For many, après is just as crucial to the overall ski experience as waist deep powder or perfectly groomed corduroy. For those who frequent Loon Mountain in Lincoln, N.H., there is only one place for après, The Paul Bunyan Room. Located in the upstairs portion of the Octagon Lodge, at the base of Loon Peak, the Bunyan Room is where the locals head after the lifts close.
The bar has something for everyone, whether it is Vodka Red Bulls for the college buddies up from Boston or a selection of one of their many craft beers for the more refined drinker. “All of the locals go there when the lifts shut down,” explains Loon Communications Manager Greg Kwasnik. “They tell stories about the runs, the powder they found that day and just have a good time.”
The bar has great ambiance, with a roaring fire to warm guests up after a day on the slopes, and countless paintings of the Tall Tale lumberjack hero Paul Bunyan strewn across its walls. A sign for "Mike's Way," a popular gladed run on Loon Peak, declares that "freeheelers have the right of way," an homage to New England's telemark history. In addition to the decorations, the bar staff can often be heard hollering the phrase, "sweet time!" The catchphrase can mean a variety of things, whether it be to describe a delicious microbrew or if Tom Brady tosses a TD pass for the beloved New England Patriots, but it's always positive.
Those looking for live music are in for a treat, thanks to the Bunyan Room Saturday Night, a concert series that goes on throughout the winter at Loon. Musical acts this season include the Fear Nuttin' Band, Destroy Babylon and Sophistafunk. Another draw of the Bunyan room is their occasional raffling off of skis and snowboards. The bartender will ask The Bunyan Room's patrons to stand and answer a simple question. Heads or tails? A coin will be flipped, and those who guess correctly can remain standing and those who guess incorrectly must sit, until there are only two remaining. The final two then compete in a head to head, best of three rock, paper, scissors game for the right to the new gear.
Thanks to its early opening time of 11 a.m., there’s never a shortage of people to talk to in the Bunyan Room, where thirsty crowds flock from lunch until way after the lifts shut down. If you happen to be riding solo in the bar, strike up a conversation with one of the Loon faithful, they’ll be sure to have a story or two for you. “I know people who’ve been working here since the 70’s and 80’s,” Kwasnik adds. “They have great stories to tell; it has a really laid back vibe and also has a lot going on in the winter.”
The Bunyan Room’s prime location next to the Gondola makes it the obvious choice for those looking to indulge after hot laps on the gondola or if the line becomes too outrageous. The Loon faithful can sit back on the deck, catch some rays and watch the New England jibbers rock the Loon Park in the Spring, or grab a seat next to the fire inside and watch the snow fall onto the slopes in the winter. Whatever the case, The Bunyan Room is the place to be at Loon Mountain.
The Paul Bunyan Room, 60 Loon Mountain Road, Lincoln, NH 603-745-8111