There are dozens of bars and restaurants in and around Vail that feature live music, but these four spots are my personal tried and true favorites.
Photo: Courtesy Shakedown Bar
The Red Lion
304 Bridge Street, Vail
Best for: a lively après scene
The Red Lion is a Vail institution. It’s the first place I ever dined in Vail and, really, no trip to Vail is complete without a visit to The Red Lion. It’s probably best known for being THE après ski (or hike, or shop or spa) spot, in no small part because of its live music. They have live music during après every day in the winter and frequently in the summer. Expect a lively atmosphere with oversized mugs of beer and a seasoned local musician strumming a guitar and singing some of your all-time favorite songs. Click here to learn more.
304 Bridge Street, Vail
Best for: dancing the night away
Located around the corner and downstairs from The Red Lion, Shakedown has long been a locals' favorite. Ask anyone who’s lived in Vail, whether for a ski season or for a decade, and they’ll be able to regale you with a story from “that time at Shakedown.” There’s no pretense at Shakedown – it’s got all the grit and charm you’d expect from a ski town bar, and the space is cozy – but the dance floor is plenty big enough to get your boogie on.
They book a variety of acts, so on any given night you might catch a reggae band, a couple of local guitar players covering your favorite hits or the house band jamming with a surprise guest musician from a band with national renown. Click here to learn more.
Vail Ale House
2161 N. Frontage Road, Vail
Best for: an open mic night
The Ale House is the biggest of these four live music spots; there’s plenty of seating and a spacious dance floor. Being off the beaten path – in West Vail – also makes it a locals' favorite. Not that this blog is about the beer, but if it was their draft list is tops. The Ale House is a good spot for catching a rock show or a good bluegrass band, but it’s one of my top picks for its weekly open mic night, held on Monday nights. Open mics are a ski town tradition, and the Ale House is great for kicking off the week with a cold brew and some good tunes. Click here to learn more.
Photo: Courtesy Vail Ale House
The Remedy Bar
Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail
One Vail Road, Vail
Best for: a date night
The Remedy is inside Four Seasons Resort. The atmosphere is sort of speakeasy meets upscale ski chalet in an intimate setting with stunning views. Plus the drink menu is a cocktail-lovers dream (I’ll stick to a classic and take an Old Fashioned, please). In short, it’s the perfect spot to get cozy with someone special for an evening of live music. Expect to hear anything from jazz to bluegrass to a DJ spinning dance music late into the night. Click here to learn more.
Photo: Courtesy Vail Jazz at The Remedy