There’s a wide varieties of nightlife experiences, from punk clubs to sophisticated establishments sure to impress any date. Here’s a cross section of places sure to fit whatever experience you’re looking for, whether it’s to hang with hipsters at live music clubs or sip martinis in velvet chairs. Out of all the clubs and bars in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best reputations. We offer a carefully vetted selection to let you explore Albuquerque nightlife on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don’t have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our Albuquerque Best Nightlife list. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can’t miss.
Sandia Resort and Casino, standing alone in its splendor, on the Sandia Pueblo reservation, with the Sandia Mountains as its backdrop, has widespread musical entertainment along with its casino and top notch dining.
Just in front of the resort is the outdoor amphitheatre, which draws in big name artists for summer concerts. Inside, top notch live bands liven up the casino’s main floor, playing great dance music. This sectioned off bar and dance floor can get crowded and lines can accumulate, so get there early on a Saturday night.
Outside by the pool in the summer there are sometimes steel drums to fill the air.
Upstairs on the 9th floor is the Bien Shur lounge, with stunning wrap around views of the mountains to the east and the city’s landscape to the west. Pop and jazz bands play on the weekends and it is easier to get a table here than downstairs. There is a bar food menu here.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: This swanky night spot atop Sandia Resort and Casino offers sweeping views of the Albuquerque city lights and the Sandia Mountains.
Steve’s expert tip: The Bien Shur Lounge is more intimate upstairs, with spectacular views. Hungry? Order the fish tacos!
Read more about Sandia Resort and Casino →
This comfortable neighborhood bar has been a favorite Nob Hill hangout for years and it’s no secret why – friendly staff, laid-back atmosphere, long hours, good prices and a good selection of beers, spirits and pub grub. Great service and arguably the best burgers in Albuquerque!
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: As authentic as an Irish pub you can find short of traveling to Dublin.
Steve’s expert tip: Play Geeks that Drink trivia here, call for times.
Read more about O’Niell’s Irish Pub →
Photo courtesy of http://www.turtlemountainbrewing.com
Turtle Mountain is in Rio Rancho, just north of Albuquerque, and worth the drive. There are always the brewery’s award-winning beers on tap, and many others from around the state, as well as national and international beers. The food is almost as good as the beer, and the variety of wood-oven pizzas will make it hard to make up your mind. Large TVs are usually tuned to sports, including soccer, but it’s also a great place for busy, loud conversation.
TMBC is the end result of way too much dreaming (and drinking) on the part of the proprietor, Nico Ortiz. Starting with a student exchange to Germany when he was 16, he has dedicated his life to the pursuit of good beer. This brewpub is the culmination of over two decades of “market research” in hundreds of restaurants, bars, brewpubs, breweries, garages, and beer festivals all over the world.
The name “Turtle Mountain” comes from the Tewa name for Sandia Peak. Alfonso Ortiz (Nico’s late father) was born and raised at Oke Owingeh, north of Espanola, and one of six Pueblos that speak Tewa. Nico’s father’s Indian name was “Oku Pin,” which translates as “Turtle Mountain.” As a tribute to his father, who provided the inspirational and financial means to open the pub, Nico named it Turtle Mountain Brewing Company.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Turtle Mountain brews its own award-winning beer, and its New Mexico-themed wood oven pizzas are excellent.
Steve’s expert tip: Take a growler of beer home with you.
Read more about Turtle Mountain Brewing Company →
Photo courtesy of Marble Brewery
Marble Brewery is a production brewery with an on-site tasting room and outdoor beer garden located in downtown Albuquerque. Marble Brewery offers a line up of seven house beers and a variety of seasonal styles in draft and bottle. The attached pub has 10 beers on tap and a 40-foot long bar that looks into the brewery. Sandwich menu is available.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Marble brews its own award-winning beer, which you can also find in area stores.
Steve’s expert tip: Brewery tours are available anytime the brewer is in the house, just ask or call ahead.
Read more about Marble Brewery →
Photo courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.169495019796.119728.80912759796&type=1
Two-level local bar downtown, nicely on the divey side in a hipster kind of way. Pool tables, dark lighting, $2 PBRs. Free pool and on Thurdays all beer and well drinks are $2.75. Open until 2 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays and midnight on Sundays.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Great local bar in the thick of downtown action.
Steve’s expert tip: Free pool and on Thurdays all beer and well drinks are $2.75.
Read more about Downtown Distillery →
Kellys Brew Pub, housed in the historic Jones Motor Company, is a great summertime hangout, as the large patio has a very relaxing feel and being popular with the younger college crowd, it is always hopping.
A sports bar and place to play pool inside and a relaxing patio outside, it’s got everything, including an extensive menu. You’ll find appetizers, wraps, burgers, sandwiches and more. Plus you have the wide selection of the beers brewed on site. You can even make reservations to come and brew your own beer.
Enjoy the old signage and decor that was kept from the original building.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: This great outdoor patio restaurant and bar in Nob Hill brews its own beer on site.
Steve’s expert tip: On Fridays, pints of Kellys brews are only $3 and kids eat free on the weekends off the kids menu.
Read more about Kellys Brew Pub →
Photo courtesy of Billy’s Longbar
Laid-back, friendly bar where you’ll see bikers sitting next to business guys in suits. The bar menu is fairly standard, but the waitstaff and bartenders are welcoming and the beer selection is impressive. Lot’s of TVs tuned to sports, darts, pool tables, smoking room, nice wrap-around bar (it is indeed long) and outdoor patio.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Solid drinking hole with a great shuffleboard table.
Steve’s expert tip: Separate room for smokers; great for local color in the Albuquerque Heights. Good Happy Hour specials.
Read more about Billy’s Longbar →
Photo courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003070043270
If you’re into local dives, this is the place. The seats are torn, the floor is sticky and the music is live and loud. Some of the best live music in the Southwest is performed here, an eclectic mix of cowpunk/alternative. The crowd looks rough with lots of tattoos and piercings, but the vibe is friendly and laid back.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Wonderfully divey by design, Burt’s Tiki Lounge downtown is the spot for live alternative music.
Steve’s expert tip: Best place in Albuquerque for alternative live music. No cover.
Read more about Burt’s Tiki Lounge →
Photo courtesy of hotelparqcentral.com
Apothecary Lounge is worth a visit for the view alone. Perched on the roof of Hotel Parq Central, Apothecary Lounge offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Sandia Mountains, downtown skyline and New Mexico’s famous sunsets from its heated patio. Inside, the bar glitters with vintage apothecary bottles. Cocktails served are from Prohibition Area, making this one of the swankiest speakeasies you’ll ever visit. Craft beers and fine wine is served as well, and the menu items (while not cheap) are gourmet. Perfect for a date, and better if you get a room below so you don’t have to leave.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Sitting atop the historic Hotel Parq Central, Apothecary Lounge is New Mexico’s best rooftop bar, and serves only classic drinks available during Prohibition.
Steve’s expert tip: Heated rooftop sitting on couches; excellent views of downtown Albuquerque.
Read more about Apothecary Lounge →
Photo courtesy of http://www.hhandr.com/qbar.php
Voted “Albuquerque’s Best Happy Hour” venue 3 years in a row and “Best Ladies Night Out,” and now ” Best Lounge” and “Best Bachelorette Party Location,” this multi-venue bar is Albuquerque’s most sophisticated and upscale nightspot. Offering a piano lounge, extensive wine list, media and billiards room, QBar provides a series of intimate spaces for conversation and a variety of entertainment. Great for an upscale night on the town.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Located in Hotel Albuquerque, the Q Bar is Albuquerque’s swankiest night spot with dim lighting, plush furniture and top-shelf drink menus.
Steve’s expert tip: The Gallery and VIP lounge offer an eclectic and elite area for dancing and private parties. Live entertainment entertainment Wednesday through Saturday evenings.
Read more about Q Bar →