Film/Television Editor Devin D. O'Leary served as film/television editor at Weekly Alibi for 28 years. He wrote and produced four feature films here in New Mexico and has been the booker/host of Midnight Movie Madness screenings at Guild Cinema for 13 years.


Our city’s bars and nightclubs were among the hardest hit businesses during the pandemic, having spent most of 2020 with their doors closed and their sound systems silent. (In fact, it wasn’t until May of this year that they were allowed to open their indoor seating.) And so our city’s nightlife is like cracking open a box of long-lost treasures that’s been languishing in the attic. Suddenly, we’re remembering favorite neighborhood watering holes we used to frequent, tipping back coveted local brews we forgot existed and listening to beloved local bands we haven’t heard in ages.

Best Bar

Sister Bar has pretty much everything you could want in a bar. There are tasty cocktails and plenty of beer on tap. Their kitchen pumps out craveable comfort food. (Who doesn’t love tacos and tots?) The place is filled with pinball machines and video games. And there’s the occasional live music show to keep things hopping. Why, say our readers, go anyplace else?

407 Central Ave NW

1.) Sister Bar

2.) Anodyne

3.) Sandia Casino Sports Bar

Best Nightclub

Effex is, first and foremost, an LGBTQ+ club. And there are, undoubtedly, a few patrons who bemoan the heterosexual colonization of the place, particularly on weekend nights. But when you’ve got multiple floors of great dance music, a rooftop bar and a string of hot, international DJs spinning their way through the joint, it’s hard to keep crowds of any persuasion away.

420 Central Avenue SW

1.) Effex Night Club

2.) Salt Yard West

3.) The Library

Best Casino

Uncontent to rest on its laurels as the Albuquerque area’s “Best Casino,” Sandia has spent the last year pumping $100 million into business-wide upgrades—building a state-of-the-art third-floor sports bar, expanding the casino gaming floor and renovating the hotel’s already breathtaking rooms. The buffet and the spa remain closed, but the newly updated Bien Sure restaurant is expected to reopen soon.

30 Rainbow Rd NE

1.) Sandia Resort & Casino

2.) Isleta Casino

3.) Route 66

Best Comedy Venue

Unfortunately, despite its popularity with our readers, The Stage—the bi-level, Vegas-inspired nightclub nestled within Santa Ana Star—remains closed until further notice. That means no Standup Comedy Thursday Nights for the time being. But local comedians will, no doubt, have plenty of new material when the light goes back up.

54 Jemez Canyon Dam Rd

1.) The Stage @ Santa Ana Star

2.) The Box

3.) S4200 Sidewinders

Best Cocktails

Times like these often require … stronger remedies. The frequently rotating menu of original craft cocktails at Sister provides the kind of relief Albuquerque residents crave. Take, for example, the recent “Twin Peaks”-inspired selection of the Log Lady (gin, La Cumbre Elevated syrup, grapefruit juice), the Laura Palmer (vodka, cherry-lime syrup, cherry bitters) and the Dr. Jacoby (banana-infused rum, butter wash, orange blossom water).

407 Central Ave NW

1.) Sister Bar

2.) M’Tucci’s

3.) Happy Accidents

Best Sportsbar

The “entertainment hub” known as Revel boasts three different bars (and a bunch of restaurants to boot). In addition to Uptown Funk piano bar and The Lobby bar, they have Draft Day, a sports bar with 64 beers on tap and a 15-foot video wall. Sounds like the perfect place to cheer on your team of choice.

4720 Alexander Blvd NE

1.) Revel

2.) Spectators

3.) Saggio’s