There are plenty of places to get a drink at resorts around Utah, but what makes a spot really stand out? After spending a few days tipping a couple back at numerous haunts around the mountains, things can blend together into a vague, nostalgic haze of walls adorned with retro ski gear and the inert ubiquitous trappings of upscale mountain contemporary decor.
I don’t want to send the wrong message here. I’m not above a $2 macrobrew tallboy from the local dive, a decadent cocktail served with a ski-shaped stirrer, a conspicuously warm and dented parking lot beer or even a swig of fireball from a friendly stranger’s backpack. But sometimes the atmosphere matters as much as the libation, and you’re just looking for a spot with an incredible view or a funky vibe to chill with some liquid refreshment. Here are the most unique places to get a drink in the Utah mountains.
Viking Yurt: Park City Mountain
While well known for its luxurious and leisurely, six-course dinner, the Viking Yurt is an underappreciated refuge to enjoy a mid-day, mid-mountain drink at Park City Mountain. The unassuming yurt is located just below the top of the Crescent chairlift where you can huddle inside to warm up with some hot spiced wine or a whiskey and cider when it’s cold out or chill out on the sun-splashed deck with a beer and a brat on a warm spring afternoon. Panoramic views and a European-style vibe and lunch menu make the Viking experience a memorable one.
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The Après Lounge: Deer Valley Resort
The second entry (but certainly not second place!) in the yurt division is the Après Lounge at Montage Deer Valley. The Après Lounge—formerly known as the Veuve Clicquot Yurt—is a strikingly bright orange yurt set among the luxury buildings at Deer Valley’s Empire zone. The name may contain the word après, but the ski-in/ski-out location is also perfect for some mid-ski refreshment. The interior is decidedly mountain bougie with reclaimed wood paneling, ample furs, and flannel upholstery adorning elk antler chairs. The Champagne is still the centerpiece, and it pairs well with caviar and charcuterie when you’re out living your best life.
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Upon first glance, the Tram Club may feel like a familiar, dimly lit après ski bar in which to greatly exaggerate your exploits on the hill. Then you take a look around and see that you’re bending an elbow among the machinery and spinning bull wheels powering Snowbird’s aerial tram. The spinning wheels become even more mesmerizing when you’re on your second or third round. The Tram Club is a Snowbird institution, and there are more than enough televisions on the walls to ensure you’ll have a comfortable spot to watch your favorite team when your legs need a break from Snowbird's steeps with a $5 shot and beer combo.
High West Distillery and Saloon: Park City
The world’s first and only ski-in/ski-out whiskey distillery is located right across from the base of the Town lift at Park City Mountain. High West is home to award-winning whiskeys like their classic Rendezvous Rye and American Prairie Bourbon, and the saloon mixes up creative cocktails like their rye whiskey and sherry infused The Waco Kid and the tequila, rye and lime concoction Dead Man’s Boots. The drinks are all top shelf, but what sets High West apart is the iconic saloon in a historic, restored garage at the foot of the snow and in the heart of Park City. There’s nowhere else like it.
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