The Owl Bar is definitely worth a stop if you are travelling the road between El Paso and Albuquerque. Don't be put off by its somewhat forbidding exterior. Inside there is wonderful ambience, dimly lit, with old wooden booths in both rooms and a venerable bar. The servers are real characters and some seem to have worked there for years.
The hamburgers, chile, and fries are all good but don't expect a long menu: this is basically a great bar that offers really good hamburgers. The green chiles are very spicy and taste like homemade.
Roadfood enthusiasts will be taken aback when they enter San Antonio to find another local bar, the Buckhorn Tavern, which is touted for its green chile cheeseburgers by the Food Network. This is actually also a very good place, with nice ambience, occasional live music, and an owner larger than life. There are sometimes more people at the Buckhorn but locals seem to favor the Owl. The cheeseburgers at Buckhorn are quite thick and take much longer to cook so choose the Owl if you are in a hurry. Some say the green chiles are canned here and they are certainly not as hot.
Rather than take sides I just take my hat off to San Antonio for having two nationally recognized hamburger palaces!
"The quality of chile makes all the difference in a green chile cheeseburger. The Owl uses full-flavored, hot green chile atop a hand-formed patty of crusty-fried beef. The chile's heat is complemented by the beef and balanced by the layer of creamy cheese on top. This one is fully dressed with all available condiments -- the only way to go."
"The Owl's green chile turns ordinary french fries into a memorable side dish."
"The view from my counter seat gives a small hint of the, shall we say, eclectic decor at this extremely colorful roadhouse."
"Just a couple of minutes off I-25 south of Socorro, the Owl Bar is a must-stop location for any traveler in search of unique regional specialties."