ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Starting next month, Downtown Albuquerque will be home to a little slice of Nashville.
The co-founder of an Albuquerque law firm and her longtime assistant are planning to open Downtown Albuquerque’s first country western bar. The bar, which will be known as Bourbon & Boots, will feature a mix of current and classic country western music, with live acts on Fridays and Saturdays. The bar is being built in the former home of Maloney’s Tavern, in the Crossroads building at 325 Central Avenue NW.
Developer Margaret Branch, with Branch Law Firm, said she has never opened a bar before, but as a fan of country music for decades, she said starting a country bar is something she has wanted to do for a long time. At the age of 66, she said the time has finally come.
“Time is running out,” Branch said.
Branch is developing the bar alongside Rich Baca, who works as the marketing and operations director at the firm, as well as Branch’s executive assistant. The pair, who work near downtown, said finding a space along downtown’s main drag was a priority.
“The amount of foot traffic in downtown on any night of the week is amazing,” Branch said.
Baca said the pair will take inspiration from pop-country bars in country music meccas like Austin and Nashville, with a mix of live music on the weekends, DJs during the week, and maybe a recurring karaoke night. He added that there will be plenty of room in the 4,000-square-foot bar for people to get up and dance.
“We’re not gonna be a bar where people just sit there,” Baca said.
Branch added that the bar will resemble a western saloon, with paraphernalia from art shows in Santa Fe and elsewhere. The walls are being re-textured with mahogany. As the name suggests, Baca said the cocktail menu will lean heavily on high-end bourbon, though he said beer will be available in bottles and on tap.
The bar is slated to hold a soft opening on Nov. 22, and Baca said the bar could target Thanksgiving weekend for its grand opening.
While neither Baca nor Branch have experience operating a bar, they said they’re excited for the opportunity. Downtown Albuquerque has seen its fair share of businesses come and go, but Baca added that he believes the concept will be a hit in the neighborhood.
Baca pointed to potential compatibility with other bars and restaurants in the area and a growing number of employees and residents in the neighborhood as reasons for success.
“We couldn’t be starting this at a better time,” he said.
Branch is the sister of Albuquerque Journal Editor Karen Moses.