There is perfect symmetry between a day outdoors and an evening rehashing the adventures over great food and drink. After all, you’ve earned it. We all have our favorite adventure bars, located in some of the finest settings in the country from Homer, Alaska all the way to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. In creating this list we sought the advice of a wide range of adventurers through many mediums, and the ten finalists were put to a vote. They differ in character but together represent the Best Adventure Bars in the U.S. Cheers!
1. Deschutes Brewery (Bend, Oregon)
The Bond Street Public House in Bend is the original home of Deschutes Brewery. Since the pub opened in 1988 the Deschutes brand has exploded—it’s now the most iconic of all Northwestern beers—but the Bend location remains a laid-back gathering place for locals and visitors alike. Bend is Oregon’s adventure capitol: the namesake Deschutes River and Cascade Mountains offer world-class river rafting, fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. Congratulations to the Deschutes Brewery in Bend for being selected as Best Adventure Bar in the U.S.!
2. Gold Hill Inn (Gold Hill, Colorado)
Per capita support for the Gold Hill Inn is astounding—in our poll they received more votes (124) than the total population of Gold Hill (118). Perched 10 miles up the mountain from Boulder, Colorado at a lofty elevation of 8,400 feet, the family-owned Gold Hill Inn has been a regional treasure for 50 years and counting. The front room hosts live music throughout the summer and the restaurant is known for it’s 6-course mountain menu at a bargain price of $35. Don’t be in a rush when you visit Gold Hill—the pace up there is relaxed and that’s a good thing.
3. Old Schoolhouse Brewery (Winthrop, Washington)
The Methow Valley is a wonderful place: a slender pocket high in Washington’s North Cascades just far enough from cities that it remains off the radar. It is one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier destinations for trail-based recreation, and the Old Schoolhouse Brewery in Winthrop is where everybody goes for top-notch microbrews and live music. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find better beer anywhere on this list. Among the most popular beers are the Ruud Awakening IPA and Imperial Stout.
4. Snake River Brewing
(Jackson Hole, Wyoming)
Locals in Jackson Hole refer to Snake River Brewing simply as “The Brewpub” and for good reason. If you’re lucky enough to be in Jackson Hole in the heart of the Tetons, Snake River Brewing is the place to go. On summer evenings the bar fills with river runners and guides of all stripes excitedly recapping the day’s adventures. And given that it’s Jackson Hole, everybody wakes up and does it all over again. Make sure to try the Snake River Lager and Zonker Stout.
5. Great Northern Brewing Company (Whitefish, Montana)
Situated steps from the tracks of the Great Northern Railway, the brewery is the tallest building in Whitefish and the top floor offers sweeping views of the rugged surroundings (Glacier National Park is a short drive away). In 1994, Great Northern Brewing Company constructed the elaborate three-story glass structure to house its “gravity flow” beer production. Locals frequent the bar to fill up growlers and stay for live music and good company.
6. Salty Dawg Saloon (Homer, Alaska)
The location of the Salty Dawg Saloon couldn’t be more dramatic: the bar sits exposed at the end of Homer Spit on the Kenai Peninsula. Dating back to 1897, the Salty Dawg originally was one of the first cabins built in Homer and has served as post office, railroad station, school house, and mining office, among others. Now the bar certainly gets its fair share of tourists but is still a must-see when visiting Homer.
7. Jack of the Wood (Asheville, North Carolina)
The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina have become a hotspot for the adventure community with excellent mountain biking, hiking, and whitewater rafting. When the dust settles, Jack of the Wood in downtown Asheville is the place for locally brewed ales and live Irish music and bluegrass. In the southern tradition, Jack of the Wood also offers a nice selection of whiskeys, bourbons and single malts.
8. Rivers Eatery (Cable, Wisconsin)
Wisconsin’s Northwoods are one of the best adventure destinations in the U.S. that you’ve never heard of. The apex is the American Birkebeiner, a 54-km cross-country ski race in the tradition of the legendary Norwegian race. Nowhere is more beloved by the silent sport community than the Rivers Eatery, serving up stone oven pizza and fresh beer from the Angry Minnow brewery in Hayward. A tradition is buying a round for your friends by putting it on the chalkboard for their next visit.
9. Ray’s Tavern (Green River, Utah)
Unassuming Ray’s Tavern is a staple among whitewater rafters, Arches National Park visitors, and those driving across the west on Interstate 70. Let’s face it, Utah isn’t known for its bars, but Ray’s Tavern is an exception. The burgers are big and delicious and a number of cold beers are on tap. Despite the remote location, the bar and patio fill up on weekends.
10. McGrath’s Irish Pub - Inn at Long Trail (Killington, Vermont)
Located in the heart of the Green Mountains along the famed Appalachian Trail, the Inn is home to bustling McGrath’s Irish Pub. Thru-hikers and local adventurers keep McGrath’s lively, including contributing to the distinction of most Guinness served anywhere in Vermont. The skiing and snowboarding are good too—Killington Mountain is the largest ski area in the eastern United States.