Santa Fe

Culturally endowed though it is, Santa Fe has a pretty mellow nightlife scene; its key strength is live music, which is presented at numerous bars, hotel lounges, and restaurants. Regionally renowned blues, jazz, folk, country and other acts wander into town, and members of blockbuster bands have been known to perform unannounced at small clubs while vacationing in the area. But on most nights your best bet might be quiet cocktails beside the flickering embers of a piñon fire or under the stars out on the patio.

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  • 1. As Above So Below Distillery

    Railyard District

    More female distillers are gaining recognition in the spirits industry, and Caley Shoemaker is one of today’s most intriguing women in the business. After honing her craft at several big-name beverage companies, the Colorado native and her husband moved to Santa Fe to open their own spot just across the railroad tracks from the Santa Fe Farmers' Market. Guests are treated to a view of Lilleth, their impressive pot still, just behind a glass wall beyond the tasting room’s cocktail bar. Best known for Sigil gin and tantalizing Aradia aperitivo, the seasonal drink menu spotlights homegrown spirits, and the bottle shop sells limited-run tippling treats.

    545 Camino de la Familia, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87505, USA
  • 2. Bosque Brewing Co.

    Railyard District

    One of the state's most celebrated craft brewing companies, Bosque Brewing Co.'s Santa Fe taproom offers rotating taps including favorites such as the Jetty Jack Amber and Elephants on Parade wheat ale. The kitchen serves up beer-friendly foods ranging from nachos and deep-fried cheese curds to street tacos, burgers, and fish-and-chips. It's a great spot to relax and people-watch.

    500 Market St., Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87501, USA
  • 3. Cowgirl BBQ

    Railyard District

    This rollicking barbecue, burger, and Southwestern soul food joint is one of the most popular places in town for live blues, country, rock, folk, and even karaoke. The bar is friendly and reasonable drink prices provide bang for your buck. The kids' patio out back keeps little ones entertained, and the fun pool hall and central outdoor patio can get wild as the night gets late.

    319 S. Guadalupe St., Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87501, USA
  • 4. Del Charro

    The Plaza

    The laid-back saloon at the Inn of the Governors serves casual fare even after most of the Downtown restaurants have closed. It also offers a full bar filled with local charm and plenty of characters. It has a laid-back vibe thanks to its old-fashioned Western decor and dark-wood paneling (warmed by the glow of a woodburning fireplace). It is a favorite of locals as well as visitors so it can fill up quickly during peak tourist season.

    101 W. Alameda St., Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87501, USA
  • 5. El Farol

    East Side and Canyon Road

    With its long front portal and expansive back patio, this ancient adobe restaurant is a lovely spot to enjoy the afternoons and evenings of summer. The roomy, rustic lounge has a true Old West atmosphere—there's been a bar on the premises since 1835—and you can order some fine Spanish brandies and sherries in addition to cold beers, sangria, and margaritas, and the kitchen turns out authentic Spanish fare, from hearty paellas to lighter tapas. There's a daily happy hour from 3 to 5 pm, and it's a great place to see a variety of music as the dance floor fills up with a friendly crowd. For a fun night out, book a table to watch one of the fantastic flamenco shows.

    808 Canyon Rd., Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87501, USA
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  • 6. Agave Restaurant & Lounge

    The Plaza

    The bar in the Agave restaurant located within the Eldorado Hotel is stylish and contemporary, making it just as much of a hit with locals and nonguests as with those staying on the property. Smart decor and happy hour deals combined with the late-night bar-food menu—from snacks to burgers—are among Agave's key assets.

    309 W. San Francisco St., Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87501, USA
  • 7. Bell Tower Bar

    The Plaza

    The lofty rooftop perch at historic Hotel La Fonda is open only from mid-spring through mid-fall, but during the warmer months it's a lovely spot to sip cocktails while watching the sunset and surrounding mountains. The views make it very popular so try to get there during the off-hours to snag a table. Year-round, you can also enjoy outstanding margaritas and tasty bar food in lively La Fiesta Lounge, just off the hotel lobby, which also features live music.

    100 E. San Francisco St., Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87501, USA
  • 8. Evangelo's

    The Plaza

    A staple in the Downtown social scene for decades, Evangelo's can be loud and pulsing with partiers, which is just how it is meant to be. Adults of all ages enjoy live bands and downstairs pool tables in this shots-and-a-beer kind of place. The staff can be gruff but are beloved by locals.

    200 W. San Francisco St., Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87501, USA
  • 9. Santa Fe Spirits Downtown Tasting Room

    Railyard District

    Microdistillery Santa Fe Spirits operates this convivial tasting room from a small adobe home tucked on a side street. Known for its award-winning Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey, Wheeler's Gin, and Apple Brandy, among several other robust elixirs, it's a great place to sip drinks on the cute little patio on warm evenings. Distillery tours, by reservation, are available at the main production facility out near the Santa Fe airport.

    308 Read St., Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87501, USA
  • 10. Second Street Brewery

    Railyard District

    The Railyard location of this local brewpub is especially popular thanks to the easy walking distance from Downtown hotels. There's great live music (usually rock or folk) or DJs most nights along with a rotating selection of terrific beers. A substantial food menu includes good burgers and pub favorites.

    1607 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87501, USA
  • 11. Secreto Lounge

    The Plaza

    This moody bar inside the historic Hotel St. Francis has long been known for its creative craft cocktails, including a classic Manhattan with a clove tincture spritzed over the top and a popular smoked-sage margarita. Food from the restaurant next door can be enjoyed in the bar, and you can also sample superb New Mexico wines at Gruet Winery's Tasting Room, just across the hotel lobby.

    210 Don Gaspar Ave., Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87501, USA
  • 12. Tonic

    The Plaza

    At this intimate, high-ceilinged bar with a dapper art deco interior, you can sip deftly crafted cocktails and catch live jazz. It's one of the few spots serving bar food until late.

    103 E. Water St., Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87501, USA

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