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).
It’s the place to “dine and dance.” And it’s also huge. This 20,000-square-foot monster was renovated by the current ownership and expanded into the area’s premier (country) live music venue, with a great bar and dinner menu. The Western-centric focus on unpretentious approachability and comforting food and drink makes for a memorable evening, be it a little blurry from drink or spinning on the dance-floor. Have a beverage at the Libation Station and chase it with a charred, mid-rare steak.
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.