Bob: The High Life

Best Bar Staff

12 min read
Best Gay Bar and Best Bar for Dancing: Effex (Eric Williams
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Generous, capable and attractive, the staff at Sister will chat you up or leave you alone, depending on your happy hour mood, and they won’t lose their shit when the bar is three-deep at midnight. Sister puts their servers through rigorous special training in the whole eye contact thing to ensure great service. Same psychic bartender school Anodyne sends their people to. It is also universally agreed that Sister’s cadre of door guys are of the highest caliber. (GP)

2) Anodyne

3) Tractor Brewing Co.

Bob: The High Life Best Dive Bar

If you ask us, the ’dyne is pretty swank—but we asked you, and once again Alibi readers voted Anodyne best dive bar. Allow this former customer of the long-gone Zodiac to reminisce about the rotary phone on the end of the bar there; the phone was available for use by patrons and Central Avenue prostitutes alike, who, for that matter, would offer their services in the Zodiac’s bathroom. Admittedly there is a dearth of dives in the once steadfastly lowbrow Duke City; even West Central’s Ski-Hi Lounge has closed its doors. But hey, Alibi readers (as John Waters once said) have faith in their own bad taste. Thusly is Anodyne Burque’s Best Dive Bar. (GP)

2) Joe’s Place/Carraro’s

3) Low Spirits

Bob: The High Life Best Swanky Bar

Though technically a private club, anyone can drink at ArtBar and be surrounded by theater people and artists while lounging on plush furniture under scientifically swank lighting. Perhaps most importantly, it has a very high ceiling. The runner-up in this category prompts the question “Is a steak house really a steak house without a swanky bar?” Not according to runner-up Vintage 423, who have laid down all the right, cool textures and velvety lighting to ensure the S in “swank” stands for synesthesia. (GP)

2) Vintage 423

3) Apothecary Lounge/Sister

Bob: The High Life Best Gay Bar

Being voted number one gay bar in Albuquerque is no mean feat, but Effex seems to have a lock on this category since opening two years ago. Effex also has a lock on the music volume, which is loud enough to be heard in Grants. This might be a good time to point out that since bronze medalist ASC is, in fact, a “club,” patrons may light up inside. That may be good or bad, depending on your proclivities, but there’s no denying that it’s novel these days. (GP)

2) Sidewinders

3) Albuquerque Social Club

Bob: The High Life Best Rock Bar

With expert sound engineers and great acoustics, Sister makes the most inexperienced local band feel like royalty and easily provides famous rock stars and MCs the kind of venue they expect (but don’t always find) on tour. In a town starved for real backstage areas and green rooms, Sister brings it … complete with a shower and clean towels. In only their second year of business and competing in their second Best of Burque, Sister handily beat out perennial winner Launchpad as the best place to see live music in ABQ. Ain’t nothin’ gonna stop the rock tonight. (GP)

2) Launchpad

3) Low Spirits

Bob: The High Life Best Country Bar

Large dance floor? Check. Big stage? Check. Mechanical bull? Check. More cowboy hats than you can shake a stick at, tight jeans, whiskey, belt buckles, boots? Check. Gingham dresses, overalls and pitchforks, bales of hay and Roy Clark? No, that’s “Hee Haw.” Kentucky-fried Burqueños choose Dirty Bourbon as their closest-we’ll-get-to-Nashville club year after year. Lets all take a moment to reflect on second prize winner Low Spirits’ motto: “We give a rat’s ass about bluegrass.” Enough said. (GP)

2) Low Spirits

3) Sidewinders

Bob: The High Life Best Sports Bar

There’s a thing about sports bars. Most people assume you have to be a sports fanatic to really enjoy fine-ish dining and a good brew. That’s simply not the case. When it comes to a good sports bar, all you need is a good variety platter (cheese sticks, anyone?) and a cold beverage to feel at home … or at least a little socially lubricated. And Uptown Sports Bar & Grill was Burque’s pick for the place that has it all … or at least a good, stiff drink. Game on! (ML)

2) Sneakerz Sports Bar

3) Billy’s Long Bar

Bob: The High Life Best Cocktails

When 4pm rolls around and you want an extra dirty, dry Stoli martini, you head for the heavy-pouring upstairs oasis at 409 Central NW. It’s easy to have one too many when nearly every mixed drink known to man tastes as delicious as they do at Anodyne. But don’t worry, you’re among friends. Besides once the sun sets, it’s too dark in there for anyone to see you drunkenly hitting on a coworker. And kudos to bartender Erin Rose (recently relocated to Oakland, Calif.), who lovingly crafted second-place winner Sister’s unique and delicious house cocktails, all of which have something distinct about them that you won’t find anywhere else. (GP)

2) Sister/Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro

3) Apothecary Lounge/Nob Hill Bar & Grill

Bob: The High Life Best Brewpub

Albuquerque is internationally famous for its craft beer scene for good reason, and Alibi readers have a bevy of local brewpubs to choose from. With its outdoor stage and bonhomie atmosphere, Marble’s award-winning beer goes down smoothest among Alibi readers this year. Mmmmm … Beer. (GP)

2) Tractor Brewing Co.

3) La Cumbre Brewing Co.

Bob: The High Life Best Bar For Dancing

When it came for voters to choose where to bust a move, Effex was the proud contender. And I can attest to this as I, myself, have graced their dance floor while a DJ played mixes of Robyn and Whitney Houston, and muscled men in briefs danced on the bar. At least it made the wait for a simple whiskey sour less tiresome. But don’t worry, two-steppers, your lovely Dirty Bourbon snagged second. Not bad, eh? (ML)

2) Dirty Bourbon

3) Sister

Bob: The High Life Best Happy Hour

What is the happiest part of happy hour? Is it the discounted booze? Is it the fact that it’s the hour directly following whatever hour is quitting time? Perhaps it’s the ease with which one can rationalize earnest drinking as early as 3pm? (We’re looking at you, Blackbird, and thank you.) Whatever it is, Burqueños agree to meet in front of Zinc promptly at 5pm. (GP)

2) Anodyne

3) Blackbird Buvette

Bob: The High Life Best Karaoke

Some folks are deadly serious about their vocal rendition of “Islands in the Stream.” Some have no shame about butchering The Doors’ “Touch Me” by singing it like Walter Brennan. Some of us just like to watch. For whatever reason, bowling alleys across Albuquerque (and the nation) will forever be associated with karaoke. And every year the karaoke hosted by Ed’s Pub inside Leisure Bowl is declared the best by Alibi readers. (GP)

2) Retro’s Bar

3) Silva Lanes

Bob: The High Life Best Bar Decor

Reputed to have the longest bar in New Mexico, perhaps the coolest thing about Sister’s décor is that it changes slightly from time to time, with large-scale art installations and murals coming and going. Currently home to pieces by Ernest Doty, Ian Norstad, Kyle Erickson and a “Cabinet of Curiosity” by Lance McGoldrick and David Cudney, Sister also has endless dimly lit corner booths to get up to whatever you like to get up to in dimly lit corner booths. Burqueños also like outside couches. Sister has ’em. (GP)

2) Burt’s Tiki Lounge

3) Anodyne

Bob: The High Life Best Strip Club

With two locations and a rotating crew of lovely ladies from in and out of state, TD’s provides exactly what is necessary when circumstances conspire and you find yourself saying “Let’s go to the strip club.” We’re pretty sure that voters mean “best strippers” or “hottest girls,” but clearly TD’s also has the best (and hottest) cocktail waitresses in town as well. There’s also lobster and steak, though, so … nah, it’s the dancers and waitresses. (GP)

2) Knockouts

3) Fantasy World

Bob: The High Life Best Casino: Dining

You say “resort” and I’m there. I don’t care if it’s got inflatable mimes doing the shimmy. I’ll take on anything that at least has the image of upscale, since I’m so broke. So Sandia winning best casino dining is appropriate enough considering it’s got restaurants and eating stations galore. Just check out Bien Shur’s lemongrass pesto tuna or their buffalo tenderloin. It may be pricey, but as most would say, “The food alone is worth the trip.” Oh, and there are no mimes to scare you away. (ML)

2) Route 66 Casino Hotel

3) Isleta Casino & Resort/Santa Ana Star Casino

Bob: The High Life Best Casino: Slots

Sandia does it again. When it comes to slot machines, you have to be especially particular. Do you go for the noisy ones where you’ve gotta get three shapes in a row to churn out a dime or two? Or do you go for the ones with elaborate mind games that might garner you a flashy penny? Try ’em all because Sandia’s got ’em, which is why you guys voted them the winner. (ML)

2) Route 66 Casino Hotel

3) Santa Ana Star Casino

Bob: The High Life Best Casino: Poker

There’s nothing I love more than a friendly game of cards among comrades. But don’t mistake my kind demeanor. I’m a killer at cards. No prisoners, just the loot. And Sandia is one of the casinos where I’ve tried my hand at a little Black Jack and Poker. So if you’re down for a game of Texas hold ’em, you’ve come to the right place. And you should know, as you freakin’ voted them number one. Now put your money where your mouth is. (ML)

2) Isleta Casino & Resort

3) Route 66 Casino Hotel

Bob: The High Life Best Underground Concert Venue

Underground music venues in Albuquerque come and go like the seasons. The benevolent folks who host shows in their studios, houses or warehouses lose their lease, APD or AFD shuts them down, and sometimes they just get burnt out on the hassle. Nonetheless, when one goes down, there’s always a new one popping up to take its place. Alibi readers know Gold House for its consistent schedule—they throw a lot of shows. Until recently, Iron Haus was also a great (and more drunk and stoned) place to see both local and out of town acts. (GP)

2) Gasworks

3) Iron Haus/Spirit Abuse/Wagon Wheel

Bob: The High Life Best Pool Player (Billiards)

Some might say that since they have unlimited access to tables and enjoy a high profile in the community, door guys who work at establishments with pool have a bit of an advantage in this category. We say it couldn’t happen to a more deserving man with a stick—nor could Burque’s Best Pool Player have a more appropriate name. To clarify, Banks is the looming presence at the top of the stairs at Anodyne, and one of his coworkers is basically that pool table near his chair. (GP)

2) Enrique

3) Stinky Pete
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