Après Ski Guide: Utah

Written by Alexa Owen • Sep 08, 2016

There’s something extra special about the après ski scene in Utah.

It might be the fact that Utah still runs on some of the tightest liquor laws in the country, so mixologists get ultra creative in crafting cocktails. It could also be the pre-prohibition, old mining town roots that show through in colorful Victorian buildings lining historic main streets. And then there are specific gems like the world’s only ski-in gastro distillery, where you can saddle up to the bar with a flight of locally distilled whiskeys without even changing out of your ski boots.

While it’s still true that you can’t buy booze on Sundays and any draft you order at a pub will be less than 4% ABV, Utah can still party. You’ll find plenty of opportunities for craft beer tastings, fireside cocktails, and shotski rounds on antique wood bars. From classic ski town dive bars to elegant mountainside lounges, Utah boasts the full range of après ski options – and we say try them all. If you’re used to hostel hopping and eating lunch from a peanut butter jar between tram laps, indulge in a ritzy mojito at day’s end at the St. Regis. If you’ve oogled over photos in magazines of hole-in-the-wall dives packed with sweaty ski bums pounding PBRs, check one out for yourself at The Peruvian Bar. Let loose – Utah gets it.

For your après in Utah convenience, here are some of the main liquor laws you'll encounter:

Beer on tap is 4% by volume; bottles can be stronger.

When drinking in a restaurant, you likely will have to order food for the table before getting served.

Cocktails can only have 1.5 fl oz of liquor – plus 1 additional oz for a secondary liquor or flavoring.

Drink specials that make beverages cheaper during certain times are illegal in Utah.

High West Distillery and Saloon, Park City

source: High West Distillery and Saloon

The High West Distillery and Saloon’s claim to fame is being the world’s only ski-in gastro distillery: it’s likely what piques a Park City visitor’s curiosity, but once you get in the doors you’ll find the food, booze and hometown vibes read authentic ski town bar. While the spirits are no longer distilled on-site (headquarters moved to a larger location outside downtown), the Saloon features an extensive selection of all their Utah distilled whiskeys and vodkas. Why do we love it? There’s simply no other place in country where you can perch on a bar stool in ski boots and sip a Manhatten crafted from locally distilled whiskey.

When You Go:

Get There

Ski to the base of Quittin’ Time and you’ll find the Saloon next to the Town Lift. If you’re walking from Main Street, take 7th Street to Park Ave – you’ll see the building from the corner.

Drink

Start with a flight of whiskeys, followed by a craft cocktail. The High West 101 includes their own distilled American Prairie, Double Rye!, Rendezvous Rye and Campfire, each with unique sensory notes. Cocktails feature house whiskeys and vodkas with fresh juices; if you have to pick one, go with the Dead Man’s Boots.

Eat

The menu is upscale pub fare, featuring delectable like venison lettuce wraps, mussels in bourbon and white wine sauce, and spiced lamb stew. Chefs incorporate house whiskeys into most plates (except the kids menu). Share small plates for a light après eat; sweet-tooths, opt for the dark chocolate & whiskey pudding.

Live Music

None.

Ski-in?

Yes.

Outdoor seating?

No, but there is a small patio where patrons hang and sip cocktails.

Don’t Miss

If a seat’s available, nestle up to the bar: it’s made of reclaimed wood from the 1904 Great Salt Lake Trestle Bridge, and completes the Old West vibe.

Owl Bar, Sundance

source: Sundance Mountain Resort

Like everything at Sundance, the Owl Bar is designed with utmost elegance. The 7 seat restored Rosewood Bar is an 1890s original previously frequented by Butch Cassidy and company, while Native American art decorating the walls offers a glimpse into Robert Redford’s private collection. Stepping into the cozy dining space for a warming cocktail after a cold day is like entering a portal into the West’s wild history – with delicious cocktails to boot. An après menu featuring fresh, seasonal small plates may easily coax you into staying the evening (in which case, delicious main courses and more drinks will follow).

When You Go:

Get There

At the base of Lower Stampede, head left to reach the bar; it’s located inside the same building as the Foundry Grill.

Drink

Considering this is one of the most historic bars in the Rockies, it seems fitting to sip a single malt scotch while listening to the wild stories of Sundance Resort's beginnings. The full bar also features seasonal cocktails served up by friendly bartenders in suits and top hats.

Eat

There’s no pretense in the classic bar menu, but you can rely on fresh, seasonal ingredients inspiring each dish. Try the fried Brussel sprouts with peanuts and tamari glaze, or the Banh Mi sandwich – roasted pork shoulder with pickled carrot and cucumber – for something more hearty. You can also order from the dining menu of the Foundry Grill.

Live Music

Local musicians play Friday and Saturday nights – expect anything from blues to funk to not-to-twangy bluegrass.

Ski-in?

No.

Outdoor seating?

No.

Don’t Miss

The après ski party on Sundays from 3-6.

The Peruvian Bar, Alta

source: Alta Peruvian Lodge

The Peruvian Bar is the classic local ski bar: friendly, funky, and buzzing with stoke from a day on the slopes, the P-Dog (as it’s locally called) boasts the quintessential après atmosphere. Between the stuffed buffalo head on the wall and lava lamps illuminating décor from Alta’s 1940s beginnings, the bar exudes casual Utah flair and sincere character. Roll in around 3:30 for local beers and spirits, dancing to hometown tunes, and free appetizers while they last.

When You Go:

Get There

The bar is located inside Alta’s Peruvian Lodge, on the second floor. From the slopes, ski down Wildcat Face and bear left at the base.

Drink

The P-Dog respects local crafts, including High West Distillery spirits, and drafts from Epic Brewing Company and Bohemian Brewery. Well drinks start at $3.50 and draft beers at $4; bartenders are happy to craft you something special, even if it’s not on the cocktail menu.

Eat

The bar takes care of hungry skiers with free popcorn and appetizers while they last (which isn’t so long on weekends and vacation weeks).

Live Music

Local acts play at least two nights a week, with more musicians interspersed throughout the season. Blues and funk are common, and the occasional DJ spins classic beats.

Ski-in?

Yes.

Outdoor seating?

No.

Don’t Miss

Classic ski bars call for the classic round of ski bar drinks: don't leave without doing a shotski with your best buds.

St. Regis Bar, Deer Valley

source: St. Regis Deer Valley

At the St. Regis Bar you’ll find elegant décor, floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of the surrounding mountains, and not-too-stuffy après scene of hotel guests and skiers enjoying a quiet drink. In true Deer Valley fashion, this bar exudes exclusivity and excellent customer service; even if you wouldn’t dream of spending big bucks for a night at the hotel, when you drop into the St. Regis Bar, you’ll be treated like royalty. This is your chance to lounge in front of the fireplace with a cucumber martini and live the luxury life for the afternoon.

When You Go:

Get There

The St. Regis is centrally located in the Deer Valley Resort base area: at the base of the Carpenter Express, ski across the base area and a bit to the right – you’ll see the entrance to the bar and restaurant. If you're coming from the lower base area, enjoy a ride on the furnicular that loads at the lobby level and unloads at the retaurant.

Drink

The full bar features its own cocktail list, and a handful of spirits are sourced from local Utah distilleries. The wine selection is extensive, and we’ve found bartenders to be exceptionally well versed their options.

Eat

Comfort eats like truffle fries and bison sliders stock the bar menu; portions are small, but the small plates are delicious. For something more hearty (or to simply extend a great day into a delicious evening), head next door to the J&G Grill.

Live Music

Check back in summer for live music on the deck area.

Ski-in?

Yes.

Outdoor seating?

Yes.

Don’t Miss

Opt for a drink at the bar’s outdoor patio with standing space heaters for a comfortable view of the Wasatch Range.

Cinnabar, Snowbasin

Snowbasin is located off the beaten track of Utah destination ski resorts, and Cinnabar is the understated après ski bar of the Wasatch to match. You won’t find any pretense here: just spacious, comfy seating, a good n’ hearty menu, and laid-back staff who sincerely want you to have a great time. Local live bands play weekends and holidays, and the high ceilings of the spacious dining area will coax you to stretch out and relax until dark. Cinnabar celebrated its 75th anniversary last season – a testament to its consistent reputation as the Snowbasin watering hole.

When You Go:

Get There

Most trails funnel down into the main base area, where you’ll find the bar; find your way to the base of the Needles Express Gondola (as opposed to the Strawberry Express). You can’t miss it.

Drink

On a cold day, be sure to order one of the signature cocktails served hot, like the No Name Glüwhein – a German inspired mix of red wine with cinnamon, citrus, and spices. The bar boasts upwards of 40 craft brews in bottles, and Unita and Wasatch brews on tap.

Eat

The menu boasts plenty of après favorites, like grilled chicken quesadillas and bourbon bbq wings. We like the creative twists on healthier fare, like truffled edamame and flat breads with pesto and feta. Big appetites, go for the citrus grilled flank steak sandwich with charred tomatoes and guacamole.

Live Music

Free live music acts play from 3-6 on weekends and holidays.

Ski-in?

Yes.

Outdoor seating?

No.

Don’t Miss

Arrive early on a cold day for a prime seat in front of the roaring fireplace.