The term après ski describes social gatherings after a day on the slopes, but why limit it to just skiing? We’re interested in après-everything — running, biking, hiking — as long as it means eating and drinking with friends. Here are some of the best apres spots in Colorado to wind down, wet your whistle and soak up the vibe after the day’s sweats are over.
The Golden Leaf Half Marathon is a perfect race for enjoying the beauty of fall in Colorado, including the iconic yellow aspens. For post-race pampering, do it up Aspen-style and hit the swanky St. Regis. The Shadow Mountain Lounge offers signature drinks like the Moscow Maid (vodka, lime, cucumber and black pepper) or a Spiced Margarita (tequila, jalapeno and ginger beer) next to a roaring fire — perfect for warming up from the cool autumn air. And if you happen to be there at 5:15pm, check out the daily champagne sabering at the front entrance — a St. Regis tradition.
If you’re looking for delicious comfort food and a microbrew after Tough Mudder Colorado, head to HOPS Culture. The bacon cheddar tater tots are popular and the green chile mac ‘n’ cheese is a savory, creamy treat. With 30 beers on tap and a expansive bottle selection, you’ve got almost 200 choices for your post-event pint! The outdoor patio and bar offers great people-watching, or just a way to soak up some additional rays.
Is there a happier time in Broncos Country than early fall? Celebrate the beginning of football season with the Broncos Back to Football 7K, and then witness Denver’s renaissance at the revamped Union Station. While food and drink options abound at this downtown hub, seafood lovers especially will want to visit Stoic and Genuine. Lobster rolls, raw crudo creations and specialty cocktails with homemade granitas are just a few of the reasons this place is packed seven days a week. For a casual experience try Acme Delicatessen. Fresh baked bread and artisanal meats and cheeses makes the build-your-own sandwich option a tasty treat, and the cheeseburger, served with a special secret sauce, has fast become a favorite of Denver residents.
The Taste of Louisville 15K/5K makes for a great après race destination since the food and beverages are already waiting at the finish line. After you’ve conquered your race, stroll through the festival and try a variety of local restaurants’ fare — everything from Chinese to Mexican. And of course, don’t miss local brews in the beer garden and live music at the Steinbaugh Pavillion.
In January, start your day with a run and a bowl of oats at the Lafayette Quaker Oatmeal Festival 5K, and then for lunch, mosey over to The Post Brewing Company for Southern-style fried chicken. Served by the bucket, their crispy, juicy chicken is the best in the county. Savory sides include mashed potatoes, creamed cabbage and collard greens. For dessert, have a traditional whoopie pie!
Part of the Endurance Race Series trail series, The Hoka One One Longmont Half Marathon always draws a crowd. For a delicious meal afterward, head downtown to The Roost. All of the restaurant’s meat is sourced from local farms and ranches, and all of the burgers can be substituted with a black bean patty for the no-meat folks. The bar staff prides itself on their craft cocktail selections and a curated list that pairs a shot and a beer, usually from a Colorado distillery and brewery.
If the classic Sunrise Stampede is on your summer race schedule, take advantage of the longer days to check out the microdistillery scene in Longmont after you finish running. Anvil Distillery makes award-winning vodka and gin and serves up classic martinis with a twist. Still Cellars is a gathering place for creatives and artists where you can taste whiskey, vodka or their special un-oaked brandies made with apples from Colorado’s western slope. Finally, whiskey connoisseurs should not miss Black Canyon Distillery, named for the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park because founder Fred Lesnick felt whiskey should be as awe-inspiring as the natural beauty of the canyon.