What would skiers do without après? Frankly, we’re not interested in finding out. Durango is an après paradise, where the sun always shines, the snow never melts and the beer flows like water.
Choosing the proper place to kick up the boots and bliss out isn’t hard. This time-honored tradition requires epic views, great drinks, and good company at the very least. And since Durango has plenty of all three, the conditions are prime for a little post-turn partying. Just because the lift stops, doesn’t mean the fun has to.
Top Stops at Purgatory Resort:
Spring skiing is on its way, a time when the slopes are plagued by more blue jeans and swimwear than ski bibs, but that won’t affect how your hot toddy tastes. On the mountain, you’ll never stray more than a mile away from body-warming, confidence-building beverages. From the beach, you’ll find the Bear Bar and Grille at Purgy’s. From the front side, there’s the Powderhouse and on the back slopes of the mountain, the beloved Dante’s Backside Bistro. Parents fear not, each locale is family-friendly.
- The Bear Bar. Best for: Beach bumming, live music, Bloody Marys, and people watching.
- Powderhouse. Best for: A mid-run breather, speedy service, and terrain park access.
- Dante’s. Best for: Mountain views, deck lounging, meeting people, and quick meals.
Top Stops around Durango:
Looking for a stop on your way back to town or the hotel? These three spots are ideal, whether you just want a quick drink or a place to post up all evening.
Best Atmosphere; Best Pizza: Olde Schoolhouse Saloon. Slow service, sassy bartenders, rowdy patrons and insanely delicious pizza-- all the reasons we love the Olde Schoolhouse, located just a few miles south of Purgatory Resort. It’s not the first place I’d bring the kids, but if you’re looking for a good time, it's always reliable. This little white cabin off the side of Highway 550 is special, a favorite for both locals and seasoned visitors. It has bar games, a pool table, lots of charm and a real Southwestern mountain vibe.
Best Location; Best Burger: James Ranch. Only open for food during the winter on Saturdays, from 11-5 P.M, this expansive working ranch is a must-visit for any weekend warrior on their way back to town. In the winter, a pop-up cowboy tent serves as the dining area. With its twinkling lights, wood-burning stove, and huge windows, it brings a cozy, picnicky vibe to any après party. Bring the whole family and take on the slower pace of farm life, if only for a moment.
Best Biergarten; Best Beer: Ska Brewing's World Headquarters. Durango’s own wind-powered brewery serves award-winning, nationally-adored beers all evening long. Ideally during après, you want the opportunity to sit outdoors, but not the obligation. With two different levels of indoor and outdoor seating, Ska is a welcoming hearth for all travelers, with plenty of space to spread out. And if you’ve ever dreamed of eating your dinner from a tricked out shipping container with beautiful alpenglow views and picture-perfect scenery, you can cross that off your bucket list too.
PC: Instagrammer @cody.yarbrough
Top Stops on Historic Main Avenue:
Want to stay within walking-distance of the hotel and shops of Durango's historic Main Avenue? Follow the sound of live music and guarantees of balcony views.
Best Food/Drink Selection; Best Energy: 11th Street Station. Sometimes the slopes get the better of you. You leave all your strength at the top of the mountain, and après just means you want to assess the severity of your windburn and sip a nightcap. Your only hope of rallying would be to surround yourself with a great set of happy people. 11th Street Station is where you’ll find it. With a parking lot full of food trucks offering any and everything you could possibly need, fear not about arguing what kind of food the group wants. Every man for himself at this motor-inspired, eclectic depot. There is seating both outdoors around the heater and inside near the cocktail bar and coffee bar lounge.
Best Balcony; Best In-town Pizza: Fired Up Pizzeria. Fired Up Pizzeria has moved next door to its old location, to make room for its newest neighbor, Mountain Taco. Both restaurants are owned by the same family and share the same love of delicious, unique spins on food favorites, but only Fired Up boasts the best balcony in town. Enjoy a birds eye view of Main Avenue, with room to kick back and lounge for as long as you’d like. The restaurant, once a bank, then an art gallery, and now a wood-fired pizzeria, has everything you need for après, including a full bar. They even offer a cauliflower crust for gluten-free, keto-friendly options.
Best Live Music; Best Nightlife: Balcony Bar and Grill. Après is not a luxury but a necessity; that’s what you’ll learn from a night spent at the Balcony. Often host to some of the greatest downtown dance parties, here you’ll enjoy a wide selection of drinks and cozy bar foods. Its corner location on 600 Main Avenue allows it the great 180-degree vista of town and only attracts the most fun of patrons.
Best Comfort Food; Best Sports Bar: Steamworks Brewing. The claim to Steamworks' fame may not be as a sports bar, but the huge array of television screens make it a viewing-party favorite. If you’re looking for a post-mountain game to watch, the bar here is an ideal place to set up. Steamworks has a huge menu of award-winning beers and delicious comfort foods, from burgers and pizzas, to tacos, pastas, and their famous Cajun Boil. The balcony may not share the same mountain views as others on Main Avenue, but the high-on-life energy is just the same.