Hello, Ciao, Hola, γειά σου, hailō, ਹੈਲੋ, здравствулте!, 你好 my friends! And Cheers! And as they say in Nawlens, "Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!" And let the good times roll we will my friends. That was one super night in old Burque, no? And the weekend’s not over yet! Abraham Juarez, of Seasons, suggests I see the same 50 people when I am out on the town because the population of Albuquerque is only slightly higher than that. Well, an actual metropolitan population of approximately 850,000 people is not too shabby. So, I think that the other 50 of you are just hipsters. Nice to see all of you again. Next time you go out on the town- drag a friend along! And thanks for your continued support.

Last night was no drag. Have you been to Andaluz yet? This beautiful historic hotel originally opened in 1939 as the first NM hotel constructed by native Conrad Hilton. I have made several trips to it’s new incarnation and… you had me at “hello”. Andaluz is warm and inviting. Andaluz oozes sophistication. I am going to ramble about the lounge. But, as I drool over the dinner menu for their restaurant “Lucia” you can be sure I’ll be rambling about that soon enough!

The atmosphere of this non traditional lounge is just fantastic. Yes, there is an actual bar hiding in the corner but it is very tiny. Where the real action is- is the lobby! There are what appear to VIP tables lining one side of the lobby. Well, coves, niches, dens that contain couches, chairs, tables, art, etc. to be more precise. Each has a different flavor to it as well. These are for your cocktail imbibing pleasure, with a reservation please. Is bottle service required? I am not sure. Call 505-923-9080 for information. The middle of the courtyard is ample with additional seating and a fountain. And the staff is world class! So perfectly groomed, attractive, polite, friendly that I picture the manager as Fantasy Island’s Mr. Roarke… “Smiles everyone, smiles! We have guests arriving.” I do not have one complaint about Andaluz. My martini is always perfect and I always have a seat. And be sure to try such “tantalizing” Tapas as the Mussels or Steak Sliders. There is also great live music from 9-12 on at least Friday and Saturday. For a casual, relaxing evening you should definitely check it out. Our night began with a Martini and Steak Sliders served by Anita. Hello to Tamra also.

And out onto the glorious streets of downtown Albuquerque we are poured. The weather had taken quite a turn for the better this night. The temperature did not even warrant a winter coat at this point. We wandered over to Central Avenue to see if the rumors of Maloney’s being closed were true. Alas, they were not. But evidently Sauce and Proof really did close in January. I want to get to old town now and check out something new. Aaahhh, the cycle of (bars) life.

“CASA ESENCIA,ABQ's brand new premium ultra-lounge Featuring: 2 DJ's spinning simultaneously all night THE MA$H-UP KING DJ DEVIN HOUSE MUSIC & TOP 40 ALL NIGHT LONG,LAST WEEKS' GRAND OPENING HIT CAPACITY BEFORE 10,SO GET THERE EARLY ABQ this is your high-end ultra lounge you have been waiting for…” as DJ Devin’s Facebook flutter said. You may also be familiar with my friend LD and his massive attack of event invitations. Thanks for the invites fellas. It was everything you claimed it would be. And the music was just right.

Casa Esencia is a separate building, “Hacienda” to be exact, next to and owned by Hotel Albuquerque. According to their website “Casa Esencia is reinventing Albuquerque events with unparalleled service in a glamorous hacienda setting.” Built in 1840 by the Armijo family this is a sprawling “8,000 square feet of elegant rooms with space to host 298 adults”. Velvet ropes and clipboards people. The good, the bad, and the beautiful. Let’s just take a quick tour here? Welcome… reflecting pool, coat check, 3 bars, 2 DJs, grand piano, kiva fireplaces, luxurious furnishings, room after room, rear patio complete with roaring fire. Ciao. My uncle Paul sure knows how to start a fire! He is a fixture of Hotel Albuquerque for many years. (Here goes my version of the “shout out”!) This was liking going to a great party at a friend’s home. Or my home. OK, I currently only have 2 bars but have been thinking about a Tiki bar for the back patio this spring! So everywhere we turned there was someone we knew. Stacy Sacco, Sheldon from Sauce, Johnny Ming, Sarah the bartender, Webb from Lotus, and on and on. And that reminds me… if I think you look familiar or visa-versa it may very well be we are cyber friends and have never met in person. So say hi because I’m not sure that’s you from that teeny tiny photoshopped picture you posted drunk!

I loved the whole atmosphere; fireplaces, lighting fixtures, that reflecting pool and the different feel of each room. The staff were all friendly and helpful. Please take a long hard look at your liquor selection. Macallan is the only scotch? Seriously? A high end lounge like this needs a good scotch selection. But if you’re going to only have one scotch on hand make it Talisker. Oh and the Vodka selection is missing the finest Vodka in all the land- Tito’s. Was their any signature drinks or a drink menu? I never saw or heard of these things. But… you know what? I’ll be back. I loved it. Ssssshhhh. Don’t tell anyone because I don’t want it to get so popular that I can’t squeeze my way through! P.S. It’s only open on Friday night. The rest of the time it is available for special events.

11:00 or so we are ready to move on. Where to? Home? Naaaah. Seasons! We scurry to the upstairs to find Abraham Juarez, formerly of Zinc, tending bar. This folks is a real bartender who absorbs and dispenses knowledge of beer, wine, and cocktails like a true master. I will be first in line if he ever opens his own establishment. My friend has a scotch from their extensive collection. I opt for Amaretto DiSarrano on the rocks. We sample Sierra Nevada “Hopstar” India Pale Ale from the Roessler brothers trip to Beer Camp and it is delicious! Last call. The witching hour approaches. Where’s the # for that cab driver?

Next stop. Nob Hill. I haven’t been to imbibe lately. Let’s do this thing. Greetings one and all. I am constantly approached about the St. Patrick’s Day Extravaganza I may be promoting here that I have not begun to advertise yet. The crowd is not too too thick just yet. The cigar smoke wafts by as we quickly order a pint of Stella. It is a beautiful night to visit the rooftop patio. More former Sauce/Proof employees such as Adrienne are having a good time. My good friend DJ Rhino and his lovely better half Vanessa are present. He is the usual Friday night DJ but had gone to see Henry Rollins spoken word earlier this night. It was nice to hang out away from the thump thump thump of the DJ booth for once. Nightcap. Manhattan with a cinnamon dusted cherry… mmm. Closing time already? I still have cash? Well, people did buy me drinks. Cool people anyway. Haha

And hear I hide, away from the piercing light of the sun. I wish someone would bring me some gourmet food. I reflect and ponder Saturday evening as the chores pile up. Thanks for a good time Nitro Nate, hope you enjoyed that guest room. Thanks to everybody who was not weird, did not glare, did not start juvenile drama, and just had a good time with us last night. And thanks to my friend Stacy Sacco for talking me into returning to including DukeCityFix.com in my blogosphere.

Visit his website and also buy some Anasazi Fields wine. Until next time- keep your friends close and your martini closer.

Views: 200

Comment by cathyray on February 21, 2010 at 11:28am
good to be living the night life vicariously again.
Comment by shotsie on February 21, 2010 at 11:57am
Hey, does anyone know what happened to all the bars around the Alibi on Central? Are they changing owners? Maloney's didn't look all that healthy either. My wife and I went to the Kimo for the 2nd City show, and I was shocked to see so many establishments closed. Andaluz looks great, but I bet drinks are really pricey, and all we wanted was a friendly establishment to have a beer.
Comment by Michael P. "Martini Mike" D'Arco on February 21, 2010 at 12:13pm
Go to Blackbird Buvette for a nice time in a different atmosphere than swank. I really like Blackbird. Great beer selection, liquor as well. If you're lucky you can catch the "human jukebox" playing. That is where I go when I want a nice place but no dress code or outlaw bikers. lol We will tend to stop there first if it's going to be a multi-bar night. Good food there too!
Comment by once banned twice shy on February 22, 2010 at 9:25am
I'm really disappointed that Hotel Andaluz decided to make their casbahs available by reservation only. I hate the kind of precious posing things like that inspire.
Comment by slamwagon on February 22, 2010 at 9:46am
You think you should be able to rock the casbah without a reservation? Me too.
Comment by Michael P. "Martini Mike" D'Arco on February 22, 2010 at 10:00am
What I have seen time and time again in every city is they all say reserved and will sit empty 1/2 the night! Because the reservation isn't until 9 or 10 or whatever. So sometimes you may be suave enough to "borrow" one (anywhere- not referring to Andaluz specifically) until close to reservation time if it's early. But if that is your late night destination I would suggest reservations at any place that requires them.
Comment by Juan on February 22, 2010 at 10:39am
So one thing I heard from my friend about that new Esencia place is that it had a $20 cover this weekend to get in! If that's true, then those people running that spot are crazy.
Comment by Michael P. "Martini Mike" D'Arco on February 22, 2010 at 11:18am
I scoffed at the cover at first... then I thought they probably just want to keep the riff raff out. OK, let me rephrase... they want people who can afford to run up a large tab!
Comment by Juan on February 22, 2010 at 12:53pm
I'm sure that crazy ass cover will drop as soon as they realize that it may keep some people out, but it will also keep their money out. But you definitely won't see me over there if they keep that $20 (shit even $10) cover. I doubt they'll miss me since I'm not rolling in dough.


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