The best all-purpose bar in the neighborhood is the second-floor Anodyne (409 Central Ave. NW, 505/244-1820), a long, wood-floor room filled with pool tables and a younger crowd sprawled on the thrift-store sofas. Choose from more than 100 beers, and get some quarters to plug into the good collection of pinball machines.
To catch the latest touring indie-rock sensation or the local crew about to hit it big, head to the very professional Launchpad (618 Central Ave. SW, 505/764-8887, www.launchpadrocks.com).
For absolutely free live music and a pool table, Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold Ave. SW, 505/247-2878, www.burtstikilounge.com, 8 p.m.–2 a.m. Mon.–Sat.) has a funky feel and a very eclectic bill, with everything from British psychedelia to reggae on the roster.
Next door is Atomic Cantina (315 Gold Ave. SW, 505/242-2200, www.atomiccantina.com), also a good bet.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition