One for the Road: Ski Towns

Traditionally, ski towns have been known for the quality of their snow and the speed of their chairlifts. And if you were lucky, there was a serviceable bar with a fireplace where you could warm up. But that’s fortunately changing. A couple years ago, we featured some high-altitude watering holes that were worth the price of a lift ticket, and we’ve recently found even more excellent après-ski spots. Now it’s time to hit the slopes!

Black’s Pub, 4270 Mountain Square, Whistler, B.C., 604 932 6945:

This Canadian bar’s drinks list definitely deserves a double black diamond. There are nearly three dozen classic cocktails, plus 31 Scotches and almost 100 beers. That’s not to mention that it’s literally steps from the Whistler Blackcomb Excalibur gondola that takes you to the top of the slopes. Yes, the slopes that were used for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
What to drink: Daiquiri (Havana Club Añejo Reserva Rum, lime juice, house-made falernum)

Justice Snow’s, 328 East Hyman Avenue, Aspen, Colo., 970 429 8192:

Located inside the historic Wheeler Opera House, this gastropub has only been open a year but has already made a big impression. It has a large selection of both original and familiar concoctions, and there is also a wide variety of whiskey, tequila and brandy available by the glass.
What to drink: Antarctique (Boca Loca Cachaça, St-Germain, Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth, Ramazzotti Amaro, pineapple juice, quail egg, rhubarb & black walnut bitters)

Kelly Liken, 12 Vail Road, Vail, Colo., 970 479 0175:

Local and seasonal ingredients are the signature of this elegant restaurant in ritzy Vail. And the joint’s bar chefs take after their kitchen counterparts, utilizing an array of house-made tinctures and syrups as well as Colorado-produced spirits.
What to drink: Winter Spicetice (cardamom-infused CapRock Gin, Lillet Blanc, house-made maple masala syrup)

McGrath’s Irish Pub, 709 Route 4, Killington, Vt., 800 325 2540:

Just a quarter-mile from the base of Pico Mountain is the rustic Inn at Long Trail. Its welcoming pub offers authentic Irish hospitality and an impressive 18 Irish whiskies. (It also claims to sell more Guinness than any other establishment in Vermont.) Stop by on a Friday or Saturday night for live Gaelic music.
What to drink: Guinness and a shot of Irish whiskey

The Rose, 50 West Broadway Avenue, Jackson, Wy., 307 733 1500:

Judging from the speakeasy-chic décor and menu of punches and other vintage elixirs decorated with Victorian-style pencil sketches, The Rose (pictured above) wouldn’t be out of place in Manhattan. Which makes sense, since the beverage program was created by David Kaplan and Alex Day of New York’s famed Death & Company. (Kaplan, incidentally, was raised in Jackson Hole and considers it home.)
What to drink: Ten Cent Claude (Four Roses Bourbon, house-made Darjeeling tea syrup, orange, lemon, Angostura Bitters)

Looking for more great watering holes? Check out our bar guide for the best bars in the world.

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Comments

  1. Ron Cooper says

    The mother of all Hi Mountain Watering Holes has to be Jimmy’s in Aspen!

    Truly great cocktails and the best hospitality!

    • Thank you Ron. I couldn’t agree more ;).
      As we enter our 17th year in business we continue to be very proud of what we do as well as what we represent. We offer a great cocktail culture with a wide array of all spirits, contemporary and classic cocktails, in a high volume, fun and energetic bar scene. I encourage all who visit Aspen to come by and experience what Food & Wine Magazine rated as one of the best 50 Bars in America.
      Thank you.

  2. Seth Schreiner says

    These bars are great, but missing so many of the classic Ski Bars out there. The cocktails may not be world class, but that’s not exactly what they are about. Places like The Snorting Elk in Crystal, Wa. where I shoveled snow off a roof for free beers, to the Matterhorn in Stowe. There’s also such fine establishments as The Cottonwood in Truckee, CA., the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson and General Stark’s Bar at Mad River Glen.

    Skiing and drinking have always been cousins, but at the end of a long day a beer and a whiskey and some good friends are about the only things you need as you turn over the day in your mind

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