This Is the Bar You’re Looking For: Part II

The continuation of Steph Bailey’s hit series about bars and nightlife in Taos (read Part I here).

Taos Inn 27The Adobe Bar at the Historic Taos Inn

The Adobe Bar is nestled inside the lobby of The Taos Inn and is often referred to as “the living room of Taos.” I’ve always thought of it as a sort of waystation, with entrances leading in from the main drag and from the back parking lots, foot traffic constantly streaming in and out to the bar, the adjoining restaurant (Doc Martin’s), and the Inn’s historic rooms.

They book live music every night, never charge a cover, and throw their doors open wide to the public. Since they must shut the whole operation down at 10pm so as not to bother the hotel guests, they start earlier than most musical acts in town and are widely regarded by the locals as the place to start your night out. There are lovely alcoves, balconies, patios and tiled tables where you can settle in with a margarita and check out all the people who decided to hit the town that night.

Hungry? The bar menu was recently upgraded to the full restaurant menu they offer next door, so dig in. Specialty cocktails and top-shelf margaritas abound.

The Anaconda Bar at El Monte Sagradoanaconda bar

The Anaconda Bar is another hotel inlay, set inside the El Monte Sagrado, a ridiculously impressive building you should visit just to gawk at.

The Anaconda Bar is exactly that: a bar with an enormous, golden-scaled anaconda wrapped above the uppermost part, snaking all the way around the giant aquarium that makes up the back wall of the bar. The aquarium also serves to divide the bar from the adjoining restaurant — where live trees grow from the floors and little man-made streams trickle near by. No, really.

My favorite part of this bar experience is I always walk in feeling like royalty — like I can dress up a little and pretend to have some class, but the bartenders don’t judge me if I’m only wearing blue jeans, and the men working the valet parking don’t scoff at my dusty, beat-up ancient Rav 4. (They’ll even let you park yourself.)

What I’m trying to say is, this place is as elegant as it is welcoming. You don’t have to be able to afford a swanky $800 hotel room to come enjoy a cocktail, watch the game, or enjoy some occasional live music on the weekends. You can come in for a casual shot and a beer, or for cocktails as exotic and colorful as the saltwater fish swimming around the tank across from you. Open from 3 – 11:30.

Ale House 3Taos Ale House

The Ale House in an understated little gem that boasts “an ever-expanding selection of small batch, handcrafted recipe” brews. All I know is these people love their beer, and they want you to love it, too.

The bartender immediately began offering me little glass samples, educating me about the house favorites while taking my tastes into account to get a feel for what I might like best. I could hear people playing pool and laughing from the other side of the room, and the bar was lined with a host of friendly characters, both locals and tourists alike, who engaged me in that kind of easy-going, spontaneous pub talk you see in the movies.

I loved it here, honestly. Not only for the beers they carry so proudly, but for the laid-back clientele this place seems to attract. I can’t guarantee that your fellow patrons will always be as chatty and strange as they were when I visited, but it’s worth checking out. Bar food available. The only downside to this place: a couple of the beers were a little tough to stomach, and left me sort of gassy.

The Ale House currently has live music sporadically, and the shows are usually well-attended, local-pub-style affairs (we’ve seen everything there from polite sit-and-listen crowds to rowdy foot-stompers, as inspired by the artists in question); check the LiveTaos calendar for more information on upcoming events.

Bonus — the Ale House is the only place in Taos where I can play darts!