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You Are Backcountry: Your Favorite Mountain-Town “Dive” Bars

We asked our loyal Facebook fans for their top North American ski-town dive bars, and the response was enthusiastic, if not entirely united on what constitutes a “dive” bar.

Perhaps y’all are used to the private wet bar in your Gulfstreams, or the lounge at the Four Seasons in Aspen, but some of the spots you suggested as dives are, dare we say, downright nice. It’s true, however, that a real dive can be hard to find in the exclusive, moneyed towns that often sit at the bases of ski resorts, so we’ve suspended our own definition of “dive” and given you free rein to name your favorite purveyors of alcoholic beverages. Here are your top bar picks in no particular order, and why you need to get there ASAP (as if a post-ride beer wasn’t reason enough).

Wyoming

Mangy Moose, Jackson

The Mangy Moose in Jackson, Wyoming

Jackson has a TON of awesome bars, but one reigns supreme, whether you like it or not. “The Moose” is easily the most-mentioned bar from the whole list, and when you go, you’ll see why. This rustic watering hole right in the Village gets packed to the brim every day from 3:30 on, with both the top and bottom floor bars busting out bottles, shots, and the infamous double margs that will put you on the bottom of your hot tub after a second round. Live music on the weekends and killer nachos add to the appeal, but don’t expect dive-bar prices. The Moose will lighten your wallet surprisingly fast.

Honorable Mentions

The Stagecoach, Wilson

The Village Café, Teton Village

The Pacific Northwest

Charlie’s Mountain View, Government Camp, OR

If it were possible, Charlie’s Mountain View would cast the shadow of the Platonic ski bar on the wall for others to imitate. Family-owned since the ’70s, Charlie’s is stuck in time in the very best way possible, and gets rowdy like only a real dive bar can. You know that bar you went to with the good burgers, the cheap drinks, and all the crazy shit on the walls (like life-sized carved wooden skiers)? That was Charlie’s.

Honorable Mentions

Grumpy’s, Ketchum, ID

Garibaldi Lift Company, Whistler, BC

Utah

No Name, Park City

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The No Name is another favorite among the Facebook crowd, thanks to its authentic feel and no-brainer location in the heart of Park City’s Main Street. A recent expansion in the last few years added much-needed space in the back and a second level with a rooftop deck, but it also eliminated the disgusting bathrooms that used to cement dive status for this saloon. The buffalo burgers are tasty, but seem to get $1 pricier every year (thanks, Sundance). Beer comes in huge 32-ounce steins from the tap, and cocktails like Screwdrivers and Greyhounds are a solid move, thanks to the fresh orange and grapefruit juicers behind the bar. Seekers of a real dive, however, will head next door to O’Shucks or across the street to local favorite Bistro 412.

Honorable Mentions

Cotton Bottom, Salt Lake City

Molly Green’s, Brighton

Shooting Star, Huntsville

The Peruvian, Alta

Colorado

Moose Jaw, Frisco

Congratulations to whomever is a fan of the Moose Jaw. This is a real, honest-to-goodness dive bar in Summit County, and those who support it should be honored to do so. The ’Jaw offers the simple essentials that all dive bars should never be without: stiff drinks, good burgers, and cheap beer on tap. Bonus features include crispy fries, postcards lacquered into the tables, softball team photos on the wall, and friendly, efficient staff.

Honorable Mentions

Gold Pan Saloon, Breckenridge

Woody Creek Tavern, Aspen

The Goat, Keystone

Mulligan’s, Copper Mt.

Talk Of The Town, Crested Butte

The Northeast

Funky Red Barn, Bethel, ME

There are only a few options open to visitors of Sunday River Ski Resort when it comes to post-schuss imbibing, and even fewer when it comes to late-night entertainment. Despite this lack of pressure to provide a high-quality experience, the Funky Red Barn delivers above and beyond the call. Tucked away on a side street in downtown Bethel, you’ll find cheap drinks, great atmosphere (lots of wood paneling and ski memorabilia on the walls), and the best under-$15 prime rib dinner anywhere. DJs and dancing on the weekend nights makes the Barn a favorite with locals as well as tourists, and we all know that local flavor is the secret sauce that separates a great dive from a merely good one.

Honorable Mentions

The Rack, Sugarloaf, ME

The Snow Shoe, Montgomery, VT

The Wobbly Barn, Killington, VT

Tahoe

Le Chamois, Squaw Valley, CA

LeChamois

Tahoe didn’t see a ton of love from the ’Book, but the one standout that we know to be a true champion is Le Chamois, right at the base of Squallywood, looking up at the famed KT-22 lift. The “Chammy” provides a knockout combination of good pizza, a great deck, (relatively) cheap beers, and a springtime crowd of sun-tanned Californians. Unlike some resort bars that are shunned by the local crowd, you will definitely see many of Squaw’s hometown heroes hanging out here next to weekenders from the Bay Area. Oh, and I should mention that everyone is good-looking … in fact, it’s a little bit like that scene in Aspen Extreme when TJ and Dex hit the slopeside bar and meet Bryce for the first time, but with less spandex, more naturally blonde women, and more dudes with beards.

Honorable Mentions

Pete & Peter’s, Tahoe City

Tourist Club, Truckee

Lincoln Lounge, Reno

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22Comments

Here's what the community has to say.

Milton B.

Milton B.

Montana does not even exist. It is a myth, a fable, a figment of the imagination. Montana cannot even be found and if you happen to find a creek or a crossroads with that name you will surely step in cow shit and it will get all over your hands when you try to scrape it off. No booze to be found in crossroad barbershops or creekbeds. Montana is not for you. No such place as Montana. Go to Massachusetts if you need to go someplace with a name that starts with an M. Even Canada does not recognize the existence of anyplace called Montana. Montana is a dream a leper once had about bald girls with flat chests. Stay home. No such place as Montana.

(0)

Katy H.

Katy H.

CHAMMY

Did you really misspell the Chammy?

Le Chamois=Chammy. Not "shammy."

Where's your editor? It's even spelled Chammy on the link you provide to their website

(0)

Suzy B.

Suzy B.

Yes, Montana is very full.....so full infact that the snow has already melted, there are rabid hillbillies every where. The chairlifts are all run down, some even fall apart and I hear that next year the whole state will be dry (as in no booze at all), best not to even think about coming to MT.

(0)

Bruce Pierce

Bruce Pierce

Funky Red Barn in Bethel TOTALLY Rocks Out the Rack A Sugarloaf.
I am surprised that the Matterhorn @ Sunday River didn't make the cut though

(0)

Chase

Chase

What happened to the Rack at Sugarloaf and the Red Parka Pub NH

(0)

Chase

Chase

What happened to the Rack at Sugarloaf and the Red Parka Pub NH

(0)

Reid S.

Reid S.

FACT CHECK: There is no Four Seasons in Aspen, guy.

(0)

MT Hood MC

MT Hood MC

Charlies up in Govy on the Hood is truly what all great ski town dive bars strive to be. Still not the same without Geoff Ecker behind the bar ... R.I.P.

(0)

Asenath

Asenath

MT only has dirt roads with high tolls. And hurricanes.

(2)

gohome

gohome

There is a limit to 1.5% alcohol in MT; and there is no snow projected for next year. Don't waste your time coming here. It is also filled with a bunch of crazie gun-toting outlaws, and can not be considered safe. I would stay wherever you come from.

(4)

KSpeake

KSpeake

No snow in N. California this year. We're all moving to MT.
But when there is snow on Shasta, the Wayside Grill is a great place, as is the Goat Tavern!

(0)

yourDisplayName

yourDisplayName

I agree! Where's the love for MT? We have some of the best skiing and dive bars in the country.

(1)

Mark P.

Mark P.

Funky Red Barn??? Not sure how that one made the cut. The Rack is where it's at in the Northeast

(0)

Mark P.

Mark P.

Funky Red Barn??? Not sure how that one made the cut. The Rack is where it's at in the Northeast

(1)