Barrio Barista: Coffee and culture on the city's west side

Somewhere in el barrio (the neighborhood) in San Antonio (3735 Culebra Road, to be exact) is a cool coffeehouse serving up cups of joe and delicious treats. Aptly named Barrio Barista, owner Gilbert De Hoyos has taken his passion for coffee to create what has become the welcoming and friendly go-to coffee spot for many patrons in the barrio, present company included.

The father-son duo behind Barrio Barista (left: Gilbert De Hoyos, Jr., and father Gilbert De Hoyos, Sr.)

The father-son duo behind Barrio Barista (left: Gilbert De Hoyos, Jr., and father Gilbert De Hoyos, Sr.)

You can spot Gilbert Sr. and his son, Gilbert Jr., working their magic behind the bar or in the kitchen, preparing the next espresso or cup of coffee or barbacoa-filled goodness (more on that later). Part of what makes Barrio Barista a great place to get your caffeinated fix is seeing the dreams of a family become reality; it’s a sort of moxie that anyone can appreciate (preferably with coffee in hand, of course). And the other part of what makes Barrio Barista great? Well, it’s puro San Antonio, like, de verdad (really)!

Get your caffeine fix at Barrio Barista from 7 am – 3 pm. 

Get your caffeine fix at Barrio Barista from 7 am – 3 pm. 

Step inside and you’ll quickly notice the cultura of the west side mixed nicely with local art, from the walls (where you can spot artwork from Robert Tatum of Tatum Originals or Snake Hawk Press owner and artist Cruz Ortiz) down to the necessary details (like the lotería-inspired “El Barrio Barista” reward card, where your eighth specialty drink is on the house). As someone who grew up less than a mile down the road from Barrio Barista, these are just some of the notable niceties that make the place feel like home away from home. There’s something for everyone too: live music, poetry nights, and even town hall meetings (State Representative Diego Bernal of District 123, and even Congressman Joaquín Castro, have stopped by). If you’re game for a friendly, competitive match of checkers, you can do that also.

El Barrio Barista rewards card draws inspiration from the popular lotería game. 

El Barrio Barista rewards card draws inspiration from the popular lotería game. 

Barbacoa grilled cheese sandwich. Yes, please!

Barbacoa grilled cheese sandwich. Yes, please!

OCD: Obsessive Coffee Drinker.

OCD: Obsessive Coffee Drinker.

So, what items can you find of their menu? Barrio Barista serves all your traditional favorites, from espressos to coffee to iced drinks and flavored teas, among other options. One of my personal favorites is the horchata latte (#OCD). If you’ve got your appetite with you, they’ve got you covered there too: tacos, burgers, sandwiches, and soups make up the majority of the delectable fare. I’m not one to resist barbacoa any time; if you can relate to the struggle, you MUST try their barbacoa grilled cheese sandwich. It's delicious, and you'll be left wondering why it isn't a normal staple in the city. You can check out their full menu here.  

Beyond the coffee and food, though, Barrio Barista has quickly become a neighborhood favorite between westsiders, college students (St. Mary’s University is just half a mile down the road), and coffee aficionados alike. People from all around town have been making the trek too. BarbacoApparel fan Monica Castillo, who recently made a trip to the coffeehouse from the city’s northeast side, is a new fan. “The food was delicious! The iced horchata latte really hit the spot, and my husband Rudy thought the Reese’s-flavored frappe was awesome! We will definitely be returning for more,” she recounts. 

Be sure to follow Barrio Barista on their social media to keep tabs on all things caffeinated, or decaffeinated, if that’s how you roll. For shop hours and more, visit their Website here.

Follow Barrio Barista on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

All photos courtesy of Monica Castillo.