In the Midnight Hours…

Nightlife-MeowWolfe-LK_MG_8232Santa Fe is notoriously known as a sleepy little town, lacking in options for late-night revelry. “They roll up the sidewalks at nine p.m.,” the joke goes. But Santa Fe is shaking off that reputation with plenty of places to shake it on the dance floor, belt out karaoke or take in a show. Believe me, there are places to have fun into the wee hours of the morning, if you know where to look.

Visitors and recent transplants to Santa Fe, here are some ideas on how to spend your midnight hours in our not-so-sleepy town!

Uniquely Santa Fe

Among the state’s most-instagrammed locations, Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return has been called a combination of children’s museum, art gallery, jungle gym and fantasy novel, but that doesn’t really capture it. It’s really something you have to see for yourself––it is truly indescribable and highly regarded as a must-see for any visitor. But here’s something you may not know about the wildly creative art installation: At night, it transforms from a child-friendly playground into a psychedelic—and much more grownup—concert venue. Meow Wolf stays open late when there’s music, sometimes as late as 2 a.m., depending on the show. You can delight in the elaborate House of Eternal Return and enjoy the current band or DJ—all sans the rug rats.

Meow Wolf: hours vary during shows; 1352 Rufina Circle, 505.395.6369, meowwolf.com.

 Nightlife-Flamenco-DSC_4097El Flamenco is a performance venue that pays homage to the Spanish influence in Santa Fe’s tricultural melting pot. It features flamenco dancing as well as other artistic disciplines, including Spanish guitar and Native flute. Shows start a little on the early side, but it’s well worth it to experience the passion and vitality of flamenco. The intensity of a skilled flamenco dancer’s rhythmic stomping and twirling is sure to get your heart pounding, too.

El Flamenco: open at 6:30 p.m., shows start 7:30 p.m.; 135 W. Palace Ave., 505.209.1302, entreflamenco.com.

A Santa Fe speakeasy revival is underway at The Coyote Den, Coyote Cantina’s after-dark counterpart. The newly reopened nightclub offers pre-prohibition and champagne cocktails in a vintage-inspired, candlelit atmosphere. With smoked-out glass, a secret code and a hidden entrance accessible only to those who know where to look, the location is lush, sultry and feels just a little forbidden.NightLife-cognac-CoyoteDen

The Coyote Den: open Monday through Saturday until at least midnight; 132 W. Water St., 505.983.1615, coyotecafe.com/den.

Get Your Groove On

These local watering holes are ideal for kicking up your heels (or kicking them off) and dancing the night away.

A longtime staple with the tourist set, Cowgirl’s atmosphere is a fun and kitschy take on Southwest ranching culture. Their welcoming patio frequently features live music, and their affordable (by Santa Fe standards) drink specials make Cowgirl popular among locals as well.
Cowgirl Santa Fe, open Sunday through Thursday until 11 p.m.., Friday and Saturday until midnight; 319 S. Guadalupe St, 505.982.2565, cowgirlsantafe.com.

La Fiesta Lounge is an intimate lounge with a small dance floor and outstanding table service housed in the prominent La Fonda on the Plaza hotel. They have live entertainment every night of the week and excellent margaritas.
La Fiesta Lounge: open daily till 11 p.m., 100 E. San Francisco St., 505.982.5511, lafondasantafe.com.

One of the newest clubs in Santa Fe, Casa España boasts a glamorous venue with historic appeal, as well as live entertainment early in the evening and DJs until 1 a.m. It’s a members-only club, so entry is exclusive. It’s restricted to guests at Heritage Hotels & Resorts in Santa Fe and Taos, and those who have purchased a membership, though they do occasionally run specials for non-members to gain entry with a nightly cover.
Casa España: Friday and Saturday until 1 a.m; 321 W. San Francisco St., 505.988.4455, eldoradohotel.com/casa-españa.

Tiny’s is a relaxed, friendly late-night lounge that always guarantees a fun time, with music and dancing until at least midnight every night except Sunday. It’s one of the hottest karaoke spots in town, too!
Tiny’s: open till 10:30 p.m. Monday, 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, midnight Wednesday, 12:30 a.m. Thursday, 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 5:30 p.m. Sunday; 1005 S. St. Francis Dr., Ste. 117, 505.983.9817, tinyssantafe.com.

A historic saloon with a fascinating history, the Palace Restaurant and Saloon features a mix of live music and karaoke nights. It’s one of the most frequented spots in Santa Fe, with a sizeable crowd turning out pretty consistently.
The Palace Restaurant and Saloon: open Tuesday through Saturday until 1 a.m.., closed Mondays; 142 W. Palace Ave., 505.428.0690, palacesantafe.com.

Or Just Relax

These establishments tend to be a little more quiet with no live entertainment, but they are perfect for chilling out and unwinding.

Secreto Lounge embraces the farm-to-glass movement with a focus on finely crafted, inventive cocktails and seasonal ingredients. The small space can fill up fast and the crowd often spills out onto the covered streetside patio, which is lovely when the weather is pleasant—and even in the rain.
Secreto Lounge: open Monday through Saturday until 11 p.m., Sundays until 10 p.m.; 210 Don Gaspar Ave.; 505.983.5700, secretolounge.com.

The Dragon Room has been named one of the top bars in the country, but still somehow flies under the radar much of the time. It’s a brightly-painted little adobe interior with trees growing right through the barroom. How much more Santa Fe can you get?
The Dragon Room at Pink Adobe: open Tuesday through Sunday until 11 p.m.; 406 Old Santa Fe Trail, 505 983.7712, thepinkadobe.com.

Low ‘n Slow gives a nod to lowrider cars, a fascinating subculture that began right here in New Mexico and has since gone global. The bar itself emphasizes mixology, with speciality cocktails served up in a car-themed environment.
Low ‘n Slow Lowrider Bar: open daily until midnight; 125 Washington Ave., 505.988.4900, hotelchimayo.com.

Keep the party going… and going…

If you’ve still got energy after a day of wining and dining, please let the rest of us in on your secret. For those unstoppable night owls, the latest of the late-night carousers, these Santa Fe hotspots are open until 2 a.m.

If you’re looking for a crowd, Boxcar is usually pretty hopping on the weekends, especially when they “go clubcar” and host DJs like DJ Dynamite Sol. Its Railyard location and broad appeal means it can be hard to get a table or even squeeze in at the bar, but Boxcar’s clientele does represent a wonderful cross section of Santa Fe locals and visitors.
Boxcar: open Monday through Saturday until 2 a.m., Sunday until midnight; 530 S. Guadalupe St., 505.988.7222, boxcarsantafe.com.

From its Zozobra wall art to its Day of the Dead bathroom tiles, the quirky character of New Mexico culture is visible everywhere in CrowBar. But even if it weren’t so endearingly funky, CrowBar is worth a visit just for their Basil Mule. Betcha can’t drink just one.
CrowBar: open Monday through Saturday until 2 a.m., Sunday until midnight; 205 W. San Francisco St., facebook.com/Crowbarsfnm.

Many a late-night tale in Santa Fe starts out tame, only to take a turn with the phrase “and then we went to Matador…” It’s fairly infamous as one of Santa Fe’s diviest bars. It has no website, no official Facebook page, a barely visible sign, heck, there isn’t even a credit card machine. It’s dirty, it’s divey, but it never pretends to be anything else. It’s a great place to make questionable decisions, and the bathroom graffiti is a wonder to behold.
Matador: Monday through Saturday until 2 a.m., 116 W. San Francisco St., 505.984.5050.

A true survivor in the Santa Fe bar scene, Evangelo’s Cocktail Lounge has been in business since 1971—no small feat in The City Different. Today, it remains a favorite among Santa Fe locals, and is known for outstanding live music (upstairs and down) an average of five nights a week. Like the Matador, they are cash-only.
Evangelo’s Cocktail Lounge and The Underground at Evangelo’s: Monday through Saturday until 2 a.m., Sunday until midnight; evangeloscocktaillounge.com.

 

Of course, these late nights may leave you a little worse for the wear, but don’t worry, we Santa Feans have a tried and true solution for the morning after: Fix yourself up with a big New Mexican breakfast—the spicier the better. So there are no excuses for an early night—we’ll see you out on the town!

Story by Melyssa Holik


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