Summer Nights in Santa Fe

Santafe.com - July 25, 2017

How to spend an enchanting summer's eve in Santa Fe

Combine one perfect sunset with stunning mountain views and stir in a soft breeze to cool the air. Follow that with a chaser of sparkling stars and a pearly moon, and you've got the perfect tonic for a summer night in Santa Fe. Whether you're in the mood for gathering with friends over drinks to watch the sunset, relaxing in front of a fire pit with the one you love, or dancing the night away to live music, you'll find plenty of options for an enchanting summer's eve in Santa Fe. Below you'll find a few favorites to seek out when you're out on the town for an evening.

Sample small plates along with craft cocktails and wine at the Eldorado Hotel's Agave Lounge, a hip hangout with a sophisticated vibe that's popular with locals as well as visitors. Winner of the 2015 People's Choice award in edible Santa Fe's Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown, the lounge offers an eclectic menu of creative fare. Try the New Mexico green chile Kobe slider or Street Tacos, filled with fajita steak, slaw and salsa verde. If you’re in the mood for a margarita, you're in the right place. The menu include creative concoctions like the Picante, made with jalapeno-infused Espolon Reposado, Cointreau and fresh lime juice; or the Smokey, a combo of Casa Noble Reposado, Del Maguey “Vida” Mezcal and fresh lime juice.

Tucked inside the historic Hotel St. Francis, Secreto Lounge is one of Santa Fe's premier craft cocktail bars, offering vintage cocktails as well as Garden-to-Glass options that make use of local, fresh, organic fruits, vegetables and herbs, all lined up on the bar. You'll find handcrafted syrups and infusions, too. The First Kiss is an chanting blend of Death's Door Organic Gin, scratch-made lemon cordial, local tarragon and Peychaud Bitters. As the menu promises, this drink, like a first kiss, leaves you “breathless and wanting more.” Are you a fan of the iconic 1967 film “Easy Rider?” If so, then it's mandatory to order the Blueberry Creek, created for the Wandering Spirits Motorcycle Ride, it's made with fresh blueberries, Woody Creek Rye, fresh lemon, local honey syrup and ginger beer.

Mosey on over to CowgirlBBQ if you're in search of thirst-quenching libations, lip-smacking comfort food andfoot-stomping live music. Order the mesquite-smoked BBQ beef sliders, seared chile-dusted pork belly tacos and a side of sweet 'tater fries with chopped scallions and walnuts and walnut-honey mayo dipping sauce. For the brave of heart, and mouth, the Five Pepper Nachos with Salsa Diablo will fire you up. Featured on The Food Network and Travel Channel as well as in the Wall Street Journal, it's made with black beans, Jack cheddar cheese, red onions, guacamole, pickled jalapeno, black olives and sour cream.

Pair your small plates with craft cocktails and signature margaritas, including the Cowgirl's 100% Agave Margarita, a blend of agave reposado, triple and fresh lime and lemon juices. Take in live music on the famous patio with both local and touring bands and musicians. The summer calendar includes performances by The Broomdust Quartet, JJ and the Hooligans, Gary Gorance, The Santa Fe Revue, The Country Blues Revue and more. And don't miss Cowgirl Karaoke on Tuesdays from 9 to 11:30 pm with Michelle Leidig, a fun chance to show off your singing chops.

Boxcar is the place to be for late-night Santa Fe fun. With live music that kicks off at 10 pm and a menu served until 1:30 am, this is a hot spot that stays jamming long after the sun has set. If you're hungry, you've come to the right place. The avocado tempura is a sure bet—who wouldn't love velvety avocado wedges battered in light tempura (it's also gluten-free), or bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers? How abaout green chile mac'n'cheese with ham, chicken, tiger shrimp or short ribs or parmesan truffled fries? The shrimp and smoked Gouda grits gives a new meaning to comfort food but if you're in the mood for seafood, try the Baja fish tacos, fish & chips or jalapeno calamari with house sour sambai and ghost pepper aioli.

The bar menu includes New Mexico beer as well as imports and craft cocktails such as the Blood Orange Mojito, a blend of Cruzan rum, fresh lime and blood orange juice, club soda and mint, with a mint-sugar rim. As you wine and dine, relax to music by DJ Sato on Mellow Mondays, 10 pm to 1:30 am; or play the popular Geeks Who Drink game on Trivia Tuesdays at 8 pm, followed by the Boxcar Tuesday Blues Jam with Canyon Road Blues Jam, who've temporarily relocated from El Farol. Check the schedule to see the full list of who will be playing this summer.

The Del Charro Saloon at the Inn of the Governors is a favorite hideaway with locals and visitors alike. With a romantic fireplace, wrought-iron tables, climbing ivy and a cover that shelters from rain, this is a spot for lingering with friends over hearty fare and signature margaritas. Try beloved bar staples—nachos, chipotle chicken wings, chile con queso with chips—or go for broke with the stuffed green chile cheeseburger, a delectable blend of house-made ground beef, chipotle BBQ sauce, Gorgonzola, applewood-smoked bacon, roasted New Mexico green chile and house-made green chile relish. Lighter fare includes the salmon wrap, a tortilla filled with grilled salmon, black beans, fresh greens, red pepper coulis, crème fraiche and cucumber relish. For a refreshing twist on classic drinks, order the Sauza Tequile Pomegranate Margarita, the Green Apple Martini or the Mexican Mule, which substitutes Herradura Silver Tequila for the gin in the Moscow Mule recipe, and includes ginger beer, muddled lime and agave nectar.