Dinner and a show in Denver’s nearby ski resort towns
January 25, 2016
The thought of a warm plate before you, friends at your side and musical vibrations caressing your ears warms the heart. Since medieval ages when jesters performed in front of kings and noblemen at royal feasts, the concept of dinner and a show has been a tantalizing thought for the human race. Surprisingly, these days this can sometimes be hard act to find in our current age of nightclubs and music-focused venues. However, here in Summit County, the idea of a hearty meal served with a side of musical notes is still alive and well.
Want some guitar with that clam chowder? At the Goat Soup and Whiskey Tavern in Keystone, this is far from out the question. Rough on the edges, but rich in character, the tavern offers an authentic Summit experience with stellar food to match. The Goat hosts a number of performances throughout the winter in a sizable concert room separate from the dining area. Popular mountain band Funky Johnson plays regularly, as well an eclectic menagerie of other artists. Although most known for their trademark soups, the menu is filled with a variety of classic American fare, like the "sloppy scotty" — a hot dog loaded with Coney sauce, onion and cheese. In addition to their stellar food, the Goat offers some of the cheapest beer prices in the county.
Goat Soup and Whiskey Tavern: 22954 US-6, Dillon, CO
Another Keystone joint worth checking is the Snake River Bar and Saloon. Fine dining is pinnacle at the Snake, and their food is worth every penny. With sublime items like the New York strip steak, prime rib, king crab and lobster on the menu, you're guaranteed to leave with a happy face. The music at the Snake isn't too shabby either. Each weekend, live bands play and dancing is held in the saloon across the hall from the dining room. With a separate yet still close proximity, one can enjoy a quiet meal then let loose on the dance floor shortly after. Bluegrass, jam, blues, rock and reggae artists often play the Snake.
Snake River Bar and Saloon: 23074 US-6, Dillon CO
When Breckenridge's local music venue, Three20South closed its doors in 2014, Motherloaded Tavern arguably became the premier live music spot in Breckenridge. Motherloaded is frequented by an eclectic group of artists, ranging from Pink Floyd cover bands to old blues musicians. The ambience at Motherloaded is quaint, with a sizable license plate collection adorning the walls. Their food shares the same high level of character, with signature items like the bacon and peanut butter burger, "not-chos" and cheese curds highlighting the menu.
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Motherloaded Tavern: 103 S Main St, Breckenridge, CO
The Gold Pan Saloon in Breck may have a smaller scene than Motherloaded when it comes to live music, but its charm more than makes up the difference. Built in 1879, the "Pan" holds the longest continuously running liquor license west of the Mississippi River. With a weekly open mic night, occasional live bands, great stage, jukebox and dance floor, this historic bar is not to be missed. Their food is historic as well, with hearty burgers and burritos, legendary breakfasts and cheap PBR.
The Gold Pan: 103 N Main St, Breckenridge, CO
Looking for something a bit jazzier? The Blue River Bistro, also in Breck, hosts live blues, bop, swing, Latin and jazz every Friday and Saturday, from 5-10 p.m. through New Year's, and Sunday-Thursday from January-May. The toe-tapping music pairs perfectly with the casually-sophisticated atmosphere around it. The Bistro specializes in Italian-American cuisine, along with a collection of seasonal wines and cocktails. Although it does have an upscale feel, there are still a few bargains to be had, such as $3 draft beers during happy hour. If you're looking for a place for romantic night out without having to spend your life savings, the Bistro is it.
Blue River Bistro: 305 N Main St, Breckenridge, CO
In Dillon, the Dillon Dam Brewery is the spot to be for local tunes and brews. The Dam hosts open mic nights, as well as a large variety of swingin' rock, folk, country and jazz bands. Look out for their New Year's concert, when rockin' cover band Banned in Japan will play. The diversity of flavors is shared on the menu as well. The Mountain Man Mac & Cheese and Porky's Dam Platter are stick-to-your ribs good, while the warm spinach salad is a nutritious yet still filling plate. Still hungry after all that? Then check out the monster brownie — a colossal sweet featuring Heath Bar candy pieces, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate syrup. Their menu even advises that it's "Definitely for sharing!" Add in the cozy wooded ambiance and the homemade beers on tap, and you simply can't go wrong with a night at the Dam.
Dam Brewery: 100 Little Dam St, Dillon, CO
Coffee shops are a hidden gem when it comes to hearing live music. Few things in life are as relaxing as sipping on a cuppa joe while a musician strums their instrument just feet away. The Red Buffalo Cafe in Silverthorne is a place where you can experience exactly that. Every Saturday, Red Buffalo hosts live performances from local acoustic guitar and folk artists. The baristas at Red Buffalo are just as talented as the musicians, and can make a mean latte- drizzled art included. If feeling hungry, check out their delectable burritos and bagels, which also happen to be some of the cheapest in the county.
Red Buffalo Cafe: 358 Blue River Pkwy, Silverthorne, CO
Out on the hill and want to hear some live jams? Arapahoe Basin Ski Area has your answer, providing mouth-watering food that'll keep your tummy from rumbling, and lively sounds that leave your knees a-bumping. Throughout the season, a number of concerts are held on the new outdoor stage in the base area. Acts range from funk to bluegrass, and typically draw a sizable crowd, especially in the spring ski season. The best part is one can overlook these concerts from the A-frame lodge deck, while chowing down on some of the Basin's scrumptious food. A far cry from the standard cafeteria fare, items like pot stickers, pork tacos, ahi tuna and smoked ribs dot the menu, along with an extensive selection of craft beers and cocktails. Also not to be missed is the Moonlight Dinner Series. These themed meals at the mid-mountain Black Mountain Lodge feature a unique fine-dining experience long after the lifts stop running. Depending on the evening, diners either ride the lift or skin up to the dinner. Once arriving, participants are greeted with live music and an exquisite international meal, prepared by the talented Chef Chris Ryback.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area: 28194 US-6, Keystone CO