Coyote Café & Rooftop Cantina
132 W Water St., 983-1615
In Australia they have "bird bars," where imbibers ogle passers-by from behind panes of mirrored glass. Coyote Cantina may well be the Santa Fe version of a bird bar, where you can sip a cocktail while partaking in one of the world's favorite pastimes: people watching.
Perched above West Water Street, Coyote Cantina's drinks and decor are as colorful as a Mexican street market. Even on a rare cloudy day, Coyote Cantina still feels bright and cheery, a cacophony of colorful decor and murals by local artist Joerael Numina.
If all of the chairs overlooking the street are taken, it's just as fun a sight to pull up a bar stool and watch Coyote Cantina's bartenders piece together their vivid concoctions. House specialty cocktails ($12) include the inventive Farolito (reposado tequila, hot water, lemon, cardamom agave syrup and a flaming lemon wedge); the hard-to-resist Gentleman's Vice (a bourbon Manhattan, smoked in a decanter with cherry wood); and, for those with a sweet tooth, the Tranquillo (single-barrel Patrón anejo with vanilla poached pears and hot or cold caramel).
In winter, warm up with apres-ski specials (show your same-day ski pass) which include $5 well drinks, $2 Tecates and $5 house margaritas. All are nice with a hot basket of caramel-filled churros with chocolate sauce ($6). On a hot day, you can opt to cool down with a bucket of Coronitas ($14) or a Lava Lamp ($8), a frozen margarita combined with an ice-cold Dos Equis lager. Decisions!
Radish & Rye
505 Cerrillos Road, 930-5325
When news flashed around town in late 2018 that Radish & Rye was closing up shop at its homey space on Agua Fría Street, the groans of heartbroken Santa Fe foodies were palpable. As was the collective sigh of relief when we learned that Radish & Rye wasn't gone forever, it was just moving.
The new location within the Luna Center promises a rustic-yet-sophisticated setting for showcasing the fresh, farm-inspired fare and damn fine cocktails Radish & Rye has become known for. If margaritas aren't your thing, Radish & Rye might be.
Focused on bourbon, rye and whiskey, Radish & Rye's signature cocktails range from the dark and seductive Abuelito ($12) of Buffalo Trace, smoked dark tobacco, Carpano Antica and bitters, to the zippy Bourbon Punch ($15) with Buffalo Trace, cinnamon, amarena cherry, lemon and Amaro di Angostura.
If you're extra-fancy, try Pappy's Perfect Manhattan ($30) made of Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year, Routin vermouth and angostura bitters. Farm inspiration extends into seasonal cocktails featuring fresh-made shrubs ($12). Purists can choose from an extensive menu of bourbon, rye, Tennessee whiskey and American whiskey to accompany some of Radish & Rye's earthy delights such as smoked ribs with chipotle Carolina sauce and pickled cucumber ($14) or splurge on a grilled rib-eye with duck fat potatoes and house sauce ($48).
Inn of the Governors, 101 W Alameda St., 954-0320
"Santa Fe's watering hole" is a bustling Wild West bar consistently packed for a number of reasons. One, it's got a prime location. Two, because of this, the local color game is strong here—you're just as likely to rub elbows with a Legislative suit as you are a turquoise-clad tourist. Three, both the drinks and the food aren't just good, they're also affordable.
The specialty drinks menu is straight out of a Sex and the City episode (think green apple martini and cosmos) but the 14 margaritas are the stars of this cocktail show. Popular options include the Margarita Ahumada ("the smoky margarita," $11) made of Del Charro Patrón reposado, mezcal, Grand Marnier, grilled pineapple and sweet and sour mix; and the Agave Loco ($10) with pepper-cured tequila reposado, containing the oil of six varieties of peppers, Grand Marnier, house-made sweet and sour, and jalapeño slices.
There are plenty of food options to help soak up the tequila. Favorites include house-made potato chips with ranch ($4), Texas chili cheese fries ($6), and the stuffed green chile cheeseburger ($11.50) made of fresh ground beef stuffed with autumn-roasted New Mexico green chile and gorgonzola cheese, and topped with chipotle barbecue sauce, smoked bacon and house-made green chile relish.
Another highlight of Del Charro is that it's open until midnight most nights. If you've been out and about in Santa Fe and want to catch a late buzz (or perhaps a meal is wiser), Del Charro will keep the fire burning for you.