Believe it or not, there's more to Fall Crawl than just boozin' and rockin' out. A night of live music and even livelier cocktails requires a bit of sustenance in order to last through last call. Downtown has become a culinary hot spot in the past few years, and there are plenty of places to stop and get your grub on before heading out to hit the bars and hear the bands. You'll want to get there early to check out the scene anyway, so you may as well make a relaxing early evening out of a tasty outdoor meal before jumping straight into the fall fray. Be kind to your tummy and stuff it with some buffalo wings, a slice of pizza, a fresh Greek salad or an ice cream sundae before offending it with that extra shot of Cuervo. So try out a new Downtown eatery – the worst that can happen is that you'll be happier at the end of the night.
Atomic Cantina (315 Gold SW, 242-2200) Yes, Atomic serves bar food (burgers, sandwiches, wraps, etc.), but they serve pretty darn good bar food. In addition to fresh soups and salads, they also serve six different kinds of tacos, including fish, bacon, and fried artichoke. You can find nibbles, too, if you are looking for a smaller bite. The music and drinks go 'til late, but the kitchen closes at 9 p.m.
Central Connection Café (215 Central NW, 243-1186) This new café on Central between Second and Third Streets features fabulous focaccia sandwiches and coffee as well as beer and wine. This is a good place to go if you need some caffeine during the crawl, and with their free wireless Internet access, you can even send a regrettable drunk e-mail to your ex-boyfriend. Open until 10 p.m.
Cold Stone Creamery (First Street and Gold, 843-9456) "I'm smashed! I'm stuffed! I'm partied-out! But damn, I could use some ice cream!" We've all said it, and now you can live out that desire at this creamery just around the corner from the movie theater. With all the toppings imaginable and Cold Stone's signature cake batter ice cream, getting a scoop might be the best break you can take, drunk or not. Open until 11 p.m.
Conrad's (125 Second Street at Copper, 242-9090) Enjoy a low-key dinner at Conrad's inside La Posada Hotel. They serve dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. The music will be done by midnight, but the bar will stay open until 2 a.m.
El Chamizal (508 Central SW, 765-1900) Downtown needed a tasty and cheap Mexican joint, and now it has one. Tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and sopaipillas, are all good here. Open until 2 a.m. for the Crawl.
The District Bar and Grill (115 Fourth Street NW, 243-0003) Famous for its rowdy patio on the Fourth Street mall, The District's kitchen will be open until midnight. As far as dinner goes, this is a more expensive place, featuring dishes like grilled mango ahi and New York strip steak. They do offer salads and lots of appetizers, so sit down and enjoy the atmosphere. The bar stays open until 2 a.m., so if you don't eat at The District, you can still drink there.
Fresh Choices (402 Central SW, 242-6447) This pizza, pasta, soup and salad Italian buffet next to Nicks will be open until 2 a.m. It's fast, cheap and calm, so slip in here for a quick break from the craziness.
Lindy's Diner (500 Central SW, 242-2582) When you have been wandering around for hours and your willpower is low, it's easy to give in to diner food. Come on, sometimes a big plate of fried chicken or a green chile cheeseburger and beer (yes, beer) sounds like the best thing ever at the end of a long night. Who cares how many calories are in that chocolate malt? It's Fall Crawl. Indulge. Lindy's is staying open until midnight this year, so there's an extra hour to break your diet.
Maloney's (325 Central SW, 242-7422) Right on the Fourth Street mall, Maloney's is in the middle of the action. Although it feels more like a bar than a restaurant (dark, cherry wood décor, sports games on the TV), you can stop in here for pizza, grinders, burgers and desserts like the "mile high monster brownie". The bar is open until 2 a.m., but the kitchen will probably close around midnight.
McGrath's (330 Tijeras NW, 766-6700) Located inside the Downtown Hyatt, McGrath's peaceful, classy restaurant is a welcome haven from the crowds and will be open until 10 p.m.
Ned's Downtown Bowery (407 Central NW, 243-0364) Ned's is a really good place to eat before the big event. They serve tons of salads, sandwiches and gourmet burgers. They also have a huge bar and a signature margarita. The outside patio right on Central is also a plus. Open until 2 a.m.
Nick's Crossroads Café (400 Central SW, 242-8369) Nick's is one of those places that has everything: gyros, French dip sandwiches, green chile stew, even baklava. The well-located outside tables are going to be hard to snag, but you should be able to crash inside and get Greek specialties until 2 a.m.
NYPD (215 Central NW, 766-6973) Just what the crawl needs—a pizza joint with a great outdoor patio, big calzones, pints of beer and heaping bowls of pasta. They also have homemade Italian ice. Yum. Open until midnight.
Pearl's Dive (509 Central NW, 244-9405) A classic late-night eatery, this place is far from a dive. They have yummy appetizers, sandwiches and a delicious spinach, apple and Gorgonzola salad (get it with chicken!). You can get food until midnight, but the snazzy cocktail bar will be open until 2 a.m.
Ralli's (109 Fourth Street NW, 243-1093) This new bar/restaurant on the Fourth Street mall is open until 2 a.m. and serves the standard dinner fare. Ralli's offers southwestern cuisine as well as steaks, salads and a good selection of starters. Because of its big patio, Ralli's is a good place to hang out, drink a beer and watch the action.
Sauce/ Raw (405 Central NW, 242-5839) Walk into either place and order brick-oven pizzas, Italian antipasti (like tomato bruschetta and four cheeses with fruit), calzones and a variety of salads. The kitchen is open until midnight, and the bar stays hoppin' until 2 a.m.
Sushi King (118 Central SW, 842-5099) Close to the movie theater, Sushi King is a casual spot good for an Asian bite in the middle of the night. Inside, you can find a trendy and comfortable interior, and scrumptious nigiri and special rolls. Try the New Mexico roll with green chile tempura! They also serve five flavors of mochi ice cream, the best being the sweet green tea. Wake yourself up with wasabi until 11 p.m.
Thai Crystal (109 Gold SW, 244-3344) Not in the mood for diner food or pizza? Check out this appealing Thai restaurant in the Century Theatres building. How about a zesty green curry or a peanutty pad Thai? Or maybe pineapple fried rice served in a pineapple? Open until 11 p.m.
Tucanos (110 Central SW, 246-9900) Carnivore heaven. Tucanos serves some of the best meat in town, Brazilian style. That is, they roast everything from sausage to top sirloin to pineapple and bring it around to your table until you tell them to stop (or explode, whichever comes first). Don't forget the amazing salad bar. Open until 11 p.m.