New Downtown music venue opens inside Hotel Andaluz
It bummed me out when La Posada de Albuquerque closed in 2005. The lobby bar was one of my favorite places in Albuquerque—it was an elegant, jazz-filled, brown-and-white respite from the Downtown riffraff, the flashing neons, the ill-fitting fashions and questionable taste in mechanical beats. Little did I know that four years later the 1939 building—New Mexico native Conrad Hilton’s fourth hotel, and first outside of Texas—would open anew, having been reinvented as green boutique lodging. Hotel Andaluz not only has 107 rooms and suites, but also a fine Mediterranean-inspired restaurant (Lucia), rooftop bar (Ibiza) and, as of the end of January, a live music venue called Casablanca.
Located on the ground floor of the building’s southeast corner, the space’s decor is touted as “industrial chic.” Archways mimic the original ones in the lobby but are instead sheathed in reflective metal. The lighting varies from modern to retro—multicolored, swirling fiber-optic tendrils act as a centerpiece and are flanked by ’40s-era streamline pendent lights. The overall feel is distinctly dance club, but the entertainment schedule indicates otherwise.
Latin act Nosotros, Tommy Gearhart’s jazz quartet, and Cuban groups César Bauvallet y Tradiciones and En-joy round out February’s highbrow live music schedule. Casablanca intends to keep the entertainment in the jazz, blues and salsa realms for now, but there’s talk of incorporating comedy, theater and country nights. The venue presently lacks a stage, though the addition of one is in the works. Casablanca opens on Friday and Saturday nights at 9 p.m. and admission is $10. How nice that there’s one more venue Downtown—it makes me wonder what else the hotel has up its sleeve.
125 Second Street NW, 793-3129