Albuquerque doesn’t have any professional sports teams. And while the Duke City Derby, los Lobos and the mighty Isotopes give us a strong tradition of amateur action, what few pro athletes we have tend to be cage fighters. Maybe we should call it “Put Up Your Dukes City.” But since there aren’t major pro Mixed Martial Arts competitions held here, our only public forum is to gather at sports bars and cheer the hometown fighters. This week’s column is the second installment of an occasional series on the best Albuquerque sports bars in which to watch televised hand-to-hand combat. The first installment in the series, in April, covered the Fox and Hound. The third installment, probably sometime next year, is a secret because I’m still actively researching and don’t want to tip anyone off. But if you want to suggest a sports bar in which to watch MMA, please do. Just remember it has to serve good food.
Right off the bat, something that sets Doc & Eddy’s apart from other sports bars is that no cover charge is extracted on Ultimate Fighting Championship nights, even though the UFC charges bars a hefty pay-per-view fee that’s usually passed along to the customers. The downside of no cover on UFC nights: You have to get there early if you want a table, and sometimes the occupancy load is maxed out. Inexplicably, the Strikeforce matches, which air for free on Showtime, aren’t shown at Doc & Eddy’s.
What you will find on any night are many pool tables, a dart board, a typical array of sports bar paraphernalia (e.g., football helmets dangling from the ceiling), and waitresses who are not dressed like strippers (TDs is across the parking lot if that’s what you’re after—it also airs UFC).
There are several clues pointing to the fact that the kitchen staff at Doc & Eddy’s take their jobs seriously.
Once, a few minutes after I was lucky enough to get a table, my waitress asked if two women could join me because they weren’t so lucky. Well, OK. Together we watched one of the greatest fights I’ve ever seen, as part-time Albuquerque resident (when he trains at Jackson’s MMA) Shane Carwin came heartbreakingly close to slaying the beast known as Brock Lesnar. We weren’t alone in cheering for Carwin—the roar in that bar was deafening.
Of course, televised ass-kickery and camaraderie will only get you so far. And no, I’m not talking about beer, which of course this place has. I’m talking about dinner.
There are several clues pointing to the fact that the kitchen staff at Doc & Eddy’s take their jobs seriously. The croutons in my salad tasted homemade, and they had a pleasant garlic aroma. The house salad it appeared on was basic but not bad, and the Caesar salad was pretty good, with a thick, tangy, creamy dressing.
The Lobo burger was a thing of beauty. The meat was perfectly browned without being overcooked. Smoked bacon sparred nicely with cheese and green chile. More chile would have been nice, but in fairness I say that whenever and wherever I order anything with green chile. Likewise, the green chile stew had plenty of heat but could have used more flavor.
The so-called rib steak was a disappointment. For the money ($12) it was an OK value, but rib steak it was not. Six times I had to discretely spit unchewable chunks of sinew into my napkin. But the fries it came with lifted my spirits. They were skin-on, and the legit red chile they were drenched in was medium spiced with the occasional fleck of coriander.
Beer-wise it’s no microbrewery, but there are respectable options on the Doc & Eddy’s tap, along with a surprising array of mixed drinks. I tried the “mango madness,” which was perfumey and strong, though I felt kind of un-macho watching the fights while drinking it. Water comes in quart-sized glasses—a smart move, as it keeps the servers from wasting time on the designated drivers, while keeping everyone well-hydrated.
As you cheer the hometown ass-kickers, there’s enough red and green at Doc & Eddy’s to remind you that you’re home. The place has an unpretentious, genuine vibe that feels like a long-established neighborhood bar. Maybe everyone doesn’t know your name, but it’s pleasant, homey, friendly and tolerant—even to Brock Lesnar fans.