Cortez and Andrew Carrillo, two well-known names in the local food and beverage industry, combined to bring a refreshing escape to the middle of downtown San Antonio.

Cortez is the mixology mind behind the drink menus at Box Street Social and Mixtli. Carillo is the owner of longtime local burger joint Armadillos Texas Style Burgers. The business partners and friends grew a vacation vibes sort of spot out of what was once the moody, low-lit Juniper Tar before it closed in 2018.

If the name of the bar, meaning a temporary stay, didn’t drive home a getaway-like atmosphere. The interior will do the trick.

Sojourn, a downtown cocktail bar with a cold kitchen menu, is in its soft opening phase at 244 W. Houston St.

Madalyn Mendoza, MySA.com

Sojourn, a downtown cocktail bar with a cold kitchen menu, is in its soft opening phase at 244 W. Houston St.

Sojourn, a downtown cocktail bar with a cold kitchen menu, is in its soft opening phase at 244 W. Houston St.

Madalyn Mendoza, MySA.com

The opulent decor of Juniper Tar (taxidermy and all) are out and now chairs with rattan backs and bright blue banquet seating welcome guests. Chandeliers and stained glass windows give the space its elegant edge. A mural of palm leaves and tropical flowers brings the outdoors in without having to bear the heat and humidity. If Ernest Hemingway was looking for a San Antonio version of his beloved Havana bar El Floridita, Sojourn might be it.

As I battled post-vacation blues following my own sojourn to the cobblestone, sea breezed streets of Mexico, I made plans to catch up with some close friends to extend my trip just for a night and hopefully ease the pain of the 800 unread work emails (of which only about five needed my direct attention) in my inbox.

Here are a few things to know about Sojourn.

There’s a little something for everyone at Sojourn

Sojourn, a downtown cocktail bar with a cold kitchen menu, is in its soft opening phase at 244 W. Houston St.

Sojourn, a downtown cocktail bar with a cold kitchen menu, is in its soft opening phase at 244 W. Houston St.

Madalyn Mendoza, MySA.com

The new bar offers a cold kitchen food menu. Items are not cooked with any form of heat. The small food menu includes oysters (dressed or on the half shell), beef tartare, hummus, crispy tuna bites, charcuterie, a Cubano sandwich, and summer watermelon salad with mango vinaigrette and marinated feta.

We picked the charcuterie and hummus to share.

Sojourn charges $24 for charcuterie with four choices of proteins and cheese and two choices of extras like mixed nuts, pickles or olives. The board served as a nice centerpiece for our hour-long gabbing. The portions were generous even between three snackish women and there were a few pieces left behind.

Sojourn, a downtown cocktail bar with a cold kitchen menu, is in its soft opening phase at 244 W. Houston St.

Sojourn, a downtown cocktail bar with a cold kitchen menu, is in its soft opening phase at 244 W. Houston St.

Madalyn Mendoza, MySA.com

The hummus, served with pita chips, tomatoes, and cucumber, was also a hit at our table, with each of us excitedly taking turns dipping away. The Sojourn staff is approachable and was happy to refill our pita chips so that we could finish sopping up the last bits of hummus.

Sojourn, a downtown cocktail bar with a cold kitchen menu, is in its soft opening phase at 244 W. Houston St.

Sojourn, a downtown cocktail bar with a cold kitchen menu, is in its soft opening phase at 244 W. Houston St.

Madalyn Mendoza, MySA.com

Of course, Sojourn also pours out a list of beer, wine, and specialty cocktails. With ingredients like chocolate liqueur, tea-infused sake, Spanish bubbles and more, it was hard to decide on just one cocktail, but this was a work night. My decision making might have resorted to closing my eyes and picking one, I was so torn, but I ultimately decided on something that felt familiar: a raspa. Sojourn’s adult take on the summertime favorite uses Apple Jack 86, Tiger’s Blood cordial, rum, lime, and coconut.

The raspa is presented much more elegantly than what the ice cream man would whip up. At Sojourn, it’s served in the kind of upscale ribbed glassware that’s been sitting in my online cart for months. The extra boozy, pinkish rum elixir sits at the bottom of a sphere of ice wrapped in a leafy garnish.

Sojourn, a downtown cocktail bar with a cold kitchen menu, is in its soft opening phase at 244 W. Houston St.

Sojourn, a downtown cocktail bar with a cold kitchen menu, is in its soft opening phase at 244 W. Houston St.

Madalyn Mendoza, MySA.com

Just before my friends and I looked over the menu, someone made a mention of wishing more places offered a dedicated mocktail menu with refreshing drinks sans alcohol. Moments later, almost like magic, we found the zero-proof section of the drink menu which includes the Summer Julep and Tahitian Pineapple. My friend, who is expecting her first baby in a few months, imbibed sipped on the julep. She says she was initially apprehensive about the soy sauce, but as her cup dried up she was happy with how it was layered with the mint and the “crunchy” ice was a plus.

More to know

Sojourn is a diamond in the rough, with the rough being downtown road work. Navigating the road closures to end up at Sojourn is worth it, though. The bar does not have a dedicated parking area, so add about 10 minutes to your commute to find a street parking or garage.

Sojourn, a downtown cocktail bar with a cold kitchen menu, is in its soft opening phase at 244 W. Houston St.

Sojourn, a downtown cocktail bar with a cold kitchen menu, is in its soft opening phase at 244 W. Houston St.

Madalyn Mendoza, MySA.com

The bar is in a soft opening phase but recently launched a 4 to 7 pm, Monday through Friday Happy Hour.

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