Hoppin’ Happy Hours in Santa Fe

Lynn Cline - October 23, 2018

Where to toast the day's end

We could all use an extra dose of happiness in these chaotic times, and Santa Fe offers plenty of places to help you cultivate happiness at the end of the day. Whether it's Happy Hour, Social Hour or Reverse Happy Hour, many of Santa Fe's favorite restaurants and bars give you the chance to toast the day's end with discounted drinks and food.

Shakespeare wrote about happy hour sometime around 1599 in “King Henry V,” where the title character says, “Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour/That may give furtherance to our expedition..." Centuries later, during World War I, soldiers in the U.S. Navy started organizing regular Happy Hour Clubs at sea that included movies, music, dancing, wrestling and boxing. The practice spread to Naval bases in California and, in 1959, the “Saturday Evening Post” ran an article on military personnel and government contractors employed by missile-tracking facilities in the Atlantic and the Caribbean who “spend too much during 'happy hour' at the bar” (hopefully they were off-duty when imbibing.)

So when you're looking to celebrate the end of the day, here are a few spots in Santa Fe where you can take part in a time-honored tradition. Sit back, relax and enjoy discounted refreshments with friends, family or colleagues. You might meet a new acquaintance, discover an unfamiliar craft cocktail, or test out pairings of food and wine. However you do Happy Hour, raise a glass and make a toast, and you're sure to feel happier before it ends. Just be sure to drink responsibly.

The Agave Lounge at the Eldorado Hotel & Spa holds a Readers' Choice award from the “Santa Fe Reporter” for the Best Happy Hour in Santa Fe, which takes place from 4 to 7 pm on weekdays with discounts on food and drinks. Settle in at the bar, at a table in the elegant lounge or in sleek seats around modern fireplaces and enjoy craft cocktails, tequila flights, wine and more. Pair your drink with Kobe beef sliders, shrimp ceviche, charred Brussels sprouts and other upscale fare.

At Maize, Happy Hour takes place from 4:30 to 6 pm every day that the acclaimed restaurant is open (Tuesday through Sunday). Take a seat in the rustic yet elegant bar and enjoy discounts on all drinks as well as every creative item on the bar menu. Match a house margarita with honey chipotle-glazed duck wings, served with blue cheese dip and chayote spears. Or dig into hearty bison sliders with bacon, chipotle mayo and tomato jam and Smokin' Nachos, made with pulled pork, black beans and Tilamook cheddar, washed down with craft beer. The well-curated wine list will appeal to oenophiles and pair well with the menu items, too.

315 Restaurant & Wine Bar is famous for its selection of Happy Hour half-price fresh oysters served over ice with rice wine mignonette, cocktail sauce, horseradish and lemon. They go well with discounted select wines by the glass, champagne,craft beer or cocktail specials .You can also order from the diverse bar menu, which includes Ratatouille Crepes, Duck Fat Brussels Sprouts and Mac'n'Cheese with Irish cheddar and ham. The wine bar is a popular place for Happy Hour so you'll mix right in with a crowd of revelers enjoying delicious fare in the ambiance of a true French bistro. 315 hosts Happy Hour daily from 5 to 7 pm, excluding Monday, when the restaurant is closed.

The Anasazi Bar & Lounge is known for its Silver Coin margaritas, local craft beers and classic cocktails, which you can sample at a discount during Social Hour Sunday through Thursday from 3 to 5:30 pm .Take a seat at the bar or relax in the handsome lounge in leather chairs and comfy couches, surrounded by rock ledge walls, vigas and eclectic art. Pair your drink with the charcuterie and fromage plate, which includes membrillo, whole grain mustard and cracker, or with beef sliders with green chile marmalade, braised bacon and chipotle mayo. An assortment of street tacos includes soft shell crab, mushroom and shishito and pork carnitas.

The Living Room Lounge at the Inn and Spa at Loretto celebrates Happy Hour twice every day, from 5 to 6:30 pm and during Reverse Happy Hour from 9 to 10 pm. You can sink into a cozy couch or chair in front of a fire and sip house margaritas, draft beers and well drinks while listening to mellow live music. Order from the Lounge Menu and savor New Mexico short-rib nachos, fish tacos with lime crema, cabbage and pico de gallo, lobster sliders and more besides.

Did you know the Plaza Cafe Southside hosts Happy Hour daily, from 4 to 6 pm? You should, because this offspring of the iconic downtown Plaza Café, which opened in 1947, is beloved by locals for its food and friendly atmosphere. Happy Hour features drink specials—margaritas, local beer, wine and more—and half-price appetizers such as fried calamari with crispy jalapeños and black chile oil sauce for dipping and Plaza Nachos, layers of beans, chipotle salsa, chile con queso, chorizo, jalapeños and tortilla chips.