Dinner with a side of music in Eagle
EAGLE, Colorado -Some people think of Eagle and Gypsum as the places where families go to settle down.While that may be true, there are signs downvalley folks also know how to get down.Nestled amid the neighborhoods, frothing up along local bike routes, restaurants-turned-music venues are heating up this summer.The Wolcott Yacht Club is back after threatening in October to vanish from the music scene forever. Also, The Rittenhouse, a stately eatery on the banks of the Eagle River, has decided to give outdoor shows a try in Gypsum.And the Dusty Boot, the latest addition to Eagle Ranch, became the epicenter of family fun during a recent festival.Next time you go in search of live music, consider the off-the-beaten-path venues below. With a handful of new music havens plus a list of old favorites, your inner groupie will have no excuse but to show its face.
Ok, so the Wolcott Yacht Club is hardly new. After all, it’s been a fixture here for 18 years.But when the eatery closed for the season in October – with the owner noting it could close permanently – some people in the valley fretted. Was the storied Friday Afternoon Club gone forever?Well, the restaurant did not stay shuttered long. With a new set of managers, the eatery has reopened for the summer and is rekindling many of its fabled traditions.A trip to the yacht club on May 22 proved the Friday Afternoon Club sessions are back in full swing. A small crowd weathered the drizzle to hear local rock-bluegrass band The Laughing Bones.From about 5 to 9 p.m. on Fridays, the club rolls out its FAC menu, a mix of sliders and snacks with a decidedly nautical bent (A shrimp dunked in a shot of Bloody Mary comes in a small clear cup).On Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., mellow singer-songwriters croon as diners snack on brunch dishes like the Grand Marnier french toast ($7). Diners sip exotic wines to the sounds of live jazz on Monday nights from 7 to 9 p.m.The Wolcott Yacht Club’s sprawling stone patio has long been one of Eagle County’s popular outdoor music venues. With two stages and a bar, the space lends itself to dancing.On Thursday nights, expect to hear country bands geared toward the Beaver Creek rodeo set.- Wolcott Yacht Club, 27190 U.S. Highway 6, 970-926-3444
The gurgle of the rushing river is no longer the only soundtrack behind dining at this turn-of-the-19th-century ranch house. This elegant eatery is refashioning itself as an outdoor music venue.Assistant manager Rocky Enlow said she plans four outdoor shows. The first, starring two reggae DJs, took place Saturday, June 5. Also on tap: A rock show, a country band, and a family concert (possibly with alpenhorns).Having opened in April of last year, The Rittenhouse is eager to debut its deck. Nestled on the banks of the Eagle River, the deck promises an experience only can only get dining under an umbrella.A trip to the restaurant May 15 turned up Edwards singer-songwriter Pat Hamilton, who was perched on a stool just inside the entrance to the patio.She was kicking off what Enlow expects to be a steady stream of musicians on Fridays and Saturday nights throughout the summer.- The Rittenhouse, 630 Trail Gulch Road, 970-524-1515
Thus far, The Dusty Boot has proved a bastion of G-rated entertainment. At Boot Days, a free festival in May, families noshed on barbecue on the patio as children bounced ecstatically in a jumping castle on the lawn.Ever since the Dusty Boot christened its patio in mid-May with a trio of live music shows, it has become a gathering place for families.Chris David, general manager the Dusty Boot, said owners considered Eagle Ranch dwellers when they designed the 40-by-30-foot concrete patio that spills onto a fenced-in lawn (Plenty of room for the kiddos to run around).The Dusty Boot plans live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the patio. Expect to see local bands playing rock and bluegrass. When foul weather strikes, a small indoor parlor room can host bands.Along with the regular music line-up, The Dusty Boot plans a few more free festivals in July or August and in September.While some stray dancing does happen at the Boot, which opened in October, most music fans choose to snack on steaks and burgers as they enjoy the bands. – The Dusty Boot, 1099 Capitol St., 970-328-7002
Yeti’s Grind, EagleFor a shot of caffeinated crooning, swing by Yeti’s. Talented locals emerge every other Thursday for open mic nights, and the next one is June 11. Singers take turns manning a small stage in the front window as patrons lounge on couches.This cozy, 1,400-square-foot coffee shop hosts bands most Fridays. Bluegrass is the most common genre. A relaxed bar by night, Yeti’s boasts a list of specialty drinks (Key Lime martini anyone?). – Yeti’s Grind, 330 Broadway St., 970-328-9384 Brush Creek Saloon, EagleWhen this place reaches full tilt, it has the atmosphere of a wild west saloon. As the last stop on May’s bicycle bar crawl in Eagle, it was packed with bouncing, costumed dancers.Beginning about a month ago, the saloon has been courting the 20- and 30-something crowd with a DJ on Saturday nights, owner Vit Blanar said. The DJ generally plays hip hop or ’80s tunes. On Fridays, local bands play rock or country. Dancers get down on a 15-by-30 foot wooden dance floor inside the bar. – Brush Creek Saloon, 241 Broadway St., 970-328-5279 Grand Avenue Grill, EagleOwner Chris Ryan plans to schedule live music on Fridays about once a month throughout the summer. She’s considering bluegrass, country, rock and R&B music. Dates have not yet been set.Bands typically play on a fenced-in cement patio outside the restaurant. Grand Avenue Grill has been hosting music during the summers for the past four years. Most people munch on dinner during the music (try the horseradish crusted salmon, $17.95). – Grand Avenue Grill, 678 Grand Ave., EagleThe Back Bowl, EagleThis bowling alley hosts live music every other Saturday, general manager Doug Cahill said. Local rock bands play from 8 p.m. to midnight in front of the fireplace in the Bowlmor Cafe. The Back Bowl recently added beer pong tables on music nights. The Back Bowl has been hosting bands for three of the five years it has been open.- The Back Bowl, 50 Chambers Ave., 970-328-2695Paradigms, EagleOwner Tom McMullen has been seriously considering bringing a piano player into a room adjacent to the dining area. He’s thinking about hosting the piano player every evening, or at least on weekend nights. A piano already stands in the conversation room of this international-American fusion eatery. As the music plays, McMullen pictures customers snacking on drinks or desserts like the banana scallops ($8).- Paradigms, 343 Capitol St., 970-328-7990
Snow usually comes and goes in this part of the state. A forecasted storm is expected to stick around for a while. Forecasters are calling for snow to persist throughout the weekend in the high country, with a prospect of a couple of feet of powder by the time the storm starts to diminish on Monday.