In early June, Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) worked with city and state officials to create and pass an initiative allowing businesses to expand their existing patios or create makeshift patios if they didn’t already have one. With the Governor’s most recent public health orders once again prohibiting indoor dining, the breweries that have taken advantage of that permit initiative are grateful that they did.
“Our patio has been a lifeline for us,” said John Gozigian, co-owner of La Reforma Brewery, which was the first brewery/restaurant to apply for a long-term temporary patio permit. “We’ve been getting a lot of use out of our patio and our customers have been super appreciative.”
Editor’s note: After these interviews were conducted over email, the City of Albuquerque announced its Outdoor Dining Grant Funding Program, which should further help breweries and restaurants expand their patios.
So far, more than a half-dozen breweries have been been approved through the permitting process, which has gone surprisingly smoothly for most of them.
“Everyone from the fire marshal to the permitting office to ABC, everyone seemed dead focused on getting our applications through post haste … I was truly shocked by the efficiency of the process,” La Cumbre owner/master brewer Jeff Erway said.
Obtaining a permit is only the first part of the journey, as expanding a patio (or creating one out of nowhere) takes a lot of coordination.
“Getting the tent, barricades, tables, planters and every other thing we needed in at the same time was a good exercise in logistical discipline,” Erway said.
Tractor Brewing was lucky enough to have much of what was needed to get their patio expansion up and running at the Wells Park taproom, said co-owner and president Skye Devore.
“It is a great use for our now obsolete event equipment,” she said.
Allowing for more outdoor space may not completely make up for the lack of indoor seating, but it is often better than not being able to serve at all.
“Now that we’re restricted to outdoor service only, we are in the process of doubling our patio which should keep us at about 75-to-80-percent (capacity),” Gozigian said.
Some places, like Palmer Brewery and Cider House, were unfortunately unable to make patio-only service a profitable investment, but owner/brewer Rob Palmer said he is happy to report they are still open for business.
“The capacity would not be enough for us to open up with just a patio,” he said. “We will be doing to-go sales twice a week like we were before (on) Tuesdays and Fridays.”
Even though the summer heat usually drives patrons to retreat into the air conditioning, breweries are doing their best to make their patios as comfortable as can be with tents, misting systems, music, and even wi-fi.
“With 100-plus-degree heat, it was a pretty rough weekend on the patios, but we’ll be installing misters as soon as we can get them in,” Erway said.
So put on your mask, leave the dog at home (still no pets allowed on patios), and continue to support the businesses below that are doing everything they can to help you safety enjoy your pints.
Breweries with expanded patio seating (as of Saturday). If there are any we have missed, please let us know:
- Boxing Bear Brewing (West Downtown Taproom: Mon-Thurs 2-10 p.m., Fri-Sun noon-10 p.m.)
- Bow and Arrow Brewing (Mon-Weds 3-9 p.m., Thurs noon-9 p.m., Fri-Sat noon-10 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.)
- Brew Lab 101 (Mon-Thurs 3-10 p.m., Fri-Sat 2-10 p.m., Sun 2-8 p.m.)
- La Cumbre Brewing (Brewery Taproom: open daily noon–10 p.m.)
- La Reforma Brewery (open daily 11 a.m.–9 p.m.)
- Marble Brewery (Downtown Taproom: open daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)
- Quarter Celtic Brewpub (Heights Taproom: open daily noon–8 p.m.)
- Red Door Brewing (Candelaria Brewery Taproom: Weds–Fri 3-9 p.m., Sat-Sun noon-9 p.m.)
- Tractor Berewing (Wells Park Taproom: Tues-Weds 4-8 p.m., Thurs-Sat 4-9 p.m.)