’Tis the season for hitting the slopes, followed by craft cocktails and Vermont’s finest lagers. Don’t worry if you’re not so into the whole skiing thing though, après life is open to all in these parts.
Considering that Vermont (home of the Green Mountains) has the kind of powder skiers and snowboarders live for in New England, there are great expectations for happy hour post-run options. Luckily, they don’t disappoint.
With multiple ski-in, ski-out resorts such as Stowe, Mount Snow, Jay Peak, Okemo, and Smuggler’s Notch, to name a few, there are countless cozy places to imbibe. Whether you’re going for casual light bites and brews al fresco, or a fancy afternoon by a roaring fire, here’s where you should sip and be seen in VT.
Mulligan’s is one of the first places you hear about whenever you ask anyone where to après ski after a day of shredding in Stratton. Imagine a non-assuming watering hole in a beautiful slopeside village and then add a classic American menu to the mix and you have a winner.
It’s upscale without being pretentious and its extensive wine and ale list is what keeps loyal fans coming back… that and the crazy good French onion soup.
As far as the rest of the menu goes, there are tons of options to choose from for adults and kids alike: lobster, sushi, prime rib, and a raw bar all have their places, as do VT cheddar cheese curds, wood-fired flatbreads, fall-off-the-bone ribs, and perfectly golden fish and chips.
Afterward, you can wash everything down with one of the after-dinner dessert cocktails because warming up before heading back out into the cold is the best way to cap off a meal.
Topnotch Resort’s lobby bar and restaurant, The Roost, is always a good time. Once 4 p.m. rolls around, it’s filled to the brim with locals and tourists relaxing after a long day crushing trails.
Inside you can find the bar conveniently located next to the shuffleboard table, along with oversized couches perfect for sinking into with a plate of Roost General Tso's wings or the Maple BBQ version.
It also offers an outdoor “patio living room” with even more seating under the pergola, next to the fire pit, or over by the bocce court and reflecting pool.
Just make sure you don’t leave without sampling the famed “Mr. Figgy” libation (made with fig, maple-infused bourbon, and a slice of Vermont maple caramelized bacon) or Stowe’s beloved craft beer with a cult following, Heady Topper from The Alchemist.
Après doesn’t get much better than in the middle of the action at Roaring Brook Umbrella Bar in Killington. Located at the base of Superstar trail, it’s the perfect meeting spot because there’s no missing the giant yellow umbrellas.
With a rowdy German beer garden vibe and a cozy heated floor, you can easily spend the afternoon (or entire day) here, especially given the fun atmosphere and opportunities to make a million new friends. The bar is also known for its killer bloody Marys and super friendly staff.
Refuel after a morning on Mount Snow at Cuzzins. Open daily for lunch, it has microbrews aplenty on tap, burgers, wraps, and sandwiches (plus mountainous salads) coming out of the kitchen, and a party scene so epic, saying goodbye is almost impossible at the end.
Start with the Angus Steak chunky chili, followed by the grilled mahi-mahi sandwich (with lemon dill mayo, french fries, and a garlic dill pickle), and don’t forget the libations… you can’t go wrong with a von Trapp Pilsner, Champlain Cider, or Mount Snow IPA.
There’s even live music on the weekends and holiday weeks (local favorite Bruce Jacques is a regular). Basically no trip to Mount Snow is complete without coming here.
When you want a chill spot with affordable prices, huge portions, juke-box tunes, and low-fuss good eats, head to Tom’s Loft Tavern.
In fact, Tom’s is so popular, the only downside is being able to find a parking spot. Luckily, it’s within walking distance of the base so you can literally make a left, spot the sign out front that reads “Home of warm beer, lousy food, and grumpy owner” and belly up to the bar in minutes.
Don’t be fooled by the "lousy food" advertisement though. The nachos, poutine, and Reuben are hits here, and Tom smokes his own meat. It also has a ton of local drafts, a game area for kids on the third floor, and pages of positive online reviews, so you know it’s legit.