The 10 Best Après-Ski Bars in the USA

The Bavarian, in Taos, New Mexico, is a hotspot for post-ride beers
The Bavarian, in Taos, New Mexico, is a hotspot for post-ride beers | © Dan Leeth / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Kirsten Nicholas
24 September 2020

After an epic day on the mountain, nothing feels quite as good as settling down with friends for a beer, with pumping tunes on a sunlit terrace, while you relay the day’s adventures and mishaps. Europe has a seriously kicking après-ski scene, but Aspen, Vail and Jackson Hole are among many in America that offer some stiff competition.

Ajax Tavern in Aspen, Colorado

Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$
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Come mid-afternoon, you won’t need to message your friends to find them – just head to Ajax Tavern next to the Silver Queen Gondola. It’s Aspen’s go-to après-ski bar for beers, music and laughter as the sun goes down. Soak up the beer with the Ajax wagyu double cheeseburger and truffle fries.

The Bag and Kettle Restaurant in Carrabassett Valley, Maine

Bar, Pub, Restaurant, Pub Grub, $$$
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Having been in business for more than 50 years, the Bag and Kettle is a famed microbrewery serving its own craft beers to thirsty locals and Sugarloaf Mountain skiers. Even though it feels a little like an old English pub, it prides itself on serving the grilled-to-perfection Bag burger, complete with melted cheese and house sauce. Live music events give this place a buzzy vibe. You’ll come for drinks, but stay for dinner.

Bavarian Lodge in Taos, New Mexico

Restaurant, German, $$$
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While abundant skiing and cold weather may seem like a foreign concept to New Mexico, Taos Ski Valley, in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, is home to the Bavarian Restaurant. Decked out like a European chalet, it serves German cuisine with lederhosen-clad wait staff. Come early to glug a giant stein of lager on the terrace – it fills up fast on sunny weekends.

Garfinkel’s in Vail, Colorado

Bar, Restaurant, American, $$$
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At the base of Lionshead Village is Vail hotspot Garfinkel’s, a typical American restaurant that serves dozens of Colorado craft beers on tap, plus nachos, burgers and buffalo wings. The large terrace, overlooking the mountains, is popular in summer and winter with après-mountain crowds relaxing after skiing, mountain biking or white-water rafting. Stick around long enough to see a rowdy evening crowd abuse the infamous shot wheel.

Le Chamois & the Loft Bar in Squaw Valley, California

Bar, Pub Grub
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Another cornerstone of North American après-ski is Le Chamois & the Loft Bar near Lake Tahoe in Squaw Valley, California. Founded in 1969, its wildly popular buddy passes make drinking beer easy – $100 gets a group 20 pints of good, old-fashioned Budweiser. These drinking deals, combined with pizza and wings, as well as retro ski decor and California sun, make leaving Le Chamois harder than getting up the next day to hit the slopes.

Mangy Moose in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Bar, Nightclub, Cocktails
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Established in 1967, the Mangy Moose at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is one of North America’s best après-ski destinations, known for spicy margaritas, pitchers of craft beer and live music from 4pm to 7pm. Enjoy a cold brew, a slightly rowdy crowd and a beautiful mountain view as Mangy Moose caters to its après-ski crowd with a special menu and four floors of foods, drinks and merchandise.

Mi Casa in Breckenridge, Colorado

Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
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The small ski town of Breckenridge has several great après-ski options. There are popular lodges at the base of each peak on Breckenridge, yet many riders prefer to go into town after a day on the mountain. Stop by Mi Casa for a happy hour margarita, tacos and wings baskets to satisfy your post-ski cravings.

No Name Saloon in Park City, Utah

Bar, American, $$$
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In the middle of Park City’s historic Main Street, No Name Saloon, a rustic red-brick bar, offers juicy bison burgers, cold beers and an impressive whiskey menu. The games and revelry continue off the mountain as locals and tourists vie for a spot on the shuffleboard table or a seat in front of the fire. When the place fills up, pop upstairs to the outdoor patio for a view over Park City.

Wobbly Barn in Killington, Vermont

Bar, Restaurant, Nightclub, American, $$$
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Since opening in 1963, the Wobbly Barn has earned many accolades as one of America’s best après-ski bars. Constructed from repurposed New England barns, the Wobbly Barn is located on the main Killington thoroughfare. Live music kicks off happy hour at 6pm on Fridays and Saturdays, plus there’s a free shuttle service from anywhere on the Killington Access Road. Stay for a prime rib or porterhouse steak and fries before hitting the nightclub.

The Snorting Elk Cellar in Crystal Mountain, Washington

Pub, Bar, Pub Grub
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Don’t American après-ski bars have the best names? Styled like an Austrian chalet, the Snorting Elk Cellar opened its doors in December 1965 and has been bustling with skiers ever since. There are 18 locally brewed beers on tap, including the special Elk Frost from the Elysian Brewing Company, plus it hosts annual ’70s costume and retro ski-wear parties. Don’t miss out!

Additional reporting by Nina Zietman

These recommendations were updated on September 24, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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