“PEOPLE ASK WHY we don’t have an Open sign,” says Amy Wright, sous chef at the Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House, in Pinos Altos. Then again, neon doesn’t fit the aesthetic of the 1865 adobe in the historic mining village north of Silver City. Once one of eight bars in the boom town, the Buckhorn also functioned as a brothel until about 1970. The surest way to know whether the Buckhorn is open is to pop your head in. “From the outside, you’d not expect what’s inside,” says Katie Alecksen, bartender and manager. In winter, a whiff of the mountain air tinged with smoke from a wood-burning fireplace gives away its location. Many nights, another sign of life wafts through that entryway: live music from local acts and open-mic performers. “Once people find this place, they come back again and again,” she says.

Try this: The green chile stew ($15). “You can’t go wrong with that,” says Wright. Founded: 1865. Region: Southwest. Price: $$$$. buckhornsaloonandoperahouse.com