Today it seems as though you walk into a bar and it is eerily too familiar to the one you went to the weekend before. U-shaped bars lined with vinyl bar stools, upbeat uniformed wait staff, and franchised food. Sound about right? In southern New Mexico, there are several “dive” bars that take you away from the ordinary. If you are looking for a sense of adventure without immediate danger, stop by one of these establishments for a step out of the norm.
El Patio, Mesilla, NM
Located in historic Mesilla off the plaza, El Patio is a local favorite and a must-see for out-of-towners. Dimly lit, way out-of-date décor, sticky floors and a few door-less bathroom stalls, this place oozes dive bar. On any given weekend, the place is so packed you can barely move and so loud you have to yell to have a conversation. Offers either jukebox, DJ, or live band music each night, sometimes charging a cover. The prices are reasonable, fairly good selection of drinks. One drawback to remember. They only take cash so make sure you bring some. Luckily there is an ATM in case you need more.
2171 Calle De Parian
Mesilla, NM 88046
Sunday – Wednesday, 2pm – 11pm
Thursday – Saturday, 2pm – 2am
Palacio Bar, Mesilla, NM
Until 1990, Palacio Bar did not allow women in the establishment. It was a local bar for hardworking folks that didn’t follow the norm. Now it was of the most happening weekend places in the area. Located just a few blocks off Mesilla plaza, they play DJ and live old-school music that gets the place hopping most Friday and Saturdays. The rest of the week it is a cool place to hang out with friends and drink a few cold ones. It is often frequented by bikers but everyone is there to have a good time with groups mingling becoming one happy crowd. It is hard not to run into someone you know. There are several separate yet merging areas so the flow is nice. Drinks are cold and priced right.
2600 Avenida De Mesilla
Mesilla, NM 88046
Sunday – Wednesday, 12pm – 11pm
Thursday – Saturday, 12pm – 12am
Chope’s Bar, La Mesa, NM
Looking for great Mexican food? You will find it at Chope’s Bar & Café. Known for its fabulous food and cold 40’s, the bar is a nice place to hang out and enjoy an iced beer. Located off New Mexico Highway 28, it is in a wonderfully rural area of southern New Mexico. Bikers stop by after enjoying a ride. All other walks of life, including tourists, patron because of its fine reputation and homely outdated ambiance. If you are waiting for a table in the café, remember that even though the bar and restaurant are literally touching, they are separate businesses so remember you can’t take your drink with you when your table is ready.
16145 S. Highway 28
La Mesa, NM 88044
Sunday – Saturday, 2pm – 10pm
Family-owned business so call ahead to make sure open but usually is.
Blue Moon Bar, Radium Springs, NM
With a patio overlooking the Rio Grande River, the Blue Moon Bar has been a favorite of the area for a long time. Known for its rustic atmosphere from its wooden floors to its jukebox, it is frequented by all types of patrons. Bikers and convertible owners with the top down are known to stop by after a long ride along Hwy 185. Country music is the fave of the place, as well as some of the live local bands. It is open seasonally with changing hours so it is best to call ahead. So much for the spontaneity of just stopping by but a quick call is worth it to experience their good food and priced right drinks.
103060 N. Hwy 185
Radium Springs, NM 88054
Seasonal – call ahead to make sure open.
*All of these bars offer free parking but cannot be easily accessed by public transportation if at all.