A lot of today’s travelers say that they want to “experience a place like a local.” They don’t mean they want to wake up at 6 and go to work like a local, but they do want to experience the local favorites; local bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. They want what the local like to do, see, taste and hear.
During our travels across Colorado and beyond, Ryan and I have discovered that you can often take the pulse of a community by bellying up to the bar instead of sitting at a table at a restaurant. For instance, this past weekend after Winter Park Beer Festival we bellied up to the bar at Hernando’s Pizza & Pub. This place has fantastic pizza and while tourists love it, locals do too.
We quickly made friends with awesome local gal sitting next to us, and this happens all the time, but only if we sit at the bar.
You don’t need to be drinking all night to take advantage of this tip. A seat at the bar for dinner puts you right in the action. Want to know where to find the best breakfast in town? Someone at the bar will know, if not, the bartender’s bound to have a favorite. Wondering what town events the locals never miss? Ask, they’ll happily give you their opinions on many matters. After all, who doesn’t enjoy talking about their town?
If Ryan and I choose to sit at a restaurant table we’re in our own little sphere, and sometimes we want that type of privacy. At the bar, however, the walls of privacy do not exist – this is why sitting at the bar isn’t for everyone.
Conversations with strangers occur more easily over a beer. If I’m traveling alone, like I did last year at Steamboat’s All Arts Festival, I always chose the bar over a table. If I don’t run into any friendly faces, at least I can chat up the bartender and learn insider information about the town.
Once, while alone at a wine bar in Vail I started talking to a gal from Denver who owned a condo in Vail Village. We hit it off and she invited me to a little shindig happening at her house later that evening.
“Just bring a bottle of wine,” she said. “Everyone’s really nice and we’d love to have you!”
I already had evening plans otherwise I just may have taken her up on this offer.
Lastly, if you follow this #TravelTuesday tip you just might run into some real characters out there in the world. How do you think Ryan and I met Ullr, the God of Snow in Breckenridge? By belling up to the bar at the Gold Pan Saloon, that’s how. We bought him a drink. After all, buying a god a beer has got to be good luck.