Vail is epic, from first Gondola One to après ski. Vail has an inimitable ski mountain, and an ideal base village – two in fact: Vail Village and Lions Head. Here’s some food for thought… skiing Vail’s 5,200 acres, riding Vail’s 39 lifts, you work up an appetite and a thirst. So where to go after crushing cord on Riva Ridge, or finding freshies in the Back Bowls and Pete’s Blue Sky Basin?
Vail’s charming pedestrian ski village was modeled after The Alps best ski towns, with a clock tower, covered wooden bridge – hence the name Bridge Street, chic ski shops in chalets like Gorsuch and Pepi’s, and après ski bars that rock with live music and happy hours as skiers pour off the mountain ready to party in their ski boots.
Best après ski at Vail “cheap & deep” to “sophisticated & steep”!
Cheap & Deep Vail Apres Ski
First stop – Los Amigos is right by the Gondola One with margaritas by the pitcher, nachos and a picture perfect view of skiers descending their last run. Los Amigos is also a great ski in lunch, affordable, quick, yummy Mexican fare and you are steps to the gondola for more skiing after refueling.
Red Lion is a Vail institution for après ski, with live music, and a great location overlooking Vail’s pedestrian walkway, near the swank shops and best hotels like Lodge at Vail. This 1963 building in the heart of it all was indeed Vail’s first, and served as the ski hospital in Vail’s infancy, kinda funny as skiers medicated themselves here after skiing. Now, big shared tables, ski boots and pints of beer are the vibe here.
Vendetta’s on Bridge Street is ski bum cental, cheap & cheerful with casual comfort food – pizza and pasta. Vail’s Ski Patrol slide in for beers after sweep. Its not fancy but the food and drinks are good, well priced and the conversation is fun. Vendetta’s back terrace overlooks Vail village -perfect for sunny spring ski lunch or après ski.
Vail Brewing Co brews exceptional hand crafted beer served in their original Eagle Vail brewery, a cool environment with live local music, next door to a weed shop (excuse me, marijuana dispensary) with a food truck parked outside for après ski munchies. Vail Brewing Co, VBS to locals in the know, has a satellite Vail Village Solaris beer tasting room overlooks the central Solaris ice rink where they serve beer flights, and offer live music with a ski slope and village view from the 2nd floor post. Let the kids go skating while you sit by outside above with views of Vail’s Frontside and the village.
Shakedown Bar has live music and cheap drinks, beers & shots, in its underground location near the fountain. This places really shakes down late night with locals coming out for booze and bands.
The George is another locals joint, end of Bridge Street and below street level, drinks are under $5 and the vibe is super casual.
Classy and Sassy Après Ski In Vail
Elways at the Lodge at Vail has a great happy hour in the pedestrian Vail village, $7 drinks and small plates in honor of owner Denver Broncos revered QB John Elway #7. Tackle a $7 craft cocktail, wine or small plate in this chic Colorado bar, at the original lodging property in Vail village (and one of our faves).
Pepi’s is a plucked from the Alps, a classic Austrian pub and guesthouse, home to one of Vail’s original settlers Pepi Gramschammer. Pepi’s often has a musician playing après ski in the cozy pub. Its convivial and cozy. Pepi has passed, but the spirit lives on at this classic!
Almresi just steps from Gondola One by the fountain, by Joël’s, has fur blankets at their outdoor terrace, perfect to sit and watch the parade of skiers, and chi chi non-skiers donning fur coats and fluffy boots. Upstairs inside is a lovely alpine chalet setting and bar with traditional European fare and beverages. Show your Vail Epic Mix app and if you skied over 25k vert your first beer might be free here!
Remedy Bar at Four Seasons Vail is a chic second floor atrium bar – just the remedy if you want a craft cocktail, in a swank setting. The outdoor fire tables overlook the Four Seasons pool and spa, offering a fab view of Lindsey’s Run and Vail’s front side. Drinks are pricey but so nicey – it’s the Four Season at Vail – one of the top ski hotels in the West. Live music in the early eve is fantastic here too.
Frost, a chic bar in the Sebastian Hotel has happy hour après ski with live music and specials like Wine Wednesday & Tequila Thursday. Grab a nook and a cocktail, or a couch in the beautiful lobby, and unwind in this magical setting. The Chef may feature some delicious tapas style bites.
Terra Bistro at Vail Mountain Lodge has fabulous food and a lively happy hour every day at 5pm, après ski with tasty small plates, specially priced wines, beers, plus craft cocktails. The bartenders offer swift service and ski banter.
White Bison overlooks the babbling Gore Creek, with a great après ski happy hour, ocassional live music and a sophisticated atmosphere – hot toddies and craft cocktails on special complete the equation!
Fitz at the Manor Vail has a great happy hour, beautiful deck and good vibe.
At Lions Head, Vail’s other ski in ski out village, Garfinkle’s has a big deck for sunny days, a casual ski bar vibe and up close views of faves Simba, Bwana and Born Free – classic Vail trails. The food is pleasantly affordable and plentiful, not fancy, in this pricey ski town.
The Minturn Saloon is old school hip and happening in Minturn between Vail and Beaver Creek, the Saloon is typically full of skier that schussed the Minturn Mile “OB” out of bounds to here for beer or a celebratory margarita. Enjoy the retro ski posters and pictures on the old barn walls, with a pitcher of margs or PBR, and enjoy the free chips and salsa at après ski happy hour.
Avon is Beaver Creek’s base village town, where happy hour rocks, far less pricey than being up slope side at The Beav. Vin 48 is a chic bar here with a great happy hour daily til 6:30pm, wine, beer and cocktails deals plus special small plates all under $10. The cuisine at Vin48 is delicious and the vibe is cool.
Blue Plate next door has a chic glowing bar, an open kitchen, and half price tapas plus wines, and beer deals for happy hour, aka après ski. The Blue Plate Chef is New England raised, so he loves calamari, mussels, and frog legs specials. What’s nice about the vicinity of Vin48 and Blue Plate is if one is full, go next door, both happy hours are great deals in beautiful bar locations.
At Beaver Creek, C House and The Chop House both offer happy hour right at the base of the Centennial. Sip Champagne, enjoy oysters or beer and nachos – with a view as skier descend their last turns on Beav’s beautifully groomed slopes… life is good – not exactly roughing it as Beaver Creeks slogan says.
You can also ski over to Bachelor Gulch Ritz Carlton for après ski on their outdoor deck, often with live music, on inside the Great Room of the magnificent Timber Lodge that is the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch at Beaver Creek.
Edwards is East of Vail and Avon, with a very fun River Walk downtown, a pedestrian zone welcoming shoppers and foodies alike. Main Street Grille is in the heart of it all, the bar is usually brimming with locals – after work or après ski – always a good indicator. Main Street Grill has a fantastic affordable happy hour, drinks, burgers, tacos and nachos all well under $10. Next door is more upscale dining at Juniper. Edwards also has the popular Gashouse.