The 3 Best Places to Drink in the Mountains

  • 01 of 04

    Nightlife in the Mountains

    Remedy Bar
    Four Seasons Vail

    The great outdoors isn’t the only thing Colorado’s mountains are known for.

    You can also head up I-70 for some of the state’s coolest new nightlife options. Prepare to be surprised – not only by the excellent drinks but in some cases, the impressive food menus.

    Here are three new places to drink and hang out in Colorado’s mountain towns, whether you are looking for craft beer, unique cocktails or local spirits. 

  • 02 of 04

    Westbound and Down

    Westbound and Down
    Caleb Peterson

    Great For: Beer-Lovers With Discerning Tastes

    Although a newbie to the craft brew scene, Westbound and Down Brewery in Idaho Springs has quickly earned a reputation as one of the state’s best up-and-comers — and that’s no easy feat.

    This brewery opened in December. 

    Beer-lovers will appreciate how brewing is treated at Westbound and Down: like an art. Every detail is accounted for, down to the different glasses each type of beer is served in. The water is 100 percent Clear Creek County snowmelt and rain run-off.

    Beers are not filtered, which makes for a unique, authentic flavor. Bubbles come from carbonating stones.

    Westbound and Down brews in a fully American-made, stainless steel brewhouse, and it’s wind-powered.

    Two favorites are the Seven Sisters Stout (with hints of dark chocolate and espresso) or the Double IPA (with flavors of pineapple, mango, and papaya). Order your favorite to go in a “crowler,” a huge can, instead of a growler.

    Even if you’re not a craft brew fanatic, the atmosphere is contemporary, sleek and sexy. It’s bright and hip and ideally located right in charming downtown, connected with historic Buffalo’s.

    While near Buffalo’s, don’t miss the opportunity to peek at its impressive, antique, carved, wooden bar, which boasts a mysterious gash in the middle of the counter. Rumor is, that’s the bullet that was shot at Billy the Kid.

    Beyond the beer, cheerful atmosphere, history and the modern updates, what really makes Westbound and Down shine is the food.

    You’ve never had bar food like this before, and definitely not at a brewery.

    Westbound and Down has the best wings in the state; we welcome any challengers. (Although fair warning: We have yet to find any hot wings that come close.) The chef won’t tell you what’s in the slightly spicy signature hot sauce (of course!), but the sprinkling of sweet sesame seeds gives the wings an unexpected yet perfect nearly-Asian twist.  

    For a sit-down dinner, try the Colorado lamb burger, served with ricotta salata, pickled onions and lemon-thyme aioli, or the Cajun-spiced Rocky Mountain Ruby Trout, served with rice and remoulade sauce.

    A naughtier bar snack is the mouth-watering green chili cheese fries, served with beer cheese, green chili and jalapenos.

    If you have space for dessert, the Big Cookie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce puts any cake to shame. It’s the perfect way to wrap up our new favorite Colorado brewery experience.

  • 03 of 04

    Remedy Bar

    Remedy Bar
    Four Seasons Vail

    Great For: Impressive Cocktails With a Matching View

    “Poison is in everything, and no thing without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.”

    You’ll find this quote inside the menu of the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail’s newest bar, The Remedy. The quote is the first hint that this nightlife option is not like anywhere else. There’s a bit of an old-fashioned speakeasy feeling to this place. One part glam, equal part Colorado casual.

    Remedy opened last summer, bringing with it a hip, new energy to the luxurious Four Seasons.

    Don’t expect run-of-the-mill cocktails here. Instead, you’ll find signature “elixirs” and “concoctions” and “potions” with surprising flavor twists — in one of the best atmospheres in the mountains. Try the Medicine Cabinet or Rosemary Gin Fizz gin drinks, the Hair of the Dog vodka drink or the Corpse Revival Bloody Mary.

    Although the bar, lounge area and tables inside Remedy are sleek, eclectic and sexy (and the massive, 165-inch screen is a popular draw to watch sports games), the best seat is outside. Grab a seat on the balcony next to one of the fire pits, with an unobstructed view of the mountainside and swimming pool. If you’re lucky, Doctor of Drinks may visit your table to make your cocktails to order, tableside.

    Even indoors, the floor-to-ceiling windows display the stunning Vail mountains, creating an outdoors-inside feel. And fireside lounging isn’t limited to the balcony. The main hall features 360-degree seating around a community fire. During happy hour (aka “Your Daily Prescription”), you will find drink specials and live music and DJs.

    Remedy isn’t limited to elixirs and potions. You can also indulge in local craft beers, a long list of wine options and an impressive whiskey selection. Look for the Après Whiskey Cart.

    Beyond the beverages, the food menu here will exceed your expectations, even for a top-notch Four Seasons’ experience. Menu items are Colorado inspired and casual, with lots of shareable plates and small bites, yet everything is full of flavor.

    Favorites include the Kevin’s Bacon Pizza, with brie, apple, pomegranate gastric, pistachios and smoked bacon, or grilled cheese on ‘shrooms. The bison pizza (with bison pepperoni) is also excellent. The Remedy Burger is made with Wagyu beef. For a shared app, you can’t beat the spicy tuna huarache: ahi tuna, sriracha aioli and pickled jalapeño served with tortilla crisps.

    Save room for dessert. The hot chocolate here, made with melted Swiss chocolate and a chantilly creme, has been named one of the top hot chocolates in the world.

    Book your stay at the Four Seasons in Vail here.

  • 04 of 04

    The 10th Mountain Tasting Room

    Vail whiskey
    Aimee Heckel

    Great For: Local Spirits in a Relaxed Atmosphere

    Vail’s 10th Mountain Whiskey and Spirit Company is known throughout Colorado as one of the top micro-distilleries. But what people may not realize is you can enjoy a tasting of the different spirits, along with an educational (and entertaining) tour about their history and qualities, at the tasting room right in the heart of downtown Vail.

    Even though this is in high-end Vail, don’t expect anything fancy or glitzy. In fact, that’s what makes this tasting room so appealing. It’s small, cozy, dim with just a short bar, a handful of tables and a couch area.

    Walls are lined with merch (10th Mountain has ​a local cult following to back it all up) and historical gear and photos, a reminder of the distillery’s namesake. It’s named after the 10th Mountain Division, soldiers trained in mountain and winter warfare at nearby Camp Hale during World War II. Go ahead and ask the bartender for the history and some stories; they come prepared to talk about the alcohol, as well as the region and background.

    The tasting room is casual and chill, the perfect place to pop in after skiing for a secret hangout of the locals. This place is purely about the booze. There’s no food, other than bowls of pretzels. No cocktails either. This alcohol is meant to be consumed pure.

    Try samples of rye, bourbon, vodka, aperitif and moonshine.

    Stretch back on the couch and enjoy the spirits leisurely in this quiet environment. If you like what you taste (and we think you will), you buy bottles and products on site.

    Think of the 10th as a bar, without the bar scene. If you like dark pubs and holes in the wall, but want to experience that environment in an upscale, classy atmosphere, you’ll settle right in here. It’s only fitting; this spirit company aims to be an extension of the mountain lifestyle.