Capitol Bar & Brewery Socorro, NM
Capitol Bar & Brewery Socorro, NMmenu
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The Capitol Bar & Brewery has anchored the east end of Socorro’s historic plaza since 1896 when an Italian immigrant, Giovanni Biavaschi, used stone, adobe and brick to build a saloon in which Giovanni’s wine could be purveyed to the public. Listed on New Mexico’s register of historic buildings, the Biavaschi Saloon is shown here in a photograph from 1906.

Advertisements in the Socorro Chieftain

A winemaker from Valtellina, Italy, Giovanni was said to be a flamboyant character and con man fitting for the times who owned other establishments, as shown by these advertisements in the Socorro Chieftain.





The Lone Survivor

When Biavaschi opened his saloon in 1896, Socorro was New Mexico Territory’s largest city, home to some 3000+ people living in the undisputed capital of mining, retail trade and gambling from a silver boom and other mining.  What was later renamed the Capitol was one of 30 saloons built during this period to satisfy the influx of residents from the mining boom.  The Capitol Bar & Brewery is the only saloon that survives today.

Following the turn of the century, the Biavaschi saloon was operated by Judge Amos Green, a Justice of the Peace who held court at the bar and jailed the guilty in the back room.  Although the jail is gone, in 2021 it was transformed into the Capitol’s brewery brewing a variety of jail-themed beers. Judge Green was a colorful jurist who reportedly charged the groom for marrying according to the beauty of his bride and ended his ceremonies with the phrase "Those whom God and Amos Green have joined together, let no man put asunder." Several couples have been married in the Capitol over the years, but no statistics have been kept regarding the duration of the unions.


The Green Front

Judge Green continued to own the business until his death in 1925 but was operated beginning in 1923 by Fred Emilio and his partner Damian Padilla as a saloon and pool hall.  Emilio later painted the front brick facade green and renamed the bar the Green Front in honor of Judge Green. During Prohibition (1919-1933) the Green Front was both a pool hall and speakeasy operated by Emilio and a partner named Murray.  A trap door behind the bar led into the basement and provided escape route from the authorities, helping ensure the prosperity of the business during this period.

After Prohibition

Anticipating the end the Prohibition, Emilio sent off for his tax stamp and the Green Front became Socorro’s first legalized bar.  In 1939, ownership passed to his sons Willie and Frankie who renamed the business the Capitol Bar and moved it to the building next door.  When that building burned to the ground in 1940, the bar returned to its original home in the Biavaschi saloon building.

capitol bar and brewery Socorro, NM

The Cap

In 1963, a New Mexico Tech alumnus, Earl DeBrine, leased the Capitol from Willie Emilio and later purchased the business.  The bar’s basement became an unofficial classroom for Tech students studying subjects of both higher and lower learning. Under his proprietorship, “the Cap” as it is affectionately called, further enhanced its reputation as a favorite watering hole for Techies, locals and passers-by and is featured in “Hoist a Cold One! Historic Bars of the Southwest” and “Bucket List of Bars.”

Capitol Bar & Brewery

In 2021, Judge Green’s former jail was transformed from a pool room into a jail themed brewery, replete with a prison door and bars.   The Capitol Bar & Brewery was launched and is proudly serving 5 anchor beers and seasonal brews.  It includes the historical main long bar, a public house and café with a live music stage, serving pizza with locally grown green chile, a variety of panini sandwiches, artisan coffee and espresso. The Capitol’s unparalleled patio, shaded by large cottonwood tree, is dog and kid friendly.