The beats go on at Socorro establishments


As summer temperatures rise area residents can be found ducking into several local venues to cool off while enjoying rockin’ food and music.

Recession or not, people still find a need to seek out quality entertainment and there are several restaurateurs that are happy to oblige. These music hot spots provide a generous sampling of music for those with discriminating tastes. A few of the restaurateurs who provide music are also musicians themselves and love sharing their passion with the public.

Denise Eilers, owner of The Stage Door Grill, looks forward to music nights at her restaurant.

“We are definitely into it,” Eilers said.

Both Denise Eilers and her husband, Terry, are musicians-turned-restaurateurs. Denise plays the bass guitar, and Terry plays lead guitar and harmonica. Terry Eilers also writes most of the music for their band, Huckaby Junction. The Stage Door hosts live music three to four nights per week from 7:30 p.m. until closing. On Friday nights, Huckaby Junction performs as the house band for an hourlong set starting at 7 p.m. After that, the band invites musicians in the crowd to get up on stage and jam.

Dinner reservations are strongly recommended at the Stagedoor Grill.

“We get a lot of people who play original music, as well as local and touring musicians,” said Terry Eilers.

Although the Eilers’ restaurant business has had a successful two-year run, Terry Eilers feels that live music venues are struggling.

“Live music has taken a hit. It’s difficult when you bring in live music (to a venue), because people can listen to what they want on their iPods,” said Terry Eilers. “We do OK. You really have to work to make it a success.”

On the other end of the music venue spectrum, the management of Socorro Springs Brewing Company has decided to tone down their live entertainment. The brew pub is currently hosting live music every Saturday, from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. Once winter sets in, live music will be more sporadic.

Assistant manager Johnny Dean handles all of the bookings for the restaurant and explained the reason for the reduction in music.

“It’s difficult to handle the music in the winter because we’re so busy,” he said.

Dean also said that the popular eatery was happy to pass on their music clientele to the Stage Door Grill.

“The Stage Door is more into it than we are,” Dean said.

In San Antonio, N.M., the Buckhorn Tavern reigns supreme when it comes to live blues music. The tavern is also famous for it’s green chile cheeseburgers and grilling Food Network front man Bobby Flay at a recent cooking competition.

The tavern hosts a variety of live blues music every other Monday, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Owner Bobby Olguin is also a musician and veteran restaurateur. Olguin says that his family’s restaurant has been known for its burgers and music since 1943.

“We’ve always had some kind of entertainment. The type of music we play, you have to go out of town to hear,” boasts Olguin.

The tavern is also a popular resting place for Bosque del Apache volunteers and visitors. Many of the visitors come from states that host the type of blues music that can be heard at the tavern on a regular basis, Olguin said.

Although Olguin loves the beautiful music his tavern makes, he likes things in moderation.

“Too much of a good thing is not a good thing,” he said.

The Capitol Bar – one of Socorro’s most fabled watering holes and musical hotspots – continues its tradition of rocking the Plaza with live music every Saturday, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The bar’s playlist features a blend of local and out-of-town musicians that are sure to please.

Not far from the Cap, the Manzanares Street Coffeehouse opens its doors to musicians every Sunday afternoon.

The coffee shop’s stage, although small, plays host to individual musicians and groups from 3 p.m. to close during the weekly Open Stage event. Anyone who wishes to book a spot on stage need only call Titia Barham at 575-835-0497.