You'll find a sea of bars in Santa Fe—from the divey and subterranean to the posh and uber-fancy. The alcoholic beverage is one of humanity's earliest creations, and easily one of its most impactful—but when the options are good just about anywhere, the service, the ambiance and the style becomes the selling point. We do this well, too, Santa Fe; we're a service town. So, when the drinkers come out to play, a select few bars usually top their lists. Here's how our readers voted:
Fires in the winter, sunroom action all summer, smooth, leather-backed chairs all the time and easily the most value you'll find in a margarita, Del Charro is a local fave for plenty of reasons. Perhaps it's the sports on the TV, the affordable food menu or the servers who remember you no matter how many years pass. Whatever your reasons for loving this bar, it's pretty much always packed. Check the massive marg list for over a dozen specialty versions, or try a signature drinks such as the Texas TIC (like an Irish coffee, just better) or the Oranje Smash (like a Creamsicle, only more awesome). Grab that burger on the cheap or share an order of the sweet natillas, all without decimating your wallet. Giddyup, cowpokes.
Inn of the Governors, 101 W Alameda St., 954-0320, delcharro.com
Boxcar rose out of the ashes of the former Catamount (RIP). In a relatively short time, it became the go-to for locals, service industry folk, music fans, diners, families and … wait a sec, Boxcar (Boxcar!) is actually awesome.
We're talking one of the most expansive food menus in town, killer bands like Red Elvises on the regular, tons of gluten-free options, fancy-ass steaks, delicious cocktails and plenty of local and not-so-local beers on tap right there in the Railyard.
Boxcar does holidays right, too, to which we can attest thanks to a particularly excellent Christmas Eve some years ago. For the vegetarians who like a good brew or stiff drink, there's nothing but good news. Add a sports broadcast on one of the hugest TVs in all Santa Fe bar-dom, plus ownership with a service pedigree who know how to take care of service folk. Oh, Boxcar, we love thee so.
530 S Guadalupe St., 988-7222, boxcarsantafe.com
Santa Fe Spirits Downtown Tasting Room
While we're talking Railyard, we'd be remiss not to mention the Santa Fe Spirits' Downtown Tasting Room. And what a glorious success story it is. See, the brainchild of Colin Keegan, the once-just-a-distillery is one of those homegrown success stories we all just love.
Founded in 2010, the little operation would soon expand outward, offering the nighttime goer-outers a place to sample from numerous spirits such as whiskey, vodka and gin. From an adorable adobe house on Read Street, they serve their wares, sometimes host music or readings and create signature cocktails for the glitterati. It's smooth, friends.
308 Read St., 780-5906, santafespirits.com