Local’s Left serves up quirky anti-love cocktails in February, the unofficial month of love
Steven Teaver is riffing on cocktails behind the bar at Local’s Left. It’s been two months since and Brandon Bigalke opened the shop in December. Friends sit at the counter, sharing drink ideas: a little more simple syrup perhaps, or the tiniest pinch of citric acid or maybe yellow chartreuse instead of green.
Teaver passes a neat whiskey cocktail over the bar. Everyone who tries it murmurs their approval. I ask what’s in it.
“That’s what I’m trying to remember,” Teaver said.
Everyone roared with laughter and there was high fiving all around: apparently, forgetting what’s in the drink is the sign that you’ve made something incredible.
February is the unofficial month of love thanks to Valentine’s Day, but Local’s Left is taking the opposite approach to the season.
The new bar in the Vail Transportation Center features different themes each month, and February’s theme is divorce. That’s right, stop by while waiting for the bus out of town with a cocktail: the Joint Custody, Getting Back on the Horse, or ball out with The Prenup, which is a “very nice Champagne,” Teaver said.
“There were some things originally about love, but a lot of us in the restaurant-bar industry… around Valentine’s, we work no matter what. So we wanted to look at the dark side of it. I made a cocktail once called As Black as Your Ex’s Heart.”
Teaver worked as the Director of Beverage at the Four Seasons and just recently left to work on Local’s Left full time. His first actual shift behind the bar was Thursday, Feb. 20.
Offbeat fun could be considered somewhat of a specialty for Local’s Left. It opened on Friday the 13th in December of 2019, featuring holiday cocktails with names like Christmas in Kentucky and Dreidel Spiritz.
“We definitely have cocktail ADD,” Teaver said. “When Brandon and I opened it, we wanted to do something that was fun and keep people coming back to such a small space.”
To that end, Local’s Left hired bartenders who have experience and passion for mixology. Bigalke moved to the valley from San Francisco to help open Pendulum that turned into Fall Line, working on the bar side of the business. He also worked at White Bison.
That expertise shows in the cocktails: these aren’t your standard tequila sodas. Each has a nice balance of sweet, tart and heat. Certainly, customers have favorites on the menu, and currently those are Joint Custody and Attorney’s Grog. But because these bartenders are experienced in top-shelf industry establishments, it’s pretty much impossible to order a bad drink.
Local’s left also has three beers on draft in addition to the cocktails: usually, they’ll carry a pilsner, an IPA and a special Vail pick. Cocktails are $11 and beers are $6. March’s theme will be polished takes on classic spring break drinks from the ‘80s and ‘90s: think Tequila Sunrises and Sex on the Beach.
On the Menu
Here’s what’s currently serving at Local’s Left.
Buffalo Trace Boubon, Amaro, Banana, Lemon, Pineapple
Los Vecinos Mezcal, Green Chartreuse, Campari, Orange Bitter
Amaro Nonino L’Aperitovi, Cava
Getting Back on the Horse
Pueblo Viejo Bianco, Lime, Pepper Syrup, Bitters
Vodka, espresso liqueur, caramel, cream
2008 Vintage Collet Champagne ($135)
Beers on draft
Epic Brewing Tart ‘N Juicy Sour IPA
Deschutes Brewery Fresh Squeezed IPA
4 Noses Brewing Co. Perfect Drift pilsner
This list reflects what was available at time of writing.
Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart contributed reporting to this story.