Something about sipping a boozy beverage with the sun high in the sky immediately catapults one into a vacation state of mind. If you need a mental break or an hour’s worth of staycation, spending some daylight with your favorite drink is a good way to get there. Remember to drink water, though—we’re at, like, a million feet in altitude here. Plus, you can’t get booze before 11 am on Sundays, so schedule that liquid brunch a little later.
Adelita's Mexican Restaurant
3136 Cerrillos Road, 474-4897 Opens at 8 am
Open since 1988, a trip to this longstanding authentic Mexican restaurant for lunch is a getaway in itself. The staff is super friendly and they serve a housemade ice-cold Clamato beer (as in, beer mixed with tomato juice and clam broth) that has a lovely tang ($6.95), and a massive house margarita ($6).
319 S Guadalupe St., 982-2565
Opens at 11:30 am
If you're looking for an early festive vibe, this is your place. The C-Girl patio seems perpetually packed in the summer, and they feature frequent live Americana, country and blues acts. It's the kind of place you have a crazy cocktail mashup of two things normally served separately, like a beer with a frozen margarita crammed in, otherwise known as the Lava Lamp ($6.50), made with the house frozen marg and a pint of Lagunitas Pilsner (or a pint of pineapple cider if you're in an island mood).
132 W Water St., 983-1615 Opens at 11:30 am
Santa Fe's flat roofs beg for rooftop bars, and when you find a good one (they're more rare than you'd think) you end up frequenting it. The seasonal bar atop Coyote Café is such a place. With an ideal bird's-eye view of the streets below, the people-watching is almost as eye-catching as the cocktails, which come in an impressive array of colors. They offer spicy twists on classics like the Norteño Margarita ($11) made with Hatch green chile-infused tequila. Bring a sunhat or some SPF with you—the mountain sun can bake this patio.
101 W Alameda St., 954-0320 Opens at 11:30 am
Looking for a quick guacamole and margarita? This is your spot. Spend $3.50 on the chips and dip and the rest of your $10 bill and meter change on the house margarita ($7), made with fresh lime juice. It comes in a shaker that basically fits two drinks' worth. That's what it feels like to indulge in a little slice of summer.
Gruet Santa Fe Tasting Room
210 Don Gaspar Ave., 989-9463 Opens at 11 am
It's never too early for a sip of something sparkling and this tasting room serves a variety of the local winery's bubbly. They have a dog-friendly outdoor patio with both shady and sunny seats and, if you want to feel extra-fancy, order a fizzy cocktail, like the Brut Blossom ($11), which comes with hibiscus syrup and a candied flower. Or stick with the classic mimosa ($11) with fresh-squeezed orange juice. Alas, if only it were bottomless.
Santa Fe Spirits Tasting Room
308 Read St., 780-5906 Opens at 3 pm
These locally made spirits are tasty. Their gin in particular has a floral, herbal tone and is more gentle on the palate than the normal stuff. Ever-changing specials are usually priced around $11, and in our last few visits we tried a lavender gin sour, which was impressively Instagrammable thanks in part to a single blueberry the bartender muddled in the drink and a tiny heart of lavender floating on top. We also tried the sandia cooler, made with fresh watermelon juice and gin, which was refreshing and light enough that one could enjoy two.
HQ Santa Fe
411 W Water St., 988-8042 Opens at 2 pm
HQ pours healthy flutes of Gruet and tops 'em off with OJ (yeah, it's Simply, not fresh-squeezed, but it's real) or magenta prickly pear juice. On Sundays they're half off. They also serve Bloody Maria micheladas ($8), made with a locally produced green chile spicy mixer concoction, a 12-ounce beer, lemon or lime and a salted rim.
Plaza Café Southside
3466 Zafarano Drive, 424-0755 Opens at 8 am
Stop in the Southside location of the downtown staple for a cocktail before you see a summer blockbuster across the parking lot at the Regal Cinema. If you're trying to make a matinee, the citrus bloody mary ($11) is a good choice, since it's like an acceptable daytime drink, or whatever. You could always be that person drinking a classic martini ($11) at 11:30 am. The Plaza also has La Cumbre, Marble and Santa Fe Brewing Co. beer options on tap.
Tesuque Village Market
138 Tesuque Village Road, 988-8848 Opens at 7 am
You'll hear conjecture about who serves the best margarita in Santa Fe, but it's this place. 'Nuff said. The Big Tesuque Margarita ($12) isn't cheap, but the pour is heavy and the juice is freshly squeezed. To be honest, we aren't really sure what the secret is, but they're unbeatable. Their green chile cheese fries are delectable, too.