Bar Review: The Salt Yard
 Alibi V.28 No.8 • Feb 21-27, 2019 

Restaurant Review

Carri Phillis’ New Nightlife Concept

Bring all your boys to the Salt Yard. And all your other people, too.

Green bar at Salt Yard
Can you tell why they call it the green bar?
Eric Williams Photography
Albuquerque nightlife doyenne Carri Phillis has done it again. The co-owner of Effex Nightclub and Side Effex Gastropub Downtown has brought a new concept to the city’s bar scene.

The Salt Yard, which held its grand opening on Jan. 19, offers everything from a swanky cocktail list to a choice of laid-back beer bars and patios where patrons can lounge with a brew, watch sports and play a game of ping pong, bean bag toss or Foosball. The outdoor games are great for keeping kids busy when you’ve got the whole family with you, too.

“We wanted a little of everything for everybody,” says Phillis.

It was little over a year ago that she opened Blue Agave Republic, a tequila and taco bar, in one part of a renovated development on Osuna near Arroyo del Oso golf course and Monroe’s restaurant. Phillis then began thinking about bringing new ideas to Albuquerque, some of them inspired by a visit to the ViewHouse bar in Denver.

“It was just a really cool concept with outdoor games, cabanas, outdoor bars and big screen TVs,” Phillis says.

She found a potential location in the former Matanza restaurant at Ellison and Alameda on the Westside. But there she would have had a long wait to get the necessary liquor license. When Devon’s wood-fired grill, the restaurant next door to Blue Agave, closed a few months ago, it presented the opportunity to create the new concept space using her existing liquor license. Phillis knew she had to take the chance.

She says the name “Salt Yard” just evolved from working with Ripe Inc., the company that produced their logo. It features a black dog holding a golf club in its mouth with the invitation, “Come, sit. Stay & play.” Ripe also developed the bird-like logo for Marble Brewery a few years ago.

Phillis admits that bringing the new concept to Albuquerque was “a leap of faith,” but the encouraging response shows how much entertainment lovers were ready for something like this. On weekend nights when there is a DJ playing music or if there is a big sports event, every bar is packed. Parking is available in front and behind the building and around the buildings on the west side. There is a bike rack area also available for those who opt to cycle to the bar.

The blue bar offers a spot for a sophisticated date night, with an extensive selection of tequilas and relaxed lounge seating. Or you can be comfortable in yoga pants and tank tops in the Side Yard, Main Yard, Grill and patio bars. Seating inside is mostly at high-top tables, with a few cozy lounge areas. Outside, the seating is comfy outdoor sofas. The red patio (as in, the patio with the red wall) has a fire pit for winter evening cheer.

All the bars are full service, offering cocktails, beer and wine. Cocktails start at $6 for a margarita, either a “classic” or a range of fruity alternatives. If you prefer something more old school, a Manhattan with Makers Mark will run you $10. An Old Fashioned made with Knob Creek Rye Whiskey is $12.

Beer lovers have plenty of choices on tap from craft breweries as well as major domestic and foreign beers like Bud Light, Dos XX, Heineken and Modelo. Most prices range from $4 to $8 for a pint.

Among the local craft beers available are Marble’s Dupy’s Dunkel, Santa Fe 7K, Bosque Scotch Ale and Bosque Elephants on Parade, all at $5. If you want something more adventurous, you can try Gouden Carolus Cuvée Van de Keizer Blauw, a Belgian strong ale (no kidding! It’s 11 percent alcohol by volume) $8 for a half pint.

strawberry margarita and tacos
Salt Yard’s strawberry margarita and tacos—try the chicken tinga and pork carnitas
Eric Williams Photography

You can also order food in any of the bars. The menu selection covers a range of shareable small plates, sandwiches, tacos and burgers.

Tacos are served on a corn or flour tortilla or Bibb lettuce. At around $3 each, it’s worth ordering two or three. I tried the pork carnitas (savory roasted, shredded pork with diced onion, cilantro and spicy verde sauce) and the chicken tinga (slow braised shredded chicken in spicy tomato chile sauce with red onion, cilantro, cotija cheese and cilantro lime crema).

The burger selection includes the Alpine ($11), with sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions melted aged Swiss and lettuce, and the bacon cheeseburger ($12), with smoked bacon, melted cheddar, lettuce and tomato. Vegans and vegetarians can opt for a vegan burger or bratwurst, both $12. Gluten-free buns are available.

If you just want something small, an order of fries is $3, onion rings or sweet potato fries are $4. Appetizers include fried, beer-battered pickles with ranch dressing for dipping ($7) and nachos layered with picante queso and spicy taco meat, smoked brisket or pulled pork, topped with pico de gallo ($9).

Salt Yard has open seating and does not take reservations by phone or online. However, if you want to reserve a space for a private event, you can fill out the form available on their website.

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6001 Osuna Rd NE
(505) 750-9273
http://thesaltyardnm.com

Hours: Mon-Thu 3-11pm, Fri 3pm-2am, Sat 11am-2am, Sun 11am-11pm
Vibe: Easygoing, with something for everybody.
Alibi Recommends: Chicken tinga tacos and margaritas