News reports are casting dire predictions for singles. Americans are spending more time with their screens and, therefore, meeting fewer people, carving out less time to develop personal relationships, and … having less sex. Swiping left might be the new normal but, for many, the short attention span theater that has become our potential love lives is getting old.
In Santa Fe, we look up from our phones to squint at the azure sky, to appreciate the folds in an old adobe wall, to find inspiration in the skeleton of a cholla. Why wouldn't this be a place where we might actually take notice of people, too?
A good starting point can be through food, it being the fodder of the heart and all. Remember that chapter in Like Water for Chocolate where Gertrudis set the shower house afire, an innocent victim of the sheer passion simmering forth from the rosé sauce served by her frustrated sister Tita? Yeah, like that.
Good food is something we know well here in the city that never stops eating. If food is the great seducer, the bringer-together of people, the matchmaker of manna, then where in Santa Fe might you actually enjoy a good bite, or drink, and maybe even meet someone interesting? You know, like, face-to-face?
If you're the casual type, not into dressing for dinner and all that, Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery (2791 Agua Fría St.) might be a good spot to catch someone's eye over a cast iron skillet of sexy, brie-based mac 'n' cheese. On a recent night out, the crowd was boiling up beautiful people like a vat of queso, many of whom weren't shy of direct eye contact. A steady lineup of live music, beer, and cocktails might just be the perfect combination to put your pickup lines to work.
Another option is Second Street Brewery's Rufina Taproom (2920 Rufina St., 954-1068). It's an easy, low-maintenance joint, where you can roll in after a hike or a long day of work and know you aren't the only one keeping it easy. A simple introduction can be bolstered by the possibility of a shared basket of crispy, perfectly fried tots, a side of curry ketchup and a tall cold one.
If you're more comfortable meeting people from within the protection of a pack, artsy La Reina (1862 Cerrillos Road, 982-1931) may be your spot. Because it is the bar for El Rey Court motel, there are plenty of people traveling through, but its hip tequila and mezcal-based cocktail program also attracts many locals, particularly those of the mom-jean and man-bun persuasion. Grab your wing-people and get over there!
For lovers of home cooking, consider bellying up to the bar at Whole Foods (753 Cerrillos Road, 992-1700). Seriously. The exhaustion of navigating the parking lot can be mitigated with a beer from one of the 24 rotating taps or even a glass of wine. Here's your opener: "I just bought these Brussels sprouts but have no idea what to do with them. Any suggestions?" Wink. Smile. Cheers. Get cooking.
In the olden days of actual dating, connecting over a good cup of coffee used to be de rigeur. Perhaps it's time for a second press? Iconik Coffee Roasters (1600 Lena St.; 314 S Guadalupe St., 428-0996; Collected Works Bookstore, 202 Galisteo St., 988-4226) makes a mean cup, and its growing list of locations mean more places for lingering. Talking coffee shop might be a good way to brew up someone who shares your love of coffee, breakfast burritos and the written word.
If you aren't afraid of putting out a hand and asking for a dance—or accepting one—the always-hopping Cowgirl (319 S Guadalupe St., 982-2565) is a choice spot to find some live music and someone to kick up your heels with. The menu has something for everyone so it attracts all types, giving you lots of options for food and potential fun. If you have two left feet, you can always throw down some quarters in the billiards room and hope to take on someone good with their stick.
Despite the number of TVs adorning the walls, you might notice someone down the bar watching the same game and strike up a conversation at Boxcar (530 S Guadalupe St., 988-7222). Aside from being one of Santa Fe's friendliest local bars, its expansive menu and live music lineup also give you every excuse to stay long past the game.
If brews and burgers aren't your scene but crossfit and paleo are, try upping your heart rate in another way at Caveman Coffee Cave & Lounge (411 W Water St., 988-8042). You just might meet that someone special over an acai bowl or power smoothie and find yourselves sharing WOD war stories well into the night.
Lastly, if you find the whole Valentine's Day hullabaloo so ridiculous that you'd rather sit it out for a while, there's nothing wrong with giving yourself some love instead. It may be a cliche, but there a few things better than a good KonMari session with your closet, then hopping in a warm bath with a fine glass of wine. A couple of current favorites, both from the romantic, mist-filled valleys of Oregon, that can be procured locally include a Gran Moraine, Yamhill County brut rosé (try Susan's Fine Wine and Spirits, 1005 S St. Francis Drive, 984-1582) and the 2016 Siduri Willamette Valley pinot noir (Market Street, DeVargas Center, 600 N Guadalupe St., 982-4668). And who knows? Both the liquor store and the grocery store are great places to spark up an unexpected conversation.
All you have to do is say hi.