In a town of about 204 residents, you might not expect to find the longest bar in New Mexico, but that’s just one of many unexpected features of Madrid.
Pronounced “MAD-drid,” this former mining town may have been reborn as an artists’ community, but remnants of its history are pervasive. The Mine Shaft Tavern, originally opened in 1897 and rebuilt following a fire in 1947, features a 40-foot pine bar built for the miners to spread out across the space after a long day in the mines. The town’s watering hole features a tunnel leading to the front door, a rail train parked outside, and a mining museum on the property featuring a collection of historic artifacts.
Both the bar and the town are rumored to host a few ghosts. Some say that it was Madrid’s role in providing the coal that helped fuel the secret home of the Manhattan Project that led to its haunting. Mine Shaft employees are generous with their firsthand accounts of ghost stories, and ghost-hunters frequent the location.
Decorating the space are colorful vignettes painted by Tinkertown folk artist Ross Ward, as well as hand-decorated dollar bills lining the walls. It’s a custom for visitors to decorate a dollar bill while they’re enjoying a margarita or the award-winning MadChile burger, and then gift it to the bar to display. It’s estimated that there are thousands of dollars in decorated bills on the walls.
Today, the Mine Shaft Tavern is a lively space that hosts bands on weekends, theater performances in its Engine House Theater, and an annual Christmas parade led by a yak.