Best Places for Nightlife in Albuquerque, NM

‘Energetic’ can describe Albuquerque, NM’s best places for nightlife with many restaurants, casinos, and bars.

By on
O'Niell's Pub in Albuquerque, NM
Brian McCord

It is a lively place when the sun shines, and it remains lively when the moon comes out.

Albuquerque has a variety of evening-out destinations where residents and visitors can do a bit of howling at night – from hip bars and clubs to the symphony and theater.

For instance, those who like gambling and full-production shows can visit the Sandia Resort & Casino or the Isleta Casino & Resort. Or for a classic change of pace, there are the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra or theatrical per­formances at the KiMo Theatre.

And, oh, yes. There are plenty of quality restaurants that offer happy hours for mingling, and interesting entrées for dining.

“Downtown is exciting these days, with a lot of happening places and something for everyone – no matter what age you are,” says Heath Shepard, general manager of One Up Restaurant & Lounge (formerly known as Carom Club). “We offer an upscale menu and attract a lot of professionals who are ages 28 and up. What makes us really unique is that One Up is just like our name says – we are on the second floor of a building at Third and Central, with giant picture windows for customers to watch what is occurring on the busy streets below.”

One Up is open until midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on Saturdays, and continues to build a strong reputation for fine food. Two of its more popular dinner specialties are Albuquerque turkey and salmon rellenos.

“With the rellenos, we take a huge chunk of fresh sterling salmon and stuff it with cheese and chopped green chilies, then bake it so that it’s not greasy like fried rellenos,” Shepard says. “It is topped with a cream sauce and pine nuts that give it a New Mexico flair.”

Other top nighttime eateries and cocktail destinations throughout Albuquerque include the Elephant Bar & Restaurant, Flying Star Café, O’Niell’s Irish Pub and the Whisque Mesquite Grill & Bar.

“I think Albuquerque at night makes a person’s senses come alive because the evenings seem to bring out an artsy and upscale crowd – one that appreciates the interesting and exciting,” says Heather Thomas, marketing director with the Whisque Mesquite Grill & Bar. “That’s why I like where I work. We are a top-flight eatery that offers mesquite-fired steaks, ribs and fish, plus we have floor-to-ceiling windows along the entire east side of our building. It provides one of the best views of Albuquerque and the Sandia mountain range, especially when everything is lit up at night. It’s incredible stuff.”

The Whisque also has an elevated oval-shaped bar, an indoor crushed glass fireplace that emits sparkling light, and a 2,800-square-foot patio.

“We aren’t a corporate restaurant, so our chefs have a lot of freedom to experiment with different fusion dishes – we have a very forward-thinking dining staff,” Thomas says. “It’s just another reason why nightlife in this city is getting more vibrant all the time. It is all about atmosphere and quality product, which makes a unique city such as Albuquerque so special.”

Find more great restaurants in Albuquerque, NM.


Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years. He was previously an editor for a small-town newspaper for ... more

More Articles About Albuquerque, NM

Wed, 02/28/2018 - 21:22