It’s Friday, you just got off work and you want to grab a drink with some friends. Per usual for 5 o’clock in Eagle County, it’s beautiful out, so you’d prefer to be outside, with a mountain view. Luckily summertime here means Friday Afternoon Clubs, where membership is as simple as showing up to partake in drinking, eating and relaxing with live music. With FACs scattered across the county — including on Vail Mountain, at the Westin in Avon and at the Wolcott Yacht Club — each provides a unique setting to start your weekend off right.
Patio Party at Maya
Maya, the modern Mexican kitchen and tequila bar owned by Chef Richard Sandoval, is inside The Westin Riverfront Resort in Avon (formerly Cima) and kicks off its own FAC today. The lovely patio overlooking the Eagle River opens at 4 p.m., which is the start to the daily happy hour that goes until 6 p.m. Happy hour includes specials like $5 margaritas made with tequila blanco, $4 beers, $2 tacos and $4 bites, which include items like steak or wild mushroom flatbread, chicharrónes and more.
Live music starts at 6 p.m. and goes until 10 p.m. Tonight, Louisville–based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kyle James Hauser will perform. Following Hauser’s performance, Denver native Holly Lovell will take the stage. Produced by The Fray’s Ben Wysocki, Lovell’s versatile sound can be compared to Patty Griffin and Mindy Smith.
On June 28, Maya brings two Boulder bands to town. The evening begins with The Yawpers, a three-piece that bring a fresh blend of alt-country and rock ‘n’ roll. After The Yawpers, West Water Outlaws will jam for the rest of the night. Having performed at Shakedown Bar in Vail last week, West Water Outlaws have been compared to The Black Keys and The Doors.
“I like the crowd out there in the mountains,” said West Water Outlaws bassist Vince Elwood in a recent interview with Vail Daily. “The audience is always really receptive to the music.”
Convenience is key for Maya’s FAC. Free valet is offered to those who dine at Maya, and the deck has plenty of outdoor seating as well as an outdoor bar, for fast service. Before the sun sets, guests can relax and enjoy the breeze with a cocktail. After it gets dark, heat lamps are turned on and Maya’s fire pit is lit to keep attendees comfortable.
“Cruise over on your bike and your first drink is on the house,” said Jamie Barrutia, Colorado regional marketing and brand manager for Richard Sandoval Restaurants.
Wolcott Yacht Club
Already in full swing for the summer, the Wolcott Yacht Club hosts FAC from 5 to 9 p.m. each Friday.
Umbrellas line Wolcott’s outdoor, cobblestone patio, offering attendees plenty of shady spots from which to listen to free local and national musical acts.
“Our patio is stunning and holds a terrific amount of people,” said Wolcott owner Jan-Marie Jouflas.
Tonight’s music will be provided by Colorado-native Chuck Grossman, a fingerstyle bluegrass and funk guitarist/vocalist whose influences span from Bonnie Raitt to John Hiatt. On June 28, Wolcott hosts Vail’s own Harry Baxter Band, who have opened for artists like BB King and Sister Sledge.
Hungry? Chef Michael Joersz focuses on using seasonal and sustainable ingredients to provide quality creations. The restaurant also offers a raw seafood bar. The menu includes other tasty options like gazpacho, fish tacos and sweet corn and edamame chowder.
Drink specials change weekly, and include options huckleberry-infused vodka drinks or beers like Victory, and other microbeers from Colorado and beyond on tap.
“We’re centrally located, and since everything winds down by 9 p.m., it’s perfect for those who want to continue their evening and go out right from here,” said Jouflas.
For a full line-up of scheduled artists and more information, visit www.wolcottyachtclub.com or call 970-926-1390.
It doesn’t get much closer to heaven than this. Vail’s mountaintop Friday Afternoon Club begins June 28 and will take place every Friday after that, with festivities going from 5 to 9 p.m. Held at Talon’s Deck at Eagle’s Nest, visitors and locals alike can hop on the Eagle Bahn Gondola (#19) with their 2013-’14 passes for a scenic ride to the top of the mountain.
“The gondola ride up is awesome over the summer, especially if you’re used to riding it over the winter,” said Kelly Paton, a frequenter to Vail’s FAC. “It gives you a totally new perspective.”
Those who haven’t secured a pass for next winter yet can get a good deal by purchasing one at www.epicpass.com. Twilight gondola tickets can be purchased after 4 p.m. and include a $10 credit voucher good towards the purchase of food or drinks at Talon’s Deck Grill and Bistro Fourteen, or towards Adventure Ridge activities. The last ride up the Eagle Bahn Gondola during evening operations is at 9 p.m.
“It’s got a great atmosphere,” said Sara Lococo of Vail Mountain Communications. “We have plenty of games — beanbags, horseshoes, even a slackline park.”
During Vail’s FAC, enjoy live music provided by local and regional bands. For the first FAC of the summer season, Bluzilla brings its combination of funk, twang and of course blues. Wolf Masters Dawn will perform July 5, and Kevin Heinz and Friends is slated for July 12.
“It’s a great way to enjoy the beautiful summer weather we have in Vail, to get out of the village and do something different,” said Paton. “There’s always plenty of family activities for the little kids, and us big kids.”
For more information, visit www.vail.com, or stop by the Mountain Information Center in Lionshead open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or call 970-754-8245.