A Bar With a View

Lynn Cline - April 19, 2017

Bar Alto has one of Santa Fe's happiest Happy Hours...

For one of the happiest Happy Hours in Santa Fe, head over to Bar Alto, way up high on the fifth floor of the Drury Plaza Hotel. From here, you can see for miles, gazing at gorgeous sunsets, twinkling city lights or a sky full of stars as you enjoy signature craft cocktails and small plates full of big flavors.

Bar Alto is named for nearby Alto Street, a tribute to the grandmother of chef John Rivera Sedlar of the hotel's Eloisa restaurant, who lived on Alto Street for 60 years, where she hosted poker games for locals and served them spirits, wine and beer. “ Bar Alto keeps the spirit of Santa Fe Alto Street alive and convivial,” says the venue's website.

That Alto Street spirit appeals to locals and visitors alike. On any given warm-weather evening, you'll see a crowd of people relaxing in the oversized sofas and chairs and gather ing around the mesmerizing fireplace table to watch the sun set across the mountains and the stars come out at night. In the summer, enjoy live music on Fridays from 4-7 pm, featuring local bands and musicians.

If the weather's not cooperating, grab a seat at the inside bar and admire the panoramic view through the walls of windows that surround you. You'll meet all sorts of patrons—artists, writers, filmmakers, scientists and perhaps a screen star or two. Order one of the handcrafted cocktails —perhaps the Rosmarinus made with Wheeler’s gin, cynar and lemon rosemary or the Brown Derby, a concoction of Four Roses bourbon, grapefruit and honey. The Jack Rose is a bracing combo of apple brandy, lime and grenadine and the Nolita is an alluring blend o Vida mezcal, ancho reyes, Grind espresso liquor and orange bitters.

Happy Hour takes place Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6 pm but honestly, every hour is happy here, with some of the best views in the city. The food will only elevate your happiness, from the Spanish cheese plate, served with preserves and artisan bread, to the White Bean Turkey Chili topped with cheese, sour cream and crispy tortillas. The charcuteri plate offers an assortment of cured meats, pickles and mustard with artisan bread. Or, try the Mediterranean plate with hummus, vegetable antipasto, olives, feta and artisan bread or the Mozzarella and Tomato plate. Be sure to ask about the Salad Creation of the Week, featuring fresh, seasonal, organic ingredients.

One of the signature cocktails, the Sangre de Cristo Sunset, is perfect for toasting the setting sun from this rooftop bar. It's made with Azunia Reposado Tequila, lime, pepper, apple, shrub, Pimms, blood orange juice and Habanero Bitters. You can also choose from a robust menu of cervezas and vinas or ask the resident mixologist Tom Street to create a drink just for you.

If you find you've lingered too long over the sunset or the rising moon, and find you're still hungry, head downstairs to Eloisa,where the menu features fabulous fare created by Sedlar. The famous Pastrami Tacos are made with crisp blue corn tortillas filled with pastrami, sauerkraut, pickled serranos and ballpark mustard. Try the Pecos River Trout with Swiss chard, broccolini, lardon and pine nuts, or the Diver Sea Scallops with polenta, green corn and spinach. The Feijoda is a hearty serving of wood-grilled pork tenderloin with chorizo black beans, spicy onions, orange and caramelized banana.

Try to leave room for dessert, because there's CaramelizeBrioche with popcorn ice cream, apricot sorbet and quince, and Chocolate Cremeaux with coconut ice cream and pomegranate. After dinner, you can always head back up to Bar Alto for a nightcap and a chance to catch a falling star or two.

Photos courtesy of Bar Alto and SantaFe.com