Billy's Long Bar

[NM Flag]

Offering the largest selection of draught beers in Albuquerque means it's worth a visit to Billy's Long Bar. The fact that the beers are consistently fresh and something is usually on special means it's worth visiting often. Long known as an Albuquerque watering hole, the parking lot is usually a sea of pickup trucks, Harleys and sports cars. Continuous improvement in the interior design has led to the long bar and single row of tables now being connected to two small windowed areas facing the street, one with two well-lit dartboards and one with a second serving bar, both feature long raised tables able to accommodate groups of a dozen or two. The newly added front patio sports a retractable top and sides and should see lots of action with the advent of warm weather. Inside the mood is set by the numerous TVs tuned to sporting events and a radio dialed into local Rock & Roll radio stations. Overhead, promotional beer merchandise dangles just out of reach while the surrounding wooden walls are plastered with signed sports posters. A ceiling-mounted "smoke eater" does a good enough job that green plants positioned beneath the small skylights live and even thrive.

At first glance the customers may seem to be just another Bud Light/Coors Light swilling crowd but a close examination yields what sets Billy's apart from the mega-pushing bars. 50 taps line the wall behind the bar and the beer menu lists another 72 bottled brands available. A chalkboard greets visitors with the daily drink specials and often a distributor-sponsored event is occurring that involves merchandise give-always and tasting opportunities. Competition is fierce for tap handles but locals and seasonals from regional micros often get their chance to make an impression. Hot sandwiches are available and if corporate greed could take a holiday, the adjacent space from a defunct Pizza Hut could offer future expanded seating that now tops out at 150. Billy's draws people from all around for numerous reasons and although the state may someday close the popular drive-through window they can't destroy the reputation this establishment has of employing the most attractive yet beer-savvy waitresses in town. Whatever your initial interest, make a first visit to Billy's Long Bar and it likely won't be your last.

Billy's Long Bar
4800-C San Mateo Blvd. N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - April, 1998

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