All Our Favorite Après Bars and Restaurants
If there’s anything better than an epic day outside, it’s reliving it over great food and drink. From mountain decks to beachside watering holes, our favorite après spots have mastered Cajun fries, crustaceans, and craft ales.
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
Moat Mountain Smoke House
North Conway, New Hampshire
Occupying a big old yellow clapboard house, Moat Mountain is the kind of place where locals keep their own mugs hanging above the bar. Drop in after climbing 6,288-foot Mount Washington—New England’s highest point—or scrambling up the Moat Range’s lesser known peaks to the west. You’ll recognize the place by the ski gondola sitting outside near the entrance. If there’s a queue for a table, buy a Frisbee from the bar ($3) and toss it around in the yard while you wait. Then order an Iron Mike Pale Ale, brewed in a barn up the street, and pair it with a brisket sandwich and Cajun fries. On your way out, grab a growler or a four-pack of 16-ounce cans to go.
No trip to ski Portillo is complete without a leisurely afternoon at the iconic Tío Bob’s, an old stone refugio, or shepherd’s hut, halfway up the mountain. Named after Bob Purcell, who bought Portillo at auction from the Chilean government in 1961, the place has tableside views of Inca Lake and soaring 15,000-foot Andean peaks. Whether you’ve boot-packed up the out-of-bounds Super C Couloir or lapped untracked powder in El Estadio, you’ve earned a platter of barbecued steak and papas fritas topped with a fried egg. Watch your pisco sour intake, though: you still have to ski down.
Cardiff Beach Bar at Tower 13
Returning from the reef break at Cardiff State Beach, locals stash their surfboards in front of this waterside spot on Highway 101, about 25 miles north of San Diego. Named for a nearby lifeguard station, Tower 13 calls itself a sports bar, but why watch a Padres game when you can check out the waves rolling in at sunset? Grab a seat on the dog-friendly patio or, on Wednesdays, head inside and catch a country music show while sipping a Mexican mai tai, made with pineapple-infused tequila. If you can, come in March, when mudbugs are flown in from Louisiana for a crawfish boil.
As if to assure you that your kind is welcome here, you’ll notice an array of bikes, rafts, and canoes hanging from the ceiling at the Moab Brewery. This is the town’s lone microbrewery, and it’s the gathering spot for rafters getting off the Green River, hikers decamping from Porcupine Rim slickrock, or mountain bikers taking a break from the technical drops of the Captain Ahab trail. Ask for a Red Rye or Johnny’s American IPA in a can, the latter a full-volume favorite at 7 percent ABV. Match it with a massive chile verde burrito stuffed with slow-cooked pulled pork. Or try the house spirit: a distillery opened in August and produces vodka.
Montauk, New York
Montauk used to be the last uncrowded outpost on Long Island’s south shore. But even when city folk flood the area between June and September, the Montauket Hotel maintains a low-key, local vibe. Watch tangerine sunsets over Fort Pond Bay from the restaurant’s west-facing back lawn, preferably after surfing the popular longboard break at Ditch Plains a few miles away. Refuel with a lobster roll and a pint of Montauk Brewing’s Summer Ale. In summer, you can catch live bands Thursday and Saturday nights.
Taos, New Mexico
Nobody would guess that a German beer hall in New Mexico could be this good. But trust us, these folks have the best spätzle and Wiener schnitzel this side of the Alps. After schussing down from the base of Lift 4 at Taos Ski Valley, order a pint of hefeweizen and enjoy the views of 13,162-foot Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s highest point. Strangers share communal tables on the sun-soaked deck, while friendly waitresses in dirndls deliver big, doughy pretzels and platters of brats and sauerkraut. It’s always fun to show up on skis, though the restaurant is also accessible via a rugged road. Open year-round for summer and fall post-hike chow.
Even if you don’t have a mug in the mug club, you’ll still be treated like a regular at Blackrocks, arguably the coolest craft brewery in the Upper Peninsula. Founded in 2010 by two friends bored with their jobs in pharmaceutical sales, the onetime basement project now has a brewery in downtown Marquette where it makes 51K IPA, a tasty, hoppy ale named after a local 50K cross-country ski race that finishes a kilometer from the pub. In the long winter months, fat-bikers, nordic skiers, and college kids huddle here for warmth. During summer, mountain bikers linger on the front deck after rides on the Noquemanon trail network. There’s no kitchen, but you can bring your own picnic, or order from the rotating cast of food trucks parked out back.
Bearden Beer Market
Open since 2010 in a converted flower shop, the Bearden Beer Market is a regular meet-up spot for group fun runs. Walk in sweating and you’ll get a dollar off pints on Mondays. You don’t have to love beer to dig this place—lots of folks come for the bocce ball and outdoor bonfires. But it helps if you like obscure, regional craft brews: 13 or so varieties are on tap, and four-packs of Creekbank Blonde Ale, brewed a few hours away in Cottontown, are available for carryout. Bearden doesn’t serve food, but if you order a pizza from Sergeant Pepperoni’s a block away, delivery is on the house.
Spur Restaurant and Bar
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Spur is a relative newcomer to the village scene. Opened inside the Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa in 2012, it replaced Cascade, an old mainstay, and quickly became a front-runner for post-tram-lap beers on a powder day. Hang your wet coat by the fire and order a margarita. The bacon bloody mary, a longtime favorite at Cascade, is still available, and award-winning chef Kevin Humphreys now serves up more highbrow crowd-pleasers, like gingery tuna tartare tacos and fries doused with braised-elk gravy.
There’s no such thing as an off night at Chambre Neuf, across the street from the famed Chamonix train station. Located in the Hotel Gustavia, the bar is run by party-loving Swedes and hosts rowdy gatherings with everyone from skiers to harness-clad guides drinking pitchers of Stella. A pop-rock cover band plays six nights a week during the winter months, and unlike many spots in Cham, the drink prices won’t leave you broke. Stay at its 50-room hotel and you’ll enjoy views of Mont Blanc from your bed.
At the Sun Valley ski resort, you bump into movie stars in the lift line, and a burger at the mid-mountain lodge costs $16. But in nearby Ketchum, Grumpy’s—a dimly lit dive bar off the main drag that’s revered by locals—is a welcome reminder that real people live in the area, too. The walls are plastered with beer cans, license plates, and framed photos of bearded guys catching giant trout, and the blue-collar vibe is given a considerable boost when Bruce Springsteen shows up for the annual New Year’s Day party, where locals are known to light their chest hair on fire atop the bar. Come after mountain-biking the area’s wildly underrated singletrack and order a schooner of beer, which is served in a massive 32-ounce glass goblet. A quarter-pound burger is just $5.75.