Alibi V.20 No.18 • May 5-11, 2011 

Aural Fixation

Nob Hill Night Life

A little something for everyone

Swingin’ Meat
Swingin’ Meat
Lizzy Von Stange

After my last mission to find Downtown dance parties [“Aural Fixation: A Quest For Thursday Night’s Ultimate Downtown Dance Party,” Feb. 24-March 2] I was anxious for another adventure—this time seeking out Nob Hill’s live music scene and dance parties.

Swingin’ Meat
Swingin’ Meat
Lizzy Von Stange

On a Friday night I met a buddy for dinner and drinks at gastropub Gecko’s Bar & Tapas (3500 Central SE, 262-1848, geckosbar.com). It was already approaching 11 p.m., but no one in my group was interested in adventuring. Companionless, I zipped over to Scalo Il Bar (3500 Central SE, 255-8781, scalonobhill.com) next door to find The Alma Jazz Quartet, a group that’s been together since the ’70s. (These fellas also have another band—a Motown-style R & B act called Cadillac Bob & The Rhinestones.) Armed with an array of instruments including sax, trumpet, clarinet, drums, mini-upright bass and guitar, the quartet was cool and casual, and it fit Il Bar’s relaxed atmosphere wherein one could easily carry on a conversation. Although the patrons were mainly couples, there were a few loners like me.

The Alma Jazz Quartet
The Alma Jazz Quartet
Lizzy Von Stange

Next stop was Desert Fish (4214 Central SE, 266-5544, desertfishabq.com)—the former location of Sonny’s Bar & Grill. It was my first time visiting the new seafood restaurant and music venue, and the place has cleaned up nicely. Local newcomer Warship, an alt.country act (sort of like Uncle Tupelo with a harder edge), had the stage. Sam Miller, lead vocalist of departed local Jenny Invert, acted as the band’s guest bass player. The crowd again consisted of couples, a large group of friends of the band and a few stragglers like myself.

Boozy revelers
Boozy revelers
Lizzy Von Stange

Next I ran off to Monte Vista Fire Station (3201 Central NE, 255-2424) where there was an unexpected line at the door. Swingin’ Meat had the crowd dancing to flirty and fun rockabilly—they were loving it.

I crossed the street and entered Nob Hill Bar & Grill (3128 Central SE, 266-4455, upscalejoint.com) where I found DJ Halcyon spinning ’90s hip-hop like The Notorious B.I.G., The Roots and Cypress Hill. This “upscale joint” was packed with your average frat types. I moved in to take photos of the enthusiastic crowd, members of which struck poses for me. I was even pulled onto the floor for a few songs ... I can’t resist a dance party.

Wanting more, I headed to Imbibe (3101 Central NE, 255-4200, imbibenobhill.com), the multi-nooked, rooftop-patioed cigar bar across the street, where I found a more sophisticated group grooving to a DJ. Imbibe has the best of both worlds: You can mellow out with a group of friends or get down with the girls.

By 1:30 a.m. the Nob was completely shut down, and there was no madness like Downtown’s end-of-the-evening scenario. But the true beauty of Nob Hill is that there are many options in close proximity, so if one spot doesn’t catch your fancy, you move on.