Aprés Ski Bar: Kickapoo Tavern, Keystone, Colo.

23rd January 2017 | Jacob Harkins

News Regions: Colorado

Resorts in this article: Keystone

Crowds flocking to the Kickapoo Tavern for aprés. - ©Liam Doran

Crowds flocking to the Kickapoo Tavern for aprés.

Copyright: Liam Doran

Colorado ski towns are generally steeped in history; Telluride, Vail, Aspen and Steamboat have developed unique cultures—which require raucous drinking establishments—over the course of decades. Keystone Resort, not so much.

Its River Run base area sprouted up all shiny and new in the mid-1990s, an attempt to build a vibrant ski town overnight to compliment one of Colorado’s new mountains. No town—ski or otherwise—can thrive without a tavern. Enter the Kickapoo Tavern, and their famous Joy Juice cocktail.

Located just across the bridge from the main gondola, this spot became the local’s choice instantly, wrapping bar flies in its warm, woody arms from lunchtime until last call. It has become the standby après ski choice for Keystone over the last 20 years.

Beyond being the first to quench the thirst of the local ski community, it has always had the prime location and deck—being the first bar throngs of boarders and skiers see when finishing for the day. It also has the aforementioned Joy Juice.

Thirsty skiers and snowboarders take in some sun on the deck at the Kickapoo Tavern in Keystone. - ©Liam Doran

Thirsty skiers and snowboarders take in some sun on the deck at the Kickapoo Tavern in Keystone.

Copyright: Liam Doran

This mix of three rums, OJ and pineapple juice has lived up to its moniker by loosening up the crowd with a heavy dose of booze. Served in a pint glass, on the rocks, just one drink will give you a buzz (especially at 9,000 feet).

“It’s definitely a cocktail that will get you in the right mind for après,” said Jason Anthony, a long-time Summit County local and operations director for Dionysus Hospitality, the group that owns the Kickapoo.

The bar also features a large selection of Colorado beers and serves a variety of American bar classics. Live music is a staple on most weekend and holiday afternoons as well, and those who get there before 3 p.m. can stake out a pub table or spot at the bar. Wait any later and it’s standing room only.

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