There is a brewpub about an hour south of the park but it's likely you'll be staying a half hour in the other direction. I love my local beers so did go but for lunch on my way west. At night, we preferred to enjoy nature. The sunsets are magnificent and the skies so clear at night you can touch the stars or reach for the moon.
Since it is so darn hot in White Sands during the summer, they also offer nocturnal events :)
On the weekends, one of the events they offer is a nighttime lecture about some aspect of the region. The day I was there, the lecture was about life in the gypsum sea .... I wish I could have stayed ....
Dress Code: Desert rat casual :)
The park offers sunset dune walks with a park ranger during summer weekends. This otherworldly landscape refelcts the colors of the sky ........ and glows ......
I spoke w/ another couple out there on the dunes who told me they had done this the night before .... they couldn't say enough about the surreal landscape as seen during the night.
If not for these ranger guided walks, we wouldn't have nocturnal access to the park!
Dress Code: Casual, but bring a light jacket 'just in case' as desert temperatures drop significantly after dark.
my view of New mexico in general is.."the only time New Mexico itself is beautiful is in bar lighting, dusk and dawn."