We've been meaning to write this article for a while, and realized there was no one better suited to the task than our very own Smitty. Here are the top 5 ski bars according to Smitty - which means they're the top 5 ski bars in the world.
Thunder Saddle Bar in Monte Wolfe’s Mtn Kitchen (Kirkwood, CA):
After one of my deployments to the Middle East, I spent an entire ski season in South Lake Tahoe. A long time ski buddy and best friend, Seth Kline, had moved to San Francisco the season before. He and the group of friends he skied with had made Kirkwood their home mountain. Being new to the California ski scene, the higher altitude, and the Sierra Cement, my quiver of East Coast skis and I didn’t make it past 11 o’clock the first few weeks. I found myself bellying up to the bar waiting for the crew. The bartender Patrick and I became quick friends and I became a very big fan of his signature drink… The Patty Melt. It was a special mix of Tuaca, Baileys, Godiva, Frangelico, Kahlua, hot chocolate or coffee or both. If you were feeling froggy you could get a McPatty Melt, just add a shot of Jameson! It was amazing and just what I needed to push me through those early days. RIP Seth… miss ya bud!
The Matterhorn Ski Bar (Sunday River, ME)
This is by far one of my favorite quintessential ski bars. From the old school skis on the walls and actually in the bar top, to the skiing paraphernalia on display all over the bar area, this place just oozes that local Après vibe. They have a great selection of beer and if you’re one of the lucky ones - like I was when I worked at Sunday River - you can get your own mug as part of their mug club. You’re not a true local at any ski bar if you don’t have your own mug all stickered out and full of your favorite drink!
The Cellar Pub (Sun Valley, Idaho)
On a 3 week cross country road trip checking off some bucket list ski resorts, my buddy Kevin and I stumbled into this place walking around the quiet town of Ketchum, Idaho. Located below street level and dimly lit, this place felt like all of our favorite bars back home. It was midweek around 9:30pm and the bar was fairly busy. It soon emptied out and Kev and I were the only two left. We started talking to
the bartender about an event he was putting together a few days later… the Sawtooth Regional Gelande Quaffing Championship! After listening to him explain what this event was all about I knew it had to come to the East Coast. If you’ve never heard of Gelande Quaffing or have and want test your skills, find 4 of your best friends, get your team costumes together, and swing by our shop this April for our end of season party!
The Shannon Door Pub (Black Mountain/Attitash/Wildcat, NH)
I love this place and its Après scene. Most Friday and Saturday nights you’ll find Marty Quirk playing traditional Irish drinking songs as well as some songs for the younger kids. Brendan the bartender finishes off every Guinness he pours with his signature shamrock in the head of the beer. It’s one of the things that make this place what it is. With all the police and fire patches on the wall, the slightly shorter
ceiling height, and all the old dark wood throughout the building, one might think this pub is in Galway or Kinsale, not Jackson, NH. If you like a good craic and good old fashion sing-song, pop in on a Fri/Sat and say hello to Marty and Brendan.
The Bunyan Room (Loon Mountain, NH)
I have now adopted Loon as my home mountain and with it The Bunyan Room as my home bar. This place has such an inviting atmosphere for everyone. There are little kids in their first ski and snowboard boots tromping around and families sitting around the picnic bench seating with crockpots and PB&J sandwiches all mingled in with crowd of loyal Bunyan Room Mug Club members (you know I have one or
two and you might even know which ones). The army of bartenders… Kara, Charlie, Leslie, Todd, Nick, Kayli and Jackie are always slinging the suds with smiles on their faces. On sunny days regardless of temperature, the outside deck is always packed… we love those "Deck Days!". The Bunyan is also home base for Loon's end of season 80’s party with live music, headbands and leg warmers and neon outfits for days!
Tom’s Loft Tavern at Okemo ranks as my favorite. The sign outsides reads, “Home of warm beer, Lousy food, Grumpy Owner.” Only one of them is questionably true. Guess which one.
I think you should check out Molly Green’s at Brighton in Utah… while you’re there, maybe check out the pow too!
Great bars! I’ll add the No Name Saloon and Grill in Park City Utah! just a few short blocks from the town lift!
I nominate The Owl Bar at Sundance, Utah, for the next list. Discovered in Wyoming, I believe, by Robert Redford, Sundance owner, and moved to Sundance. Butch Cassidy himself allegedly drank there. If he didn’t he should have. Very funky. While you are in Utah, don’t miss the oldest bar in the state: the Shooting Star in Huntsville. Its close to Snowbasin and Powder Mountain, and features many oddities, including the mounted head of a St. Bernard dog.
You got the wrong Matterhorn! I’ll take the one in Stowe anytime!
Does that pink mug say “epic titties”?