If any state maintains the rugged nostalgia of a romanticized, bygone West, it’s Wyoming. And with its residual ruggedness, rooted in a century’s-plus of blue collar work, there’s a need for a cultural staple: The bar. In this still-cowboy expanse of great plains, Wyoming’s watering holes remain a prominent cornerstone. Here are our 9 favorites in the state!
It’s the longest-standing bar in the area. It’s also the oldest, circa 1900. Needless to say, the Buckhorn is historic. Here, it’s all about mingling, a little dancing, revisiting the honky-tonk past, and drinking beer and decent mid-level cocktails. Come for a night out, a night at the bar, or a night spent with history.
It’s a promising sign if a food and drinking establishment boasts a formal “chef” (one who’s actually earned the title). If the chef is also the owner/operator, even better. The bar menu perfectly foils a buzz. Definitely get the “Run for the Border” burger, with wagyu and jalapeño candied bacon, alongside an icy beer or the Brown Derby cocktail (bourbon, grapefruit and honey).
A purveyor of “New Mountain Cuisine”, The Rose has indeed blossomed from humble cocktail bar to full-fledged gastropub (in the best sense of the term). It’s mouthwatering craft drink program follows the same thread as its food: An attention to detail and quality product that produces delicious, attractive and responsibly-sourced indulgences. Basically, the folks here care, and it tastes like it. A great evening requires only two parts. First, sip a Suffering Bastard, a lime, whiskey, ginger and gin concoction that’s spicy-tart, but still well-balanced. Second, savor a seven-course tasting menu.
Though tourists are likely to fill its length during holiday events and the high season, it’s undeniably a quality bar. And the Mint definitely reaps the advantages of being well over a hundred years old: A structure that’s attractively-maintained but tastefully-modernized, a respected namesake, and a solid, trial-tested menu. It has a long, very long, bar and a tasty cocktail program making it a good median between hipster craft cocktail-er and honky-tonk cowboy bar.
This particular saloon is a rarity: It absolutely lives up to its name. No more, no less. A fun-lit dance-space (yes, it’s indeed a hall) feels surprisingly welcoming. The allure is blatant but hard to pinpoint. Perhaps it’s the warm, stereotypically western, wood décor, or the down-home drink specials, or the live-music electricity of bass, neon light, casual chatter and cheerfully-stomping feet that echo from the walls. Who knows, and who cares. This place is fun after a pitcher of beer, sound-tracked by a good live band.
A headline on the website states the case simply: “Breweries and Mountain-towns go together.” And Jackson has the rare lower-48 asset of supremely-rugged mountain silhouettes that make for great snow, glacial springs and pristine brews. Snake River has been a local staple, and its cans are certainly recognizable throughout the alpine bases of the West. At the brewpub, a full bar menu, complete with brick oven, assures an ideal savory accompaniment to some of the best beer the “Aspen of Wyoming” has to offer.
A sommelier, the owner conjured the best memories of an Italian visit and realized a culinary dream. The result: It’s a wine bar, small, specialty grocer and slinger of great tapas. The everyday, Mediterranean European existed is embraced: The ritual of hanging at high-top tables, sampling wines by the glass and picking from a succession of delicious, small plates. Tapas literally translates to “tops,” as in lids, like the round dishes upon which rest scrumptious bites of vitello tonnato crostini and duck rillette.
A partner to the next-door Melissa Cafe, this tavern borrows from its sister’s focus on quality, approachability, and a happy-casual vibe. The robust clientele demands a laser-focus on quality, but fast, customer service, including the caliber of drink. But this tavern’s attractive in the absence of the simply-get-drunk-and-dance, assembly-line business plan of establishments often plaguing college towns. Relax, drink, enjoy. Repeat.
Per its name, the Outlaw is a raucous, no-BS country bar and dance-club. To encapsulate the endeavor, “happy hour” isn’t an hour. It’s a day. It’s Tuesday, all day. And the specials usually highlighting competitors’ happy hour menus are laughably commonplace here, stretching for several hours, several days a week. Live bands abound, the drink specials and enthusiastic bar-goers ensure the most fun night, wished remembered.