High, dry, and stoked, you'll be wanting to visit one of these rad watering holes after crushing Utah pow. Matt Turley/Visit Salt Lake photo.
I feel it is particularly suiting that I should write a piece on the aprés scene in my hometown of Salt Lake City. I’ve joked with many a person on the ski lift that the only reason I became a pro skier was to enjoy beers with friends after ski days. Whether or not that is 100% the truth or just 90%, I take my aprés extremely seriously, and know Ski City’s aprés options in and out.
I am also passionate about Utah, and would like to dispel the incorrect rumor that Utah has a bad aprés scene. Past liquor laws have discouraged those who desire a good party along with their exceptionally good skiing, but in the present day, there are a multitude of alcohol-involved ways to celebrate your powder turns in Ski City. May I share with you my top five…
#1: The Peruvian Lodge at Alta
The Peruvian is an Alta classic, has great bartenders, and serves free finger food daily. Peruvian Lodge photo.
The Peruvian Bar is located at the west end of the Alta Collins parking lot (The first parking lot at Alta). This aprés location is not exclusive to Alta or the patrons conveniently staying at the Peruvian, and is extraordinary for several reasons. It’s an intimate space that does not make you feel claustrophobic. If there happens to be a live band, the place can get pretty packed, but it’s always fun to have a little dancing mixed in with your aprés.
An entire wall is devoted to windows facing Collins and Wildcat. The bartenders are freakin’ awesome at the Peruvian, even when the place is packed, so you can bet that you won’t have to wait that long to get a drink. The bar is decorated with a moose head, a ring-swing, and many different signed photos of old Alta, new Alta, and those we have grown to adore through Alta. They also serve free finger food every single day for après–let’s be honest: a locals’ bar in a ski bum town that gives away free food every day? Yeah… it’s that awesome.
#2: The Tram Club at Snowbird
The Tram Club is a unique and awesome spot, even if it’s lacking open mountain vistas like the Peruvian. They offer an aprés bar menu (cheese fries and the nachos are quick and easy). They have servers that are on point considering most people crowd in there at the exact same time with full-ski-day thirsts to be quenched. The bar setup is awesome: super long bar with multiple bartenders, which means getting a drink is easy and quick. Might I recommend the “Slap and Tickle.” This is any shot on their menu ($4.00 being the cheapest) with a beer for a dollar extra.
The Tram Club will be packed to the brim on a powder day teeming with stoke and melting mustaches. I love this bar, the people that work there, and the fact that it is snuggled down at the base of the Tram tower that exported you to the top of Hidden Peak as many times as your legs could handle that day.
#3: Molly Greens at Brighton
Molly Green's, the "epitome of a locals' bar," is literally steps away from Brighton's main lifts and serves cold beer next to a massive central fireplace. Brighton photo.
Molly Green's is the epitome of a locals’ bar, and I can’t possible say enough good things about this après spot. First of all, there is a full menu at Molly’s . . . and the food is GOOD. I always stay for food, or stop for lunch when I’m at Brighton. Windows actually make up every wall of the bar. It is located at the top of the A-Frame in between the Crest and Majestic lifts.
They serve cold pitchers of beer next to a massive fireplace in the middle of the main room that will look a bit like a Christmas tree decorated with gloves, mittens, ski boots, and other wet items on pow days. I love the light and the feel in this bar.
#4: The Sitzmark Club at Alta
The coziest of Alta's aprés options, the Sitzmark is a classic. Sitzmark Club photo.
The Sitzmark Club is an aprés bar for the person interested in relaxing in their own living room after a hard day of skiing. It’s literally a living room complete with couches, a wood-burning fireplace, and a bar that sits below the lounging level of the occupants. This bar smells like apples, cinnamon, and good beer–every time you go in there. Dan Withy is (for the most part) the bartender you’ll see the most. He makes a mean Party Marg and has a great list of bottled beer. Most of your bartenders in the Cottonwood Canyons are better skier than you are, and Dan is no exception.
The bar is filled with locals and people staying at the Alta Lodge, and is the coziest aprés scene you could possibly imagine. They open at four, which is awesome because you can sit in one of the little nooks that overlooks High Rustler and watch the last few shredders ski all the way down to the bar.
The “Sitz” is a little hard to find as you must go down two flights of stairs, walk through the lobby of the Alta Lodge, and then up a flight of stairs before you go inside, but it’s well worth the hike. I would highly suggest the “Boomerang,” which is a shot of whiskey, a shot of tequila, hot apple cider, and a twist of orange.
#5: The Cotton Bottom Inn in Holladay
Get 'em while you can: the Cotton Bottom's garlic burgers are a city staple. Photo courtesy of Ski City.
There is NO OTHER garlic burger out there, in the world, worth mentioning. Call me biased, but The Cottom Botton Inn's garlic burger will make your taste buds dance and sing, and then wreak havoc on your close friends for a few hours afterwards (which is awesome). They do not have a fryer, so if you want fries, you’ve come to the wrong place. Also if you are a vegetarian, you might want to look into some of the other solid aprés veggie burger options, as the Cotton Bottom serves meat-based garlic burgers only. But why on Earth would you want a regular burger or a hot dog when you can get the best burger in Ski City?
This is one of those gems, that with all the battles they’ve had to fight to stick around so long, that won’t be there forever. However while it is still intact, do not miss this spot. It’s a locals’ favorite, a rough diamond in the rough, and a historical pastime for Utahns that have been enjoying beer since time immemorial.
Staying Downtown? Check Out These Other Options
Bar X and Beer Bar are two of the standouts of the downtown bar scene. Beer Bar photo.
If your hotel is downtown, there are a ton of options to satiate your thirst and feed your belly. The Beerhive Bar is awesome. Beer Bar and Bar X are two bars that are side-by-side that have grown a passionate local following. Beer Bar serves a huge selection of beer that can be served side-by-side with a variety of delicious brats, and it's a great place to watch sports. Immediately next door, and with a door connecting the two, is Bar X, which is famous for its cocktails. Both are owned by Ty Burrell, who plays Phil Dunphy on Modern Family.
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