Expert Tips


Cheers! Belly Up to the Bar for Happy Hour in Santa Fe

Ever wonder what the origin of the term “Happy Hour” is? A bit of research yielded some conflicting information. All agreed on two things: one is that the term originated in 1920 in the US Navy, denoting a time when sailors had a few hours to engage in entertaining pastimes. The other is that widespread use of the phrase came about after a 1959 mention in the venerable Saturday Evening Post. The term has come to mean that time, just after work, when people kick back a bit after a long day and get “happy.” Traditionally, bars and lounges offer reduced drink prices and often discounted appetizers. Santa Fe has a variety of Happy Hour options in a range of venues from swanky to casual. Some places offer discounted food options so it can be a relatively inexpensive way to grab dinner out. Some only offer their full-priced bar menu and others have no food at all. Besides early evening Happy Hours, some places have mid-afternoon ones as well, including “Hoppy Hour” at Low ‘n Slow and a 3pm tapas and drink time at La Boca. A few places such as Secreto Lounge and The Living Room at Loretto have late night Happy Hours as well. Not all places in Santa Fe have full liquor licenses; if that’s important to you, check with them before you go. Wherever you choose to unwind and socialize with friends or make new ones, drink moderately and have a great time!

Blue Rooster
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Salazar/Ultraviolet Marketing


Blue Rooster is Santa Fe's only acknowledged gay bar. Everyone is welcome and the crowd tends to be mixed. Ambiance is chic and upscale. BR offer two Happy Hour events each week: Thursday's Lady's Happy Hour attracting a mostly lesbian crowd and...  Read More

Low 'n Slow Lowrider Bar
Photo courtesy of Heritage Hotels


Low 'n Slow Lowrider Bar at the Hotel Chimayó pays homage to the small Northern New Mexico town that it's named for and the lowrider culture. If you don't know what a "lowrider" is, Google it. The bar's décor reflects this car-centric cultural...  Read More

Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins


Love microbrews? Sample them at the source at Blue Corn Café & Brewery's Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 4 to 6pm. They offer $1.00 off beers and well drinks. While many take advantage of the in-house brewed beers and ales, they also...  Read More

The Staab House
Photo courtesy of The Staab House


The Staab House, the bar at the historic La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa, offers customers an intimate spot for Happy Hour food and drink. It's offered twice daily from Monday through Friday. There's an early one from 4 to 6pm and a...  Read More

The Living Room at Loretto
Photo courtesy of The Inn and Spa at Loretto


Love sipping while ensconced on a comfortable sofa or chair in front of a fire? Head for The Living Room at Loretto where they offer intimate fireside seating as well as traditional bar stools and table seating. The Living Room, adjacent to the...  Read More



Does the word "Agave" bring tequila to mind? It's fitting that the hottest-selling cocktail at Agave Lounge at the Eldorado Hotel & Spa is the Picante Margarita, featuring house-infused Jalapeno Espolon Reposado, fresh lime and Cointreau. Or...  Read More

Pranzo Italian Grill
Photo courtesy of Pranzo


Head for Happy Hour at Pranzo Italian Grill, take advantage of their drink specials and Early bird dinner pricing and you can dine without breaking the bank. The daily Happy Hour from, from 4 to 6pm offers half-off wines by the glass (they offer...  Read More

Il Piatto
Photo courtesy of Il Piatto


Want to take an international jaunt for Happy Hour? Head for Il Piatto Santa Fe's "Italian Farmhouse Kitchen" and you'll feel like you've arrived in Italy. The restaurant, specializing in Italian wines, boasts a custom glass and iron wine cave...  Read More

Taberna La Boca
Photo courtesy of Doug Merriam


Taberna La Boca and its sister restaurant, La Boca, both offer Happy Hours and you can't miss at either. If you want to make your HH into an early dinner, head for Taberna where you can enjoy selected tapas and reduced price wines. Chef James...  Read More

Secreto Lounge
Photo courtesy of Secreto Lounge


Secreto Lounge, the popular bar at the St. Francis Hotel, is known for its accomplished mixologists. Their daily Happy Hour from 4 to 7pm offers $7 specialty cocktails, $5 draft beers and $1 off the over a dozen wines offered by the glass. Draft...  Read More


Meet Billie Frank

Billie Frank is a freelance travel, food and feature writer based in Santa Fe New Mexico. Her blog, Santa Fe Travelers, is a treasure trove of information on the oldest capital city in the...  More About Billie