Sometimes you need an after-work tonic to erase the stress of the day, and by “you” we mean everyone. Thankfully, there are dozens of worthwhile happy hours in Albuquerque where you can get halfway to feeling great without paying full price for your drinks. Here are some of our favorites.
Matanza Beer Kitchen
The Matanza in Nob Hill (3225 Central Ave. NE) has one of the prettiest bars in the city, if you ask me. Which makes it a particularly pleasant place to spend a few hours (specifically, the few hours between 3 and 6pm). Matanza’s happy hour not only involves $3 local drafts and $5 blueberry basil margaritas that are sublimely tasty, it also comes with a whole menu of taco and dessert specials. You can get a taco flight (3 for $6 or 5 for $8) of any combination of the 20 different kinds of hard shell tacos they serve and be quite satiated for the price. It’s a wonder I don’t come here every evening.
This popular happy hour spot fills up fast, so get there early if you want a choice seat on the patio. From 4 to 7pm every day, Gecko’s (3500 Central Ave. SE) happy hour involves $1 off well drinks and $1 off all draft beers. Besides that, they have rotating specials for each day of the week, like 50 cent wings on Mondays, $5.50 burgers on Wednesdays, specials on local beers and liquors on Thursdays and a tap takeover from a craft brewery on the last Sunday of every month. A great spot to wind down with some friends after work.
We’d all go to Frenchish (3509 Central Ave. NE) every day if it were financially feasible, obviously. But since we all have finite amounts of money and since their fare is a little more pricey than we can justify eating on a daily basis, we go to happy hour. Happy hour at Frenchish is from 5 to 6:30pm every day, and involves food and drink specials that will get your evening off to a great start. A handful of selected wines are available for $6 a glass and the aperitif du jour (always something tasty and interesting) is $7. There are specials on several small plates as well (carrot dogs, a slider, a “devilish” egg), and typically one or two seasonal entrées are on special as well. Another great thing about Frenchish? They have a whole list of non-alcoholic mixed drinks that are actually very tasty.
Zinc Cellar Bar
The low-light, intimate bar on the basement level of Zinc Wine Bar and Bistro (30009 Central Ave. NE) is one of the classiest date nights in the city. Their happy hour, which is from 4:30 to 7pm every day, includes food and drink specials that rotate each day of the week. Show up on a Wednesday evening for 20 percent off a bottle of wine and a free little charcuterie plate. Though the food menu is smaller (more small plates and bar food than large entrées) than at the restaurant proper, the prices follow suit. There’s often live music down here, so keep that in mind if you don’t want to have to yell to your drinking companions.
Tacos and margaritas are always a great way to start off a weekend. Zacatecas (3424 Central Ave. NE) has got you covered for that Friday fix, and for every other day of the week, too. From 4 to 6pm the Nob Hill bar and restaurant delivers $2 off cocktails, tacos and selected appetizers, as well as $1 off drafts. With such an extensive margarita list and shelves upon shelves of top-notch tequila and whiskey, you might find this spot becoming a summer favorite.
The Copper Lounge
The Albuquerque standard at Central and Maple has been serving drinks to the masses for many years, and its cocktail menu got a very appealing facelift in the past year. From 3 to 6pm every day, The Copper Lounge (1504 Central Ave. SE) serves up $4 drafts and $5 cocktails, which is about as good a deal as you’ll find anywhere. There’s plenty of tasty burgers and bar food options for you to soak up that liquor, too.
How could we not mention this Downtown gem of a bar? With a killer food menu (that’s surprisingly vegan/vegetarian friendly) and a list of beautiful cocktails, Sister (407 Central Ave. NW) is a great spot for either a relaxed lunch or late night dancing. Their happy hour, which is from 5 to 6pm every day, means 50 percent off all their fries and tater tots (get the kimchi cheddar tots, they are stupid good), rotating specials on draft beers and a daily cocktail special. Roll in on a Tuesday for $2 tacos and Tecates all day.