BOB: The High Life
Best Bar on the Westside/Rio Rancho
Whisque Mesquite Grill and Bar
Wow, you guys love large patios, mesquite grilled foods, oval-shaped bars and the smooth sounds of Steely Dan! The Whisque, which is endowed with all of these assets, is the best at serving these Westside needs.
Best Bar Staff
Burt's Tiki Lounge
Their bar can get mighty packed sometimes, but the Burt's Tiki Lounge staff will get your mystery draft and Mai Tai in a jiffy. Even when it's crowded, the bartenders still squeeze in some witty banter with their customers while seeing to it that everyone is taken care of. For their part, the bouncers make sure partiers play nice.
2) Anodyne, 3) Zinc Wine Bar and Bistro
Best Dive Bar
Burt's Tiki Lounge
Burt's Tiki Lounge, or "B Tiki Lo" as its sign would have you call it, has a number of dive bar must-haves, including all kinds of random crap on the wall, an eclectic mix of patrons and a men's bathroom covered in band posters and childish musings. Like any good dive bar, Burt's is a melting pot of cliques and cultures, and people feel comfortable within its walls.
2) Atomic Cantina, 3) Joe's Place (inside Carraro's)
Best Gay Bar
This Los Ranchos gay bar puts the ladies first, literally: Exhale describes itself as a "lesbian and gay" night club. It's also homo—er, home—to the king-licious DC Gentz, "L-Word" viewing parties on Sunday nights, the infamous Boop Karaoke (Wednesdays) and dance parties that summon the diva in everyone. Answer the call, girlfriend!
2) The District, 3) Pulse/Blu (R.I.P.)
Best Rock Bar
Other bars have tried, but it's darn tough to pry away the title of Best Rock Bar from the Launchpad. The staple of the Downtown music scene has a sound system bands and fans rave about, and it plays host to some of the best acts in the country. The only problem with the ’Pad is it's currently out of commission due to fire damage. Get well soon, Launchpad! Albuquerque misses you dearly.
Best Wine Bar
Zinc Wine Bar and Bistro
Maybe it's the crazy popular Wine and Cheese Night. Maybe it's the live bands. Or maybe people just like sneaking into the dark and cozy Cellar Bar like it’s a speakeasy. In any case, Albuquerque wine drinkers sniffing around for a Mer Soleil "Silver" Chardonnay or a Ruffino Reserva Ducale D'Oro Chianti like to point their proboscises toward this unpretentious Nob Hill eat-and-drinkery.
Best Sports Bar
Coaches Sports Grill
It doesn't matter if it's football, baseball, basketball or hockey, the best place to see the game is Coaches Sports Grill. The half-dozen big screens are complemented nicely by excellent drink specials and stellar noshables, and the staff will make sure your glass and your stomach are filled.
Best Bar for Dancing
Albuquerque's premier lesbian and gay nightclub takes the gold. Whether you're shaking your moneymaker, putting your back into it, getting low or just doing a half-assed version of the cabbage patch, you're best equipped to do it at Exhale.
Best Happy Hour
Garduños of Mexico
Wandering mariachis, complimentary appetizers from 4 to 6 p.m., a veritable south-of-the-border jungle of plant life and more flavors of Margaritas than you can shake Jimmy Buffet's mythical "lost shaker of salt" at: What more could you ask for during your post-work wind-down? ¡Mas cervezas, por favor!
Ed's Pub at Leisure Bowl
It's hard to quantify exactly what makes for a great karaoke bar. Dark, intimate and filled with cheap beer in plastic cups, Ed's Pub fills the bill well enough. But it's the clientele that makes for a memorable night of karaoke. One night at Ed's, we witnessed a skinny white dude in a mullet enthusiastically interpret Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back," after which an elderly drunkard tenderly warbled his way through Hank Williams' "Kaw-Liga"--both backed up by the clatter of 10-pins in the adjoining bowling alley. Sublime!