Denver Road Trips: Where to Drink on a Crested Butte Bar Crawl

No driving required
by Carrie Dow on Sep 14, 2018 in Roundups

 
Crested Butte is one of Colorado’s best loved mountain towns. Filled with spectacular scenery that you can ski in winter and bike and hike in summer, Crested Butte is worth the four hour drive over Monarch Pass from Denver any time of year. After a day playing in the mountains, head into town for some indoor fun. Main Street in Crested Butte is Elk Avenue and its five blocks are dotted with a variety of bars and restaurants that are completely walkable. There is also a free town shuttle that runs regularly between Mount Crested Butte and the town so you can take an evening bar crawl and leave the driving to someone else. This list runs from east to west, but you can start at any point and cover Elk Avenue easily.
 
The Dogwood                
Located a half block north of Elk Avenue on Third Street, this is a true cocktail bar meaning no kids allowed, 21 and over only. The bar opens at 4 PM Tuesday through Sunday so it’s a great place for après ski or to chill before dinner. The food menu is only a few small plates and desserts for nibbling and the large cocktail menu harks back to a more nostalgic era. The menu divvies up cocktails by spirit featuring vodka, gin, whiskey, rum and tequila. There is also a small, but well cultivated list of tap beers and an exclusive wine list. Happy Hour is 4-6 PM. (309 3rd St; 970-349-6338)
 

Donita’s Cantina
         
Donita’s is a family friendly Mexican restaurant on the corner of Elk and 4th Street. Adults can get their fill of Mexican lagers while the kids sip virgin Daiquiris and Pina Coladas (don’t worry adults, they make the boozy kind too). Happy Hour is from 5-6 and features $7.50 Top Shelf Margaritas, $4 Sangrias and $3 draft beers. The restaurant is known for being accommodating to large groups so gather all your friends for this stop. (330 Elk Ave.; 970-349-6674)
Sushi in the mountains? Heck yeah! Lil’s has sushi six days a week along with Japanese grilled specialties. The Happy Hour menu, from 5:30 to 6:30 PM nightly in the bar only, features hot sake for half off, $4 drafts and wells, and $7 house cocktails and wines. (321 Elk Ave.; 970-349-5457)

Brick Oven Pizzeria
                    
Centrally located and containing Crested Butte’s largest outdoor patio, Brick Oven has delicious pizza by the slice or the pie. It is also a craft beer lover’s paradise. The bar has 30 beers on tap that change regularly and has extra taps on the patio during summer. You’ll find beers here from across the country and around the world. When you visit be sure to inquire about owner’s not-so-secret basement beer stash because this list includes rare and unique brews that can be hard to find in Denver. (223 Elk Ave.; 970-349-5044)
 

The Eldo Brewery and Taproom
                           
Every town has a dive bar and The Eldo is Crested Butte’s, however, this one is located upstairs and has an outdoor deck overlooking the downtown. The Eldo has a seven barrel brewing system with ten taps and a nitro tap. They also serve other beers. Recently celebrating its 20th anniversary, The Eldo is also where to hear live music in Crested Butte on the small stage and dance floor located in the back. Happy Hour is from 3 to 6 PM. (215 Elk Ave.; 970-349-6125)
 

Montanya Distillery
                  
This award-winning distillery focuses on a uniquely Colorado spirit, Mountain Rum. Yes, that is a thing. Besides serving free tasters of the distillery’s three premium aged rums, there is also a kitchen that serves giant bowls of Pho for lunch and street food, appetizers, and desserts until 9 PM. A variety of cocktails from classic to modern to experimental all feature Montanya’s rums. If you visit when the distillery is operating, just pop upstairs for a peek, no tour reservations required. (212 Elk Ave.; 970-799-3206)
 

The Last Steep Bar & Grill
                       
Also located at the top of a set of steps, the small, but cozy Last Steep features burgers, wraps, and salads and, as it says on the menu, Crested Butte’s coldest beer. Open for lunch and dinner, the bar was also voted by locals as having the best Bloody Marys in town. Happy Hour is daily from 3-6 PM where you can sip those award-winning House Bloodys for $5. (208 Elk Ave.; 970-349-7007)
 

Coal Creek Grill
                           
A part of the historic Forest Queen Hotel, Coal Creek Grill is located riverside with a dining patio next to Coal Creek. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Coal Creek Grill features traditional Rocky Mountain dishes including short ribs, buffalo burgers and mountain trout. The bar has a large wine list including Colorado wines, cocktails made with local spirits, and a variety of Colorado craft beers on tap. Happy Hour is from 3 to 6 PM daily and features $2.75 drafts. (129 Elk Ave.; 970-349-6645)

Elk Mountain Lodge
                  
If you want to drink in comfort without expending the energy of all that walking, then Elk Mountain Lodge is the place to stay. This historic mountain chalet has just 19 rooms and includes complimentary buffet breakfast each morning. In the evenings, it also has a private, guests-only bar. Enjoy fine wines and craft cocktails and beers by the fireplace or at tables on the window-filled porch. Stump the bartender with a cocktail request and you might be allowed to make it yourself if they have the ingredients. It’s located just two blocks north of Elk Avenue in case you want to venture out on that bar crawl after all. (129 Gothic Ave.; 970-349-7533)
 
 
Photos via Carrie Dow

 


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