The best staff is at Anodyne, according to Alibi readers. Theirs is a mellow vibe resulting from exposure to an array of awesome pool tables, potted plants, bizarre books, a jukebox that slays and good booze. A supportive client base also helps, apparently.
2) Tractor Brewing Company
Best Happy Hour
Savoy/Zacateca’s/5 Star Burger
Whether you’re in Old Town, Nob Hill or even out in Taos or Santa Fe, you won’t have to pay full price to get your drink on. Taste the $1 raw oysters at Zacateca’s everyday between 4-6pm or grab a local beer at 5 Star for $2 less and pair it with a BBX pork slider for $1.65. Swanky more your style? Try the delightful cocktails at Savoy seven days a week from 3-6pm, or stay for the extra happy hour on Friday from 9-10pm.
Best Dive Bar
Cararro’s Pizza/Joe’s Place
Cararro’s Pizza/Joe’s Place was the go-to bar for fun, food and hookups 20 years ago and today it retains the same louche ambience. The pizza’s still decent and there’re a variety of tevees (usually tuned into sports shows) available if socializing ain’t your thing. Filled with a variety of settings separated by twisty passages, at least two locations where liquor may be procured, and a collection of sloshy humans worthy of study and assimilation, Cararro’s Pizza/Joe’s Place is a classic Burque weekend destination. Write us a letter here and tell us if the grumpy dude in the Cubs hat is still tending bar.
3) Burt’s Tiki Lounge/Low Spirits
Best Rooftop Bar
Mixing heights and party time seem out of the question to some, but Alibi readers dig the experience. Follow the intentions of Alibi readers who choose the Apothecary Lounge atop Hotel Parq Central as their number one rooftop destination. Once you get up there, into the ether of the fourth story, it’s really something.
2) Hotel Andaluz/Effex Night Club
Best Swanky Bar
Zinc Cellar Bar
The Zinc Cellar Bar, winner in the Best Swanky Bar category, is in the basement of a building that contained, among other things, a vibrant bread and kindness based subculture that rose to prominence in Burque in the early ‘90s. The spirit of that intense experimentalism and bagel production still echoes through the cavernously elegant bar. It’s kinda weird yet comforting how there aren’t any windows down there.
2) Hotel Andaluz/Apothecary Lounge at Parq Central/Artichoke Cafe
Best Bar to Shoot Pool
The Anoydne is an anodyne. They have the most amazing set of pool tables, regulation style, done in dark red. There’re comfortable seating arrangements and excellent service surrounding those mechanisms of pure joy, luck and skill. What more can you ask for? The rates are reasonable, the equipment ace. Give it a shot, the surroundings are relaxing, the action fine.
2) Downtown Distillery/Billiard Palace
Best Place to Meet Singles
No Clear Winner
There was no clear winner in this category but it’s fair to say that all of Earth qualifies. One just has to keep one’s eyes open. Other humans are all around.
Best Patio for Day Drinking
It’s a good thing to know where one can go to tipple a few while the sun’s bright and the day seems to be drifting by in slow motion. Alibi readers chose Marble Brewery as their first stop on a daytime bender with patio overtones. Plus the joint features an “eminently quaffable IPA,” just the thing to while the hours away as work deadlines loom and then just seem to dissipate from the hop-scented air like so many bronze-colored butterflies. You get the picture.
2) Gecko’s Bar and Tapas (Nob Hill)
3) Kelly’s Brew Pub
Best Place for EDM
Effex has succeeded in bringing electronic dance music to Albuquerque in amounts and levels of intensity practically unheard of in previous years; there’s no doubt why Alibi readers and voters named the sizzling rave-up going on over there as the Best place to get down to the sound of EDM. If you need particulars consider the following: Effex brought stunning up-and-comers like Electric Daisy Festival Project winners Baewatch to town; they also feature local talent, as in Chris de Jesus and Connie Blyde.
2) El Rey Theater
Best Gay Bar
Effex Night Club
Albuquerque sports a number of gay bars, but truth be told, as gender barriers come down and equality for all becomes the order of the day across America and in Burque, the traditional gay bar—as well as prejudice and bigotry—may be going the way of the horse and buggy. But until then Effex is the place to get your gay on in these parts. It’s Downtown, it’s fabulous.
3) Albuquerque Social Club
Best Rock Bar
Launchpad, the winner of this year’s best live concert venue award, also slays in the Best Rock Bar Category. From legends like Meat Puppets and Stereolab to local luminaries like Leeches of Lore and Cryogenik, Launchpad is indeed the preferred method of Burqueños reaching out to the heavens for love, light and loud tuneage.
3) Low Spirits
Best Country Bar
Dirty Bourbon Dance Hall & Saloon
If two-stepping, boot-scooting and jamming to the sly sounds of electrified jugs, lap-steel guitars and plaintive vocalizations focused on tragedy, redemption and having a good time with cans of beer, are your ideas of a grand old time then follow the advice of Alibi readers who chose the Dirty Bourbon Dance Hall & Saloon as the premier Country Bar this side of Cedar Crest. With live music and dancing Thursday through Saturday, a good night is just a few bitter tears away.
2) Sidewinders/Caravan East
Best Sports Bar
The Uptown Sports Bar
The Uptown Sports Bar, conveniently located near the freeway as well as Coronado Shopping Mall and the always fascinating ABQ Uptown shopping complex, has been chosen as the best sports bar in Albuquerque. With a menu of delicious bar food, huge teevees beaming in the latest from the world of sports (with an emphasis on football and basketball), and a staff of professionally courteous servers who are interested in the same games you are, sports fans are sure to enjoy this homerun hotspot.
2) The Library Bar & Grill/Spectators Pub & Grill
Best Underground Concert Venue
Launchpad just can’t get enough love from Alibi readers. The winner of three custom-made BOB first place placards this year, Launchpad is where we saw the Melvins play early last week—and they fucking jammed. We bet if you asked Buzzo, he’d say they were an underground band, comparatively speaking. So it follows that Launchpad is the number one underground concert venue in the Duke City. That easy. And it rocks!
2) Gold House
The rooftop bar at Parq Central is certainly one of the most picturesque places in our city to imbibe (particularly during a lovely spring sunset). But Apothecary Lounge's rotating menu of seasonal cocktails (from the classic Prohibition-era Pink Lady to the house-infused chai rum-based Raj Sandanista) are mixed with an incredible selection of specialty bitters (from grapefruit to Aztec chocolate) giving them an edge on the competition.
2) Artichoke Cafe
3) Nob Hill Bar and Grill
Sadie’s of New Mexico
Whether you favor the Presidential Margarita (Sauza Tres Generaciones tequila and Presidente brandy) or the Midori Margarita (with a splash of Midori Melon Liqueur), Sadie’s is the perennial winner in this category. Down one or two while you eat your complimentary tostadas and salsa and wait hungrily for your shredded beef brisket enchiladas.
2) El Pinto Restaurant
3) Zacatecas Tacos & Tequila
Best Wine Bar
Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro
Well, it's right there in the name. We may not know a Segur Viudas Cava Brut from a Vietti Moscato d'Asti, but many of our readers do—and the folks at Zinc certainly do. Throw in some great food, lots of live music and a whole other bar (the Cellar Bar) in the basement, and you've got a one-stop shop for vino lovers.
2) St. Clair Winery &Bistro
3) Slate Street Cafe/Artichoke Cafe
Best New Mexico Winery
Casa Rondeña Winery
Located in lovely Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, Casa Rondeña offers more than just an impressive selection of hand-crafted local wines (from Viognier to Cabernet Franc to Rosé). The winery, built like a massive Tuscan villa, hosts tastings, picnics, weddings and is home to the exclusive, members-only 1629 Club.
2) Luna Rossa Winery
3) St. Clair Winery & Bistro
Best Local Wine
Gruet Blanc de Noirs
What's Blanc de Noirs, you ask? “Pale salmon in color, this full-bodied wine has a fine mousse and a creamy, rich texture”—That's according to Gruet, the long-standing (since 1984) New Mexico-based winery that specializes in “Methode Champenoise” sparkling wines—such as Blanc de Noirs. Sounds delicious to us. And to our readers as well.
Located conveniently (and rather expectedly) on Marble right near Downtown, this neighborhood hangout has become a serious institution, hosting bands, art shows and an endless parade of food trucks. The beers (from the hoppy but quite drinkable Double IPA to the spice-tinged White Out to the robust Imperial Red) are best downed on the brewery's large patio among a raucous crowd of people and dogs on a hot summer afternoon.
2) La Cumbre Brewing Co.
3) Bosque Brewing Co.
Best Local Cider
Tractor Brewing Company
Tractor's two local locations (Nob Hill and Wells Park) have an impressive selection of classic (Sod Buster Pale Ale) and seasonal beers (Goathead Hador Doppelbock). But it's the Brewery's hard cider that excites Alibi readers. It's a seasonal brew that comes in various apple and berry varieties, but we should warn you it's typically only available in fall/winter—so get moving!
2) Red Door Brewing Company
3) Boxing Bear Brewing Co.
Wayne Martinez, co-founder and head brewer of Red Door Brewing, has one of the largest breweries in town—an 11,000 square-foot space on Candelaria. He's also got some serious arms on him, so there's no way we're going to argue his position as Albuquerque's favorite brewmaster. Stop by some time and taste-test his Unhinged Cider, his Vanilla Cream Ale or his Bad Moon Ryesing Black RyePA.
2) Justin Hamilton
3) Brady McKeown/Ted Rice/John Bullard
Best New Mexico-Brewed Beer
La Cumbre Elevated IPA
Beer Advocate has this American-style India Pale Ale (100 IBUs and counting!) rated as a 96 out of 100. Hoppy, honey-colored and loaded with a pine resin punch, it appears to be the bitter beer Albuquerque craves. You can get it on tap at La Cumbre Brewing Co. (among other places), or in cans at your neighborhood liquor dispensary.
2) Marble Red
3) Marble IPA
Best New Mexico-Distilled Spirit
Left Turn Distillery Old Tom Gin
Back in 2013 Brian Langwell decided to live his dream and turned the machine shop he ran in the Duke City industrial irea into a craft distillery. Why not? His company's Old Tom Gin is based on a recipe popular in 18th-century England. It's sweeter than London dry gin, making it an increasingly popular ingredient in today's fancier cocktails—which may be why the distillate has floated to the top of this year's poll.
2) Distillery 365 Holy Ghost Vodka
3) Taos Lightning
Scalo Northern Italian Grill
The long-serving Italian restaurant in Nob Hill features fine food, a busy bar and weekly “Wine and Dine Social Outings.” It's also, according to our readers, got the most professional waitstaff. Not only are the men and women who work there fast, courteous and knowledgeable, but they wear nifty bow ties. Be sure to tip generously, people.
2) Artichoke Cafe/Rio Bravo Brewing Co.
Best Bar for Dancing
Effex Night Club
Downtown Albuquerque's lively, go-go dancer-enhanced gay nightclub is clearly the best place to get your groove on. The sprawling, tri-level building features several bars and several dancefloors on which to gyrate to the sounds of various EDM-dispensing DJs. The crowd has shifted from exclusively gay to something approaching an even mix of LGBT and heterosexual/cisgender these days. But no matter who they're dancing with, everybody's there for the thumping beats.
2) Dirty Bourbon Dance Hall & Saloon
Punky’s Place Karaoke Lounge
Located inside the venerable Silva Lanes bowling alley, this retro-tastic karaoke bar has got what you need—whether you want to sing along to ABBA or Beyoncé. Plus, it's open till midnight on Sunday and 2am Monday through Saturday. That's a whole lot of drunken warbling.
2) Louie's Pub & Grill
Best Strip Club
TD's North Showclub and TD's Eubank (our readers did not specify which was preferable) are the best in town when it comes to taking it all off. If you're looking for a high-quality erotic lap dance in the Duke City, TD's is the place. Lunch is free on Fridays and there's often some out-of-town touring talent to add to the roster of local gals working their way through college.
3) Fantasy World
Best Hotel Bar
If it's got the best cocktails in town, it stands to reason that Apothecary is also the best hotel bar in town. Hey, if you're too buzzed on Moscow Mules to drive home, you can always rent a room.
2) Hotel Andaluz
3) Q Bar (Hotel Albuquerque)
Best College Bar
Monte Vista Fire Station Restaurant & Bar
The Monte Vista Fire Station has gone through more changes than the UNM coaching staff. And yet it remains one of the favorites of the letterman crowd. Bar food, drink specials, loud bands and a rowdy crowd make for the perfect environment for blowing off steam, post-midterm. Just watch those stairs on your way out!
2) Carrarro’s Pizza & Joe’s Place
3) Brickyard Pizza
Best Place for a Three-Martini Lunch
Scalo Northern Italian Grill
Walk right past the fancy restaurant if you must. No need for fussilli bolognese today. There's a popular and professional bar full of bow tie-wearing waitstaff right in the back of Scalo. It's also got a open air outdoor patio—so if you want to consume that three-Martini lunch al fresco, you can. … But seriously, order some antipasto to go with those Martinis. Some marinated olives. A nice buschetta, at least.