As a fixture in local networking groups MIX and the http://afterhoursalliance.wordpress.com/, Daniel Werwath’s opinion is highly sought (including by SFR, on occasion). He has some big ideas for revitalizing our local nightlife, so I’ve boiled them down into a few main points for y’all. It’s time to take action, Santa Fe.
“Santa Fe is between all these other touring destinations, but we want [musicians] coming here instead of Albuquerque,” Werwath says. “OK, so maybe they can make more cash in other markets, but Santa Fe is nice, and we can hook bands on that aspect.” Werwath believes the onus is on local businesses to offer perks (a few hours at Ten Thousand Waves, maybe?) and on local musicians to get out there and give Santa Fe a good name. “To use D Numbers as an example, these guys go out on tour and meet bands that might—or do—wind up heading to Santa Fe instead of Albuquerque,” he says.
Werwath is adamant about Santa Fe’s need for a new, mid-level venue. “We’ve got Sol Santa Fe [Stage & Grill], but I think it’s hard for people who don’t want to drink and drive to make it out there with any sort of consistency,” he says. Downtown Santa Fe also suffers from a lack of clubs (you know it’s true; most of you reading this frequent maybe like two or three) or, at the very least, a lack of variety within the clubs. “A space for 300 people that has a bar but is also all-ages would be amazing,” Werwath adds.
Werwath says St. Michael’s Drive is a top priority for change. Today, the corridor is a pedestrian death trap most downtowners avoid, but if Werwath and MIX get their way, more Santa Feans will look to the area as a hub for local nightlife. “There are these places like Second Street Brewery and Backroad Pizza that have done really well near [St. Michael’s Drive], so I think the logical step is to expand further into places like the strip malls,” Werwath says. “There’s a sea of parking lots over there that would be perfect for new businesses…I can only imagine what it would be like with music venues and coffee shops and things happening or people actually walking around in that area instead of quickly driving by without paying any attention.” Added bonus: The rent is cheaper.
It’s no secret that Santa Fe has a drunk driving problem, but the city’s “No fun for anybody” take on the issue hurts more than it helps. Werwath points to Resolution 2012-7, which limits special dispenser permits for alcohol to three per calendar year, as part of the problem. “Say you’re a gallery and you’ve got 10 openings in a year: How do you choose which three events will have the booze?” he asks. Nobody’s saying that every business/venue in Santa Fe should be throwing hedonistic orgies with waterfalls of liquor, but limiting special events for responsible adults because of the assholes who can’t just call a fucking cab is not OK.
“I want to mobilize people who are interested in nightlife in all its aspects…like 200 people working on varied projects that would eventually come together for a common goal,” Werwath says. “I get that people are discouraged by what we’ve got, but if we all work together, we can move mountains.”
Follow Alex De Vore on Twitter: @SFRsA_Sharp