I once made the mistake of walking into a Santa Fe bar in my road kit. It wasn’t a fancy place, but it also wasn’t a spot on the typical post-ride drinking circuit. While I was perusing the menu, I noticed a commotion down the bar and turned to find a happily soused local gaping at me. He said something about my outfit (not sure what, but it was no compliment), and then burst into unabashed, tear-streaming laughter. I tried to ignore him, but he fell on the floor in hysterical spasms. His hilarity was infectious, and several others began cackling—including my wife, who’d had the good sense to change clothes. All hopes for a quiet drink were off, and I clack-clack-clacked back the way I’d come having learned two important lessons. First, we cyclists need bars for cyclists, where we can kick back among like minds and geek out about carbon derailleurs and the day’s big drops. Second, no matter what type of establishment you’re drinking in, leave the chamois at the door.
Best for: Hippy, crunchy, aggressively progressive mountain bikers As the cradle of mountain biking, Fairfax has not one, but two great bars that cater to cyclists. While Iron Springs Pub & Brewery is the old standby and always spilling over with filthy trail riders, the dark-horse Gestalt House is our pick. You don’t come here for the décor (spare concrete and picnic tables), though we do like the Medieval-looking wall hooks for hanging bikes. You come for the beer: tons of bizarro Belgian and German bottles, and two sizes of draft, normal human and Brobdingnagian. For replenishment there’s more sausage than a prison shower—brats, banger, Polish. If it fits on a bun, Gestalt Haus has it. And to top it off, there are board games, which people actually play.
Best for: Music-loving SSers and roadies You want cred? Not only does Oskar Blues produce the ubiquitous Dale’s Pale Ale, which the company bills as “the first hand-canned craft ale,” but it’s the only brewery we know of that’s launched their own line of bikes (a killer collection of belt-drive singlespeeds, which they branded REEB—spell it backwards—for good measure). The pub in Lyons is on the local Boulder-St. Vrain Canyon road loop, and rideable from the Hall Ranch trails. The eclectic menu includes hearty pub grub—pulled pork sliders, fried pickles, and crab cake clubs—and there’s good live music, including bluegrass on Tuesday nights.
Best for: Multitaskers Powerhouse is more than just bike friendly; it’s a full-service bike and fit shop with a bar and café on premises. The helmet-sized Power Skillet with organic eggs and free range sausage will keep you going all day long on the 300+ miles of trails in and around Sun Valley, and when you’re done you can swing back through for some Mahi Mahi Tacos, a Negroni, and a brake bleed. If you’re feeling bold, order a Dirty Hoe, a crazy-looking cocktail that includes Hoegaarden and Lindemans Framboise ales. Our only advice: leave the credit card at home so that once you’re three drinks in you won’t be tempted to pick up those sick new Canfield Brothers Crampon pedals.
Best for: Commuters and wiry couriers who need meat on their bones Located on Davis Square, in the northwestern suburbs of Boston, Redbones claims they were first place in the nation with a Bicycle Valet, back in 1996. Pedal over and they’ll keep your bike in a secure spot while you drink. They serve some of the best barbecue this side of the Mason-Dixon, all grilled on an open pit fire. More importantly, their draft beer list is as big as their food menu—28 beers on tap and counting. And in case you’re too knackered from the day’s training ride to go out, Redbones delivers—aboard a custom-made cargo bike (“The Rib Rider”), of course.