A new bar in Nob Hill has a speakeasy feel without the passwords and pretentiousness.
Z Lounge inside Hotel Zazz, 3711 Central Ave. NE, has a “come as you are” welcoming with a ’60s and ’70s vibe. Its menu has everything from cheap beer to exhilarating cocktails and creative takes on boilermakers. Food trucks are available Tuesday through Saturday.
“We don’t want to call ourselves a speakeasy, but we’re a dope bar with a really dope door,” said Nohelani Ader, director of operations. “It’s just really fun. It is a little hidden, but we essentially don’t want to be hidden, if that makes sense. We definitely want customers. We want people to know who we are. So we always just let people know, entry is through the hotel lobby, and we have a bunch of great cocktails.”
Z Lounge is open every day from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and its ambiance is inviting.
“We are like a living room and the bar is the kitchen,” Ader said. “We are a home away from home, come as you are. I always like to kind of joke around and say we are just a bunch of kids who are left at home alone, parents are gone, and we’re just throwing amazing parties every day. So that’s kind of our vibe. We have really good music (and) a really good sound system. So being loud or being quiet, we find different vibes every night. So it’s just a nice at home vibe.”
There is a place for you at Z Lounge whether you are dressed to the nines or sporting something casual.
“We are definitely more of like, if you get off of work, come and have a drink,” Ader said. “We’re definitely a hot little date spot right now, which is really fun. It’s cute. There’s no real live TV. So you are in company with the bartenders and the people who you bring. (It’s) definitely like a community bar, which is really exciting.”
Z Lounge’s libations suit its surroundings.
“There’s a story with each cocktail, essentially,” Ader said. “… It’s just kind of based off a memory, a vibe. The cocktail that I came up with is a little bit more on the tropical end, which complements who I am as a person … And so there’s different personalities with each cocktail.”
One of the top sellers is the Bronson Daiquiri, which is a “beautiful” daiquiri made with a little bit of amaro.
“There’s this beautiful froth that it gives off naturally without using any egg whites, any type of additives,” Ader said. “It is just the amaro that we use that gives it a good foamy texture, which is a beautiful cocktail. The next most popular cocktail is going to be the Princess … It’s definitely a vegan milk punch that is on the tropical end. It is a very beautiful, complex layered cocktail that is made with tequila, lychee, passionfruit, coconut milk, a little bit of salt and yerba mate tea. And of course, Thai bitters, which kind of gives it a slight edamame vibe to it.”
Another popular portion of the drink menu features specialty shots and boilermakers that are similar to a beer and shot combo.
“We’re very popular for our creativity when it comes to names,” Ader said. “On the boilermaker side, we have a High Noon, which is like a vodka seltzer with a shot of vodka. We call it Must Be This Tall To Enter. We have like a Coors Banquet and it’s like an amaro shot and it’s called Crying in the Walk In … Off of our specialty shooter shots, we have one that’s called The Devil Wears Nada, which is like a mini martini shot.”
The lounge plans to add more information about its offerings on its Facebook and Instagram pages, @hotelzazz, and at zloungeabq.com.
When the weather heats up there are plans to hold events around Hotel Zazz’s pool area.
“If you booked directly with the hotel, when spring and summer hits, you will have full access to the pool,” Ader said. “Eventually it is open to the public. For people who are guests of the hotel and the lounge, we will probably have to have some type of reservation system. But essentially, we’re not charging anyone for covers when that happens. And you can definitely order drinks at the pool. It’s gonna be really exciting … There’s definitely a lot of fun that’s about to happen when it warms up.”