Some exceptional days aside, there’s not much better than eating outside on a summer evening in Albuquerque. The gentle warm air blowing by, the rainbow cascade of a sunset filling the sky, drink in hand while celebrating the beauty of life with a friend and a good meal. For many restaurants, outdoor dining isn’t as simple as just having a big patio you can throw everyone out on to enjoy. Some establishments have had to get creative, using the sidewalk as a way for people to utilize that space and get that Vitamin D in. Last month, with the passing of the IDO (Integrated Development Ordinance)—which included the requirement that all outdoor seating had to have some form of a barrier between it and the sidewalk—that dream looked like it was going to fade.
Thankfully, Mayor Keller stepped up to the plate, offering a reprieve to many who felt this wouldn’t be a viable change they could make in time for summer. “We’re working to make some changes to the IDO as it was written under the previous administration and until that happens, we’re delaying the enforcement of this requirement,” stated Mayor Keller. “It’s an unnecessary obstacle for local businesses that offer great outdoor seating. We’re siding with businesses and folks who want to enjoy this kind of atmosphere in Albuquerque.”
This means we have freedom to enjoy our outdoor dining without the need for fences and such to keep us split from common folk traversing the concrete paths outlining our streets. For now, the only thing keeping us from them is hope and illusory walls in our minds, allowing us to feel superior in our seated forms versus their walking ones, if only on an internal level.
This is a huge win for local restaurants who can’t afford a full patio build-out, or don’t have the space necessary to make that happen. Allowing them the opportunity to offer outdoor seating is something that gives people a reason to visit and enjoy our city’s food, while also letting them get the best of New Mexican nights.
So what does this mean for you? It means we have to keep this ball rolling. We have to get out there and enjoy our burg’s patios as best we can. Time is running out! We’re almost halfway through July and the nights aren’t getting any longer. Here’s a list of the best ways to enjoy a summertime patio.
• Drinking In Fading Sunlight
The joy of a sunset is the sheer beauty of it, washing over the land, a wave of prismatic color unlike anything you’ve ever seen. What better way to complement that feeling than with the unbridled joy of a cold drink in your hand? The soft loving hug that alcohol brings to your body and mind adds a mellow sense of joy to the scene as a whole. With the proliferation of outdoor drinking areas available to you, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a space to enjoy the sunset with a cosmopolitan in hand, living your best Gatsby life.
• Surrounded By Friends
What is the joy of life if it’s lived alone? The true gifts and treasures we have are the friendships we make along the way, if children’s movies of the ’80s are to be believed. So we hunt down the best folks to share in our life dreams and goals, creating an environment where we feel fulfilled, offering pieces of ourselves to others to help them reach their own goals and feelings of happiness. So pull together a group of your best besties and steal six tables to make an insanely long and uncomfortable mega-table. You can enjoy a conversation with someone seven seats down by yelling at the top of your lungs, because moving is so inconvenient.
• Smoke a Big ‘Ol Cigar
Did you know that Cubans have a longer average life expectancy than Americans? While gun crime statistics here certainly help bring our numbers down, the truth is, Cubans have found that stress-free living and relaxation is good for the body and soul. Included in this is the philosophy of having a cigar to destress. If you avoid chain-smoking them, the occasional cigar has been shown to help reduce stress levels dramatically, according to a study I conducted during my last emotional breakdown. If it’s a smoker-friendly patio, and you’re not having Swisher Sweets (you’re not 19 anymore, get a Romeo y Julieta), snip off the end of one of those bad boys and let yourself take an hour-long smoke break. Live like the ’70s Disney villain you’ve always dreamed of being.