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Howling again: Lobo Theater gets new life

The interior of the theater at the newly named Lobo Lounge and Event Center. The theater can seat 550 people and owner J. Richard Rivas said he plans to host a variety of music performances. (Photo courtesy of J. Richard Rivas)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For the past few decades Nob Hill’s Lobo Theater has served as a venue for local churches, but soon it will be getting new life as an event center and lounge.

The newly named Lobo Lounge and Event Center, at 3013 Central NE, is slated to open mid-August, according to owner J. Richard Rivas.

“This is something not only Nob Hill needs, but (also) Albuquerque and New Mexico,” he said. “… The foot traffic that we’ll be able to draw will only help all the venues that are around there, from restaurants to clothing stores to all the local little places that suffered through (installation of Albuquerque Rapid Transit) and COVID.”

Rivas said the lounge will feature drinks and decor ripped from the ’40s-like crushed velvet seating, chandelier lighting and a cocktail menu with Manhattans and martinis.

For food, Rivas said he is planning to work with nearby restaurants on a contract basis to expand the food selection, but menu items could include crème brûlée, sushi and Caesar salad.

Music will also be central to the operations with plans to host many live shows inside the 550-person theater space.

Rivas said he hopes to host several series of music with genres ranging from blues to jazz to country, and a recurring jam-style performance featuring an outside artist and local musicians.

Though the event center will regularly feature music, the lounge portion will stay open even on days without performances.

Rivas said hiring is still underway and he expects to have a staff of 25 to 30.

Pilar Martinez covers retail and commercial real estate for the Journal. She can be reached at

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