In Ed Wood’s infamous “worst movie ever made,” Plan 9 From Outer Space, there’s a surprisingly amusing bit of dialogue in which an airline pilot hits on a stewardess. “How about you and me ballin’ it up in Albuquerque?” he suggests. “Albuquerque? Have you read that flight schedule, boy?” she replies. “What about it?” he responds. “We land in Albuquerque at 4am,” she answers. “That’s strictly a 9 o’clock town.” Even back in 1957, Albuquerque’s nightlife was a bit of a joke. Despite the reputation, there are still some enterprising entrepreneurs trying to keep us awake past 9pm. At least on weekends. When they’re staying up past their bed times, here’s where Albuquerque’s night owls spend their time.
With its impressively large lineup of cocktails and beers, its time-sucking selection of nostalgic pinball machines and video games and its innovative menu of tacos and tots, this Downtown fave easily tops the list of best Burque bars. The cherry on top is the bar’s rockin’ schedule of local and and national bands. This month alone Baracutanga, Agent Orange, Viagra Boys and Supersuckers are among the performers hitting the stage.
- Sister Bar
- Apothecary Lounge
- S4200 Sidewinders
Having endured the pandemic and a multi-million dollar overhaul of its facilities, Sandia remains the king of casinos. Toss in the newly remodeled Bien Shur restaurant, a popular sports bar (see below), a top-rated golf course and a beautiful outdoor concert venue, and you don’t even have to set foot on the gaming floor to enjoy this local winner.
- Sandia Resort & Casino
- Isleta Resort & Casino
Somewhere along the line, the LGBTQ+ community discovered some sort of fountain of youth that allows them all to stay up partying until 2am. The rest of us haven’t closed out a bar since college. Our city’s hard partying crowd evinces a particular love for gay bars in this category, having voted both Sidewinders and ABQ Social Club (a.k.a. “The Soch”) into a first-place tie. Both Nob Hill venues prominently feature drag shows, fetish events and plenty of booty-shaking dance-offs. So if you feel a need to get your Duke City groove on, you know where to go.
- S4200 Sidewinders and ABQ Social Club (tie)
M’Tucci’s has slowly expanded into an empire here in Albuquerque, with M’Tucci’s Italian, M’Tucci’s Twenty-Five, M’Tucci’s Moderno and M’Tucci’s Bar Roma. For the sake of this blurb, let’s just concentrate on the newly opened M’Tucci’s Bar Roma in Nob Hill. On the current cocktail menu are such distracting libations as the Deep Eddy Grapefruit Mule, the Aperol Spritz, the Mezcaletti and something called “No Thyme to Yuz,” which we gather features thyme and yuzu citrus. As if those weren’t enough choices, there’s an oh-so-trendy speakeasy bar hidden in the alleyway behind.
- Happy Accidents
- Copper Lounge
Best Sports Bar
Sandia’s still-pretty-new Sports Bar isn’t your usual beer-and-peanuts sort of spot. It features 50 state-of-the-art televisions, a menu filled with pub faves, a stunning view of the Sandia Mountains and—should the pace of whatever game you’re watching slack off—a gaming area inside the bar.
- Sandia Casino Sports Bar
- Spectators and The Library (tie)
Best Comedy Venue
Longtime home to The Show, Cardboard Playhouse and the recently wrapped Funny Fiesta, the Box has been such an integral part of Albuquerque’s standup, improv and theater scene that the owners were recently able to purchase their longtime space at 100 Gold Ave. SW. Not only that, but they just added the Box Annex, an intimate cabaret space which will serve as the home to even more regular events, ensuring laughter in the Duke City for decades to come.
- The Box Performance Space & Improv Theatre
- The Stage @ Santa Ana Star
- Dry Heat Comedy Club