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The Tap Room

Wren Wertin

The Tap Room used to be a bar that happened to serve pretty good food. Now it’s morphed into a family-friendly restaurant that happens to have a lively bar. Tucked upstairs in the Vista Bahn building at the top of Bridge Street, it feels like what it is: a private-club-turned-locals’-place.

“The Tap Room has always served bar food on steroids,” says owner Steve Kaufman. “Now we’re taking it a little bit further.”

Kaufman has another place over the pass in Dillon, Red Mountain Grill. He’s recently brought some of the mainstays of that menu to The Tap Room. Pizzas have been replaced by prime rib, fish and chips, pistachio-crusted trout, New York strip steak and stuffed chicken breasts every night of the week. Portions are enormous ” it will take two beers to get through an entree. Three if you’re a slow eater.

Executive Chef Tim Metternick is old-school about barbecue ” it just can’t be rushed. The baby-back ribs come to the table fiercely sensitive to gravity. Pick one up and the meat peels off the bone without preamble. Cooked low and slow, the full rack is hands-on stuff: saucy and extravagant. Accompanied by mashed potatoes and grilled veggies of the day, nobody’s leaving hungry.

The snap of fresh lettuce is is a summer necessity. The Tap Room’s house salad is embellished with candied walnuts, pears and blue cheese crumbles galore. It could almost make a meal, as could the bright Chinese chicken salad or ahi-topped mixed greens.

Despite the new options on the menu, the restaurant will always be a comfortable spot for friends to kick back and eat some pub grub ” albeit elevated ” while watching any of the high-definition screens. (There’s a reason The Tap Room ranked #8 on a national list of apres-ski bars in the country.) Monday is wing night. In the height of the season, Metternick and his staff might prep 1,000 pounds of the tasty morsels. The lettuce wraps (chicken or ahi) and artichoke dip have become the epitome of comfort food. But unleash your inner sweet tooth on one of Jason Latta’s cheesecake specials. Made daily according to his whim, they leave you wanting more.

The Tap Room

Top of Bridge Street

970.479.0500

taproomvail.com


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