Santa Fe, the beautiful and multicultural state capital, might be one of the most popular gay destinations in New Mexico, and it tends to draw a relatively couples-oriented, arts-minded, and romantic crowd. There aren't too many singles seeking out nightlife options (unless you count going out to a concert, or a performance at the world-class Santa Fe Opera). "The City Different” may not have an abundance of bars or venues specifically for LGBTQ+ crowds, but virtually all of the downtown mainstream bars, restaurants, lounges, and other venues enthusiastically welcome a mixed crowd and are in a pedestrian-friendly area. Visitors will also find a lively summer Santa Fe Pride event and nearby gay-friendly cities to explore.
Bars, Lounges, and Restaurants
All around Santa Fe, there are notable restaurants, lounges, bars—and even a movie theater with a bar and pizza—worth checking out, and which tend to draw a fair share of LGBTQ+ patrons.
- Secreto Lounge: Located in the historic and atmospheric Hotel St. Francis near the Santa Fe Plaza, this hip yet easygoing lounge serves interesting craft cocktails made with fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and such; the smoked-sage margarita is a favorite. On warm evenings, grab a seat on the open-air covered loggia and watch the crowds stroll by.
- TerraCotta Wine Bistro: This intimate and friendly eatery near the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is a lovely spot for sipping vino and noshing on stellar international fare, including bruschetta with creative toppings. It's not uncommon to find a small LGBTQ+ crowd here during the happy hour.
- The Matador: Close to many of Santa Fe's top restaurants just off the plaza, this downtown Santa Fe dive bar has something of a gay scene in a small basement space with a funky, un-touristy vibe.
- Harry's Roadhouse: A popular locals' hangout on the southeastern outskirts of town, Harry's Roadhouse offers outstanding and affordable food for vegetarians and carnivores, super margaritas, and an eclectic, fun-loving crowd.
- Violet Crown: In the city's trendy Railyard District, you'll find the highly popular cinema and bar-tavern, a great place to watch a film and enjoy over 30 types of craft beer, wine, and tasty pizza.
There are numerous places around Santa Fe to sip on a craft beer or Spanish wine while taking in some live music, enjoying some great scenery, and people watching.
- Fenix at Vanessie: A few blocks from the plaza next to Vanessie—a small, classy boutique accommodation—this gay-popular piano bar shines with live music. A top draw among local and visiting LGBTQ+ folks, the venue features internationally-acclaimed pianist and crooner Doug Montgomery and many other talented guest artists.
- La Boca Sante Fe: In a quiet courtyard a block from the plaza, the tavern is a fantastic spot for live music on weekends, plus tapas, salads, and an excellent selection of Spanish wines. The same menu is served in the adjoining original restaurant, la boca, which is open daily.
- The Staab House: If you are seeking a fancy lounge with inventive cocktails and live music, head to this cozy bar inside the snazzy La Posada de Santa Fe Resort in the heart of the city.
- Cowgirl: Have a blast at this restaurant offering barbecue and New Mexican food—along with a pool hall, a nice outdoor patio, and free nightly live music—in the Railyard District.
- El Farol: Located on the art-gallery-lined Canyon Road, this historic 1835 restaurant and bar with live music Tuesdays through Saturdays, flamenco dancers, Spanish tapas and wines, margaritas, and more, is a nice place to visit.
- Second Street Brewery: Serving tasty pub fare and stellar beer, this brewery frequently hosts live bands. Try their inventive 6 FRUIT UNDER beer with blackberry, cranberry, tart cherry, peach, blood orange, and raspberry.
If you don't mind driving a bit, the beautiful Santa Fe area is full of nearby towns and cities to explore.
- It's worth a drive 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of downtown Santa Fe to the Shadeh Nightclub & Lounge at the Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder, featuring DJs spinning everything from hip hop to cumbia, open mic nights, and more. There is also a 61,000-square foot casino, amazing Native American art, great restaurants, and a golf course.
- The funky and gay-friendly community of Madrid, just 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Santa Fe on the scenic Turquoise Trail, is home to the all-welcoming Mine Shaft Tavern, featuring live music and some of the best green-chile cheeseburgers in New Mexico.
- Big fans of gay bar-hopping can always make the hour-long trip down the road to Albuquerque, where you'll find a few fun gay bars and clubs.
Tips for Going Out in Santa Fe
- The Santa Fe Gay Resource Directory is a good resource to find additional businesses, events, activities, and more.
- Santa Fe Pride is held annually for a week in June; the event includes everything from a tea dance with DJs to a big parade and a pool party.
- Downtown and the nearby historic districts are applauded for being so pedestrian-friendly. But if you need transportation, the city offers the Santa Fe Trails Bus Service, and ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft. Various hotels provide shuttle services, and from the Railyard District to Downtown there is the free daytime Santa Fe Pickup shuttle.