It’s fall here in the Vail Valley and that means the summer crowds are gone, things are calming down, prices are dropping and it’s time to savor the good life for awhile until the snow returns and with it, après ski. With this in mind, here are four great off-season happy hours that will get you through the fall with your wallet intact.
Loaded Joe’s (3 – 7 p.m., Avon) $3 Beers, $4 Wells, $5 Wines
Not your ordinary coffee shop, at happy hour Loaded Joe’s revolves around good wine, great beer, and, at its Avon location, a full bar and live music. Owner Kent Bediel keeps his focus on the locals, which is why the prices don’t get much cheaper than this. If being happy is your thing, then Loaded Joe’s is your place.
Maya Grill (3:30 – 5:30 p.m., Avon) $3 Tacos, $4.50 Cervezas, $6.50 Sangria
Chef Richard Sandoval has put together a tasty, contemporary menu of Mexican and Latin-inspired dishes at Maya, but he’s really scored a home run with the happy hour offerings which include Botanas (Mexican tapas) for $5 and the $3 tacos (get 3 of each for $8).
Lancelot (5:30 p.m. to close, Vail Village) $3 Trumer Pilsner, $6 Wines, $7 Prime Rib Sliders
One of Vail’s most venerable fine dining establishments, Lancelot becomes a reality for locals on a budget during the fall season when an affordable happy hour menu dials back the dollar signs with $3 pils and $7 prime rib sliders. Have a cold one or two and give a toast to chef/owner Werner Schadl, because at most places a $3 beer means you’re drinking Coors.
Terra Bistro (5 – 6 p.m. daily, Vail Village) $6-$10 Small Plates, $5 Wells, $8 Wine
Winner of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence, Terra Bistro has also earned accolades from such publications as Gourmet and the New York Times, mostly due to an obsession with the highest quality ingredients. Their happy hour is a locals' secret and the bar fills up quickly, so arrive by five and enjoy every minute.