How to Après-Ski (and Après-Hike) in Boulder
Celebrate a day on Boulder's low-key and stress-free local ski mountain, Eldora, with an equally chill après-ski at dozens of great restaurants and bars around town. There are no hotels up at Eldora, so best to make Boulder your base camp and head back down to town before you imbibe.
Après-ski (pronounced AH-pray skee) is a French term that means “after skiing.” In practice, it means that delicious time of day when you’ve finished up a few hours on the ski slopes and you gather with friends or family to rest your legs and recount the day’s adventures over snacks and drinks.
This town certainly knows how to reward outdoor adventures in style with amazing food, local beers, craft cocktails and good cheer on tap. Après-hike is also certainly a thing here in practice, if not in name, so consider all these ideas to apply to your post-trail treks, as well.
Where to Go for Après-Ski in Boulder
What makes a good après spot? It is casual enough to show up in your snow boots, parka and helmet hair; serves good and stiff drinks; ideally has a sunny patio or fireplace to warm yourself; and offers all the savory foods you’ve worked up an appetite for. Here are a few faves.
During ski season, Avanti F&B celebrates Apres Hour every Monday through Friday from 2-6 pm and all day Sunday. It's a chance to unwind and enjoy deals on Upslope Brewing's Snowmelt hard seltzer and a selection of other discounted beers, wines and wells. Inside this contemporary food hall are seven mini restaurants serving everything from modern Taiwanese cuisine to crunchy falafel to blistered pizza pies. Take your food and beverages to a picnic-style table inside or head to the rooftop to dine with breathtaking Flatirons views.
What better place to revive than in the lush interior of Jungle, draped in plants and low lighting, fitting for this stylish tiki bar? Wiggle in your seat to thumping music (must love Chaka Khan), toast each other with tropical-flower-garnished cocktails, and order up some plantain fritters, Caribbean fries and a Jungle burger topped in pineapple, onion rings, cheese and chili mayo.
The Kitchen American Bistro
A longtime favorite on Pearl Street, The Kitchen has an upstairs lounge with big windows, sparkly modern chandeliers, tufted banquettes and a roaring fireplace. Here you can nibble on steak frites, grilled oysters, lobster rolls and veg-forward dishes in style. A sophisticated cocktail program means there’s always a new, well-balanced concoction to swill.
Southern Sun Pub & Brewery
Sun is right there in the name. This down-to-earth, light-filled brewery has a huge, south-facing patio to enjoy, making Southern Sun a super-chill après-ski or -hike spot. Nachos, wings, chili and a design-your-own grilled cheese are a few of the choices to satisfy your hunger, and a tap list with over a dozen house brews gives you plenty to sample.
Hapa Sushi Grill and Sake Bar
Like the ski slopes you’ve just returned from, Hapa’s sushi rolls are rated beginner, intermediate and advanced, getting more creative and adventurous along the way. Once your colorful tray filled to the brim with sushi arrives along with some hot sake, your crew is sure to get chatty about the day. A small-but-charming outside patio is right on Pearl Street, or head inside for a festive atmosphere.
The Corner Bar
Two words: truffle fries. Two more: corn chowder. See also: crispy Brussels. Sicilian meatballs. You get the picture. In short, all the crave-able bites you want after a day on the slopes are here in this lively bar and lounge with a patio that wraps around the corner of the historic Hotel Boulderado.
West End Tavern
In a cool historic building that was Boulder’s police station in 1906, the West End is Boulder’s trusty home for a killer burger or smoked barbecue, plus 20 craft beers on draft and a huge whiskey menu to warm you up. Cozy up to the big oak bar or head up to the rooftop where you’ll catch glimpses of the Flatirons and can stay toasty beneath heat lamps.
Sanitas Brewing Co.
A bright, light-filled taproom with long tables, stools and golden wood trim gives this brewery an alpine-chic vibe, and their patio is great for views of the Flatirons around a big, red, star-shaped firepit. The craft beers are the main attraction here, but McDevitt Taco Supply is on hand to curb your hunger.