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Apres-Ski Delights: Cozy Bars and Restaurants in Pagosa Springs

Powder by Day at Wolf Creek, Food and Drinks by Night in Pagosa

Even in Colorado, where we have nearly 40 ski resorts spread throughout the state, Wolf Creek Ski Resort stands alone. With an annual snowfall total often surpassing 400 inches, the term “powder day” takes on a special meaning at our backyard ski resort (just 25 miles away), where it’s not uncommon for Wolf Creek to pick up 2-3 feet of fresh snow after a storm. The mountain has old-school charm, maintaining its rustic feel and focusing on actual skiing and snowboarding rather than the designer stores and luxurious restaurants of other more crowded corporate resorts. You’ll find breakfast burritos in the morning at the Wolf Creek Lodge and afternoon brats and burgers on the outdoor grill, but after an exhilarating day of skiing some of the best snow in the world, wind down with dinner and drinks at these bars and restaurants in Pagosa Springs. From local craft beers and delicious cocktails to tacos, margaritas, and farm-to-table dishes, it’s all just less than a mile from our Pagosa Springs Hotel – the apres-ski options are as enticing as the deep powder just down the road at Wolf Creek..

Happy couple of snowboarders are having fun

Tasty Brews, Authentic Tacos, and Farm-to-Table Flavors

Post-ski days turn into a welcoming pub-like atmosphere at Riff Raff on the Rio, less than a 2-minute walk from your Riverwalk Inn room on Pagosa St. You can’t miss it, as their massive silo is visible from the street, storing the grain for their impressive 15-barrel brewing system. Start with a taster flight of their exceptional beer lineup, which includes everything from an easy-drinking honey blonde and ultra-hoppy “Hopgoblin” IPA to one-of-a-kind brews like the El Duende, made with a mix of Hatch and Anaheim chiles. If beer isn’t your first choice, order one of their ten specialty cocktails, mimosas, or sangria. While food is an afterthought at some breweries, Riff Raff’s kitchen is the real deal. Share appetizers like mouth-watering double-fried wings, Wisconsin-style cheese curds served with an aioli sauce, or their delicious “Potachos,” which substitute sweet potato fries for tortilla chips and come topped with a mountain of nacho fixings. Keep the meal going with more rounds of beer and bigger plates like the pulled pork sandwich with spicy beer-based BBQ and their toothsome meatloaf sandwich, made from a delectable combo of yak meat and chorizo. During the winter months, the expert Riff Raff brewing team often taps unique beers like Russian Imperial Stouts – they pack a legit buzz at 9-10% ABV and are sure to warm you up after a chilly day on the high peaks at Wolf Creek. Riff Raff is one of our favorite local restaurants, and their indoor tables and outdoor patio fill up every night (they’re open until 9 pm) – it’s a great place to mingle with locals, enjoy views of the river flowing just feet away, and share tales of your best runs of the day.

Kip's Grill is your spot for traditional Mexican plates and margaritas that pack a punch, with live music adding to the ambiance on many nights. You can’t go wrong with their tequila list, which includes over 15 varieties (and two mezcals if you prefer some extra smokiness), and the margaritas are a hit – go classic with the coin margarita or opt for a more inventive twist like the prickly pear, pomegranate, or Aloha, made with pineapple. Their beer list includes heavy-hitting brews from all over Colorado, like Odell’s, New Belgium, and Ska Brewing. Share a massive plate of nachos and choose from their impressive variety of authentic street-style tacos – chicken, barbacoa, spicy shrimp, and vegetarian-friendly portobello are among the ten options.

Another spot within walking distance and neighbors with Riff Raff on the Rio, Meander Riverside Eatery will elevate your typical ski town dinner experience, showcasing executive chef Justin Jacob’s culinary creativity with their farm-to-table menu. Bouillabaisse, the perfect antidote for a brisk wintry evening, is made even better with shaved fennel and housemade cream on top. The chicken wings with house buffalo sauce are a step above standard bar wings, while braised pork belly and Khao Soi northern Thai curry overflow with delicate flavors. Have their knowledgeable staff suggest a wine pairing, whether a Californian brut, Tuscanese Sangiovese, or French champagne. Their cocktails are also top-notch, some featuring local Pagosa honey and homemade bitters. From excellent service to their highest quality ingredients, there’s no better place to go for upscale apres-ski dinner and drinks – Meander will make your ski day that much more memorable.

cocktails at the bar

A Bar for Every Mood – From Top-Notch Cocktails to a Classic Dive Bar

If you’re looking for a bar with a fancier feel, the Neon Mallard has a speakeasy vibe, with retro lounge furniture and hip art on the walls, while knowledgeable bartenders mix up some of the best cocktails around. They have five beers on tap (including the Pagosa fave – Riff Raff) and a wide selection of wines, ranging from cabernet and pinot noir to chardonnay and pinot grigio. But cocktails are their true specialty – pick from standbys like martinis, rye manhattans, and the Pagosa Pina Colada alongside seasonal creations like the holiday Paloma (with a rosemary sprig). While you sip, enjoy the sundried tomato or prosciutto burrata, served with crackers (available gluten-free, too) and a toasty baguette. On some nights, they host trivia or live lounge piano, and their outdoor firepit is perfect for proposing cheers under the stars in the crisp mountain air.

A newcomer on the Pagosa scene, having just opened their doors in late January of 2024, Cork and Board offers a tempting array of wine, beer, and food pairings in a classy space. Like Meander, they are open Wednesday through Saturday nights with a warm and inviting wine bar aesthetic. Order toasted garlic and herbed olive oil baguette slices or the classic meat and cheese charcuterie for the table, a tasty spread of olives, cheese, cured meats, and crackers. Pair it with one of their six Colorado-brewed beers or dive into their impressive wine list, one of the best in town, with bottles sourced by a sommelier from Europe, Napa Valley, Oregon, and Australia. Finish your meal with their S’Mores Board, when your group can make personal S’mores over a table-top fire pit, a festive way to celebrate after an unforgettable powder day on the slopes.

Stay with us, where epic days of skiing or snowboarding at Wolf Creek lead into fun-filled evenings at the lively bars and restaurants in Pagosa Springs!


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