Apres Ski: Where to find cozy fireside dining and drinks Santa Fe

There are a host of compelling reasons to visit Santa Fe.  The rich culture, huge blue skies, the bright food and the welcoming people to name a few. 

But for some of us it’s just something in the air.  

Just about everyone who visits The City Different during these cool months can tell you about the intoxicating “scent of Santa Fe”. 

The holiday season is a magical time of year especially so in the downtown historic district.  Come Thanksgiving weekend, the Plaza is strewn in lights; and the roofs of our adobes festively adorned with glowing “farolitas” (familiarly known as “luminaria” to most, but here in the City Different we like to call stuff, well, something different.)  And best of all, when dusk falls and temperatures drop, folks begin to light their fireplaces (here we call ‘em kivas) and thus the distinct smell of our wood of choice, Piñon, begins to waft and blanket Santa Fe all winter long. 

Piñon is an evergreen growing throughout the southwest, making up a majority of the Santa Fe National Forest. This tree has traditionally been used in New Mexico for everything from building material to arts and crafts, (it’s nuts used in recipes*) and, of course as firewood. 

And that scent calls you in to warm up in one of our many cozy watering holes and restaurants where those Piñon fires are blazing.  Longtime locals’ favorite, Del Charro is always bustling, sporting fireplaces in both the western saloon style bar as well as the “patio” dining room.  Guests warm up while chowing down on traditional local fare, including award-winning, locally sourced green chile cheeseburgers and southwestern chowder, and sipping house margaritas and craft beer.

Guests of La Posada de Santa Fe Hotel are taken back to childhood with a “s’mores bar” in front of the roaring lobby fireplace each evening.  Even if you are not staying there you can cozy up for cocktails around the fireplace in their historic Staab House bar 7 nights a week.  If you are lucky, while warming up inside and out, you can take in the sultry vocals and Spanish guitar of local legend Nacha Mendez who appears regularly.

Nestled among the adobes on the Old Santa Fe Trail across the street from the San Miguel Mission, the oldest church in America, resides the Pink Adobe.  A Santa Fe institution founded in 1944 by the spirited Rosalea Murphy, “The Pink’s” adjacent bar, The Dragon room, is the only joint in town where both you and your pooch can cozy up in front of the fire.  Relax alongside an eclectic mix of cowboys, filmmakers, artists and tourists while enjoying house libations and a constant flow of complimentary popcorn from their vintage machine.  Sorry but the cocktails are reserved for 2-legged guests only! 

The fun doesn’t stop here. Keep your eyes, and moreover, your nose open as you explore many more hidden gems in downtown Santa Fe boasting that special warmth that only comes from a crackling piñon fire. Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Draw in a deep breath.  Savor the quintessential scent of Santa Fe and follow it to your bliss.

And because the holidays aren’t complete without a brittle recipe…

Joseph Griffith