The 10 Best Live Music Venues in New Mexico!

New Mexico’s music scene is as inviting and varied as the state. Music can be as integral to our moods as, say, our favorite foods. It lifts our spirits, brings us to-gether and, based on what we like listening to, defines who we are. So, if you find yourself in New Mexico, sing, hum, clap along with other music lovers at 10 of the best music venues in the state.

1. Sunshine Theater, Albuquerque, NM

A step into this popular live music venue blends the past with the present. The 1924 building, on the National Register of Historic Places and a landmark in downtown Albuquerque, has been a place of entertainment since its inception. This small, intimate site draws national artists and notable acts. A great place to see your favorite independent, rock touring bands up-close-and-personal. General admission and standing room only on concert nights. No smoking.

2. Cowgirl BBQ, Santa Fe, NM

Just blocks from the rail yard near downtown Santa Fe, you’ll find a casual dining restaurant that serves up outstanding live music six nights a week. A wide variety of performers includes bands and singers from the local music scene, as well as national touring musicians, who rock the courtyard for diners and dancers alike Tuesday through Sunday. Award-winning lunch and dinner options paired with on-tap handcrafted beer round out the experience. Plus, Monday is karaoke night!

3. Molly’s Bar, Tijeras, NM

What started off as a popular place for travelers, has become a place where locals and visitors hang out as friends. This cozy roadside tavern has been around, in one form or another, since the 1940s, providing a spot for bands to jam. A small, outdoor patio and amphitheater hosts an eclectic selection of live music from local and touring bands. The tunes move inside with the cold weather, but the lively tempo doesn’t change. At Molly’s, the slogan is “First and Always the Best!” For half a century, they’ve stayed true to this. Open Tuesday through Saturday.

4. The Mine Shaft Tavern, Madrid, NM

This coal mining town is full of history and the Tavern sits right in the middle of it. Once considered a ghost town, it’s now a thriving community that brings folk and blues bands, rock, bluegrass and New Mexico roots music to the terrace of this distinctive bar and restaurant. The music happens on weekends, inside, outside and in their amphitheater, from a wide-ranging selection of solo and group per-formers, both local and those just coming through. Don’t miss the Crawdaddy Blues Fest every May. Open seven days a week. Open mic night for aspiring musicians.

5. The Dirty Bourbon Dance Hall & Saloon, Albuquerque, NM

From its western name to its western themed environment—staff dresses in period costume—to the bands that perform here, this place stays true to its country western focus. You’ll find live music from new and popular country bands and solo performers, as well as performances from favorites that have been around awhile. Plenty of room to belly up to the two 54-foot main bars and to do a little line dancing or country two-stepping on the 1,300-square-foot dance floor. Dance lessons on certain nights. Open Tuesday through Saturday.

6. KTAOS Solar Center, Taos, NM

Just on the outskirts of Taos is this festival-style live music venue adjacent to two of the region’s most popular radio stations. Here you’ll find world class live music from local favorites to cover bands to well-known artists playing everything from reggae to rock to country. Billed as the community’s back yard, the rolling lawn is a great place to listen to music in the great outdoors. The climate-controlled pa-vilion tent features the largest dance floor in northern New Mexico, perfect for concerts regardless of weather. Full-service bar and restaurant on site. 

7. Pecos Flavors Winery, Roswell, NM

Just like the wine found here, the live music offerings are representative of the flavor of New Mexico. In this intimate setting, hand-picked performers, the likes of which you won’t find elsewhere, play in this welcoming setting. On any given night, you’ll hear the cool vibe of anything from country to folk to blues to rock in the friendly and inviting atmosphere of this wine and beer bar. Pull up a chair and stay and listen for a while.

8. El Patio Cantina, Mesilla, NM

As the oldest bar in New Mexico, it’s been hosting local, national and international bands for almost a century. Most nights, there’s a live band on stage—blues, hip hop, rock, country, rockabilly, honkytonk—a broad-based range of music styles. It may look funky at first glance, but it’s got a lot of history behind it— Blues Brothers, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, stopped by one night and played a couple of sets with the featured band. A favorite of locals, college students and travelers looking for an out-of-the-way spot for music and a meal.

9. El Farol Restaurant & Cantina, Santa Fe, NM

This night spot and restaurant basks in the warmth and light that comes from being the city’s oldest eating establishment. It brings the best of Santa Fe’s musicians to its intimate stage, along with touring blues, rock, soul, Latin jam, reggae and salsa bands. The late-night music scene happens seven days a week, wrapping up around midnight. On the weekend, the flamenco dancing performance will have you toe-tapping along. A landmark in the Santa Fe entertainment scene. A place where a love for music brings locals and visitors together. 

10. Taos Mesa Brewing, Taos, NM

A Quonset hut with great acoustics, an indoor and two outdoor stages, a dance floor and a spectacular view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains makes this venue just east of the Rio Grande Gorge an amazing spot for music lovers. Factor in an amphitheater that can accommodate big crowds and you’ve got a great place for the diverse bands, both local and visiting, that come to play here. Whether you like blues, country, rock and roll, alternative, reggae or jazz, you’ll find your music niche here … and some great beer. Open seven days a week.

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