In the dusty town of Albuquerque, New Mexico, hidden in the Sawmill Market is a bespoke craft cocktail bar that was created for and by the community. We spent weeks exploring the red crags of New Mexico — its people, its art, its colors, woods and the unique smoky flavors of the local Piñon.
We met ranchers, activists and carpenters. We collected rocks, feathers and ancient arrowheads. And we discovered Vera McGinnis, a local Albuquerque legend who was a rodeo queen and a renegade, the first woman to ever wear pants during performances. In an effort to blur the lines between old and new, masculine and feminine, the West cocktail bar became a monument to Vera, with fringed menus, cut crystal glasses, strings of lights (a nod to her pearls) and leather embossing reminiscent of her horse’s saddle.
We paired blush accents with rough textures, soft music juxtaposed against the sharp scent of oak barrel-aged whiskey. These complexities painted a full picture of Vera whose sharp rebellion re-imagined the art of rodeo
When people talk about Vera, they tell the story of her last known sighting — riding off into the fuschia sunset of the Sandia Mountain on her horse. We utilized subtle touches of “sunset” in our design in a nod to Vera, and made sure all windows oriented West. Our approach here was to inspire new experiences of intrepid adventure by waving the flags of those who’ve come before.