There is no shortage of places to order a glass of wine or a beer on tap in Santa Fe. And we need those places. But a really good bar should also have really good cocktails, too. From Cosmos to Collins, good bars should stock good booze and know how to mix a mean drink. Here are our choices for some of the best in Santa Fe:
(*Full disclosure – we put ourselves on this list. It’s our blog, but we also feel we’re part of the conversation about Santa Fe’s burgeoning cocktail scene.)
If you’re looking for something a little different from you standard bar, Santa Fe Spirits Downtown Tasting Room is it. Step through the front door and it’s like you’re in someone’s living room. It’s quaint, relaxing and the cocktails are damn tasty. Santa Fe Spirits only sells the stuff it makes, which in this case is a good thing because their stuff is delicious. The cocktails are creative, well executed and cover a range of tastes – from Cosmo to whiskey neat.
Secreto is known for its creative cocktails and master mixologist Chris Milligan. If you want something creative, this is the place. But it’s also a nice place to have a quiet drink downtown, even if it’s a beer or a whiskey on the rocks.
Agave, inside the Eldorado Hotel, is a swank space that is modern yet comfortable. They have an extensive wine list and impressive selection of whiskies, too. Most impressive, however, is their happy hour. For about $10, you can get a drink and an appetizer from the happy hour menu – impressively it runs until 7 every night.
Del Charro is regularly in the running for best margarita in Santa Fe. That’s no small feat in a town where everyone claims to have the Holy Grail margarita. This place is always busy with a nice mix of locals and tourists, yet the vibe is pretty laid back. You’re just as likely to see someone drinking a draft beer as a fancy sherry/apple brandy cocktail.
This small boutique hotel just off the plaza has a quaint bar that has been quietly making some of the best drinks in town for years. James Reis is another standout bartender in Santa Fe and he lets his drinks do the talking. This is a nice place to rest after perusing the vendors at Palace of the Governors, or before your dinner reservations.
Most of the places on this list are quiet places to enjoy a good drink and conversation. El Farol is not that, and that’s a good thing. This is a great place to watch some Flamenco dancing or live music, maybe dance with your partner, and then enjoy a cocktail. There’s a reason this place has been around for decades.
Junction is a bit of an anomaly in downtown Santa Fe – a sports bar. It also has parking, chicken wings and is open late, which has made it the go-to destination for Santa Fe’s downtown restaurant and bar workers. They have a good tap list and serve some good cocktails, too.