Vail’s Tap Room: beyond pub fare | VailDaily.com
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Vail’s Tap Room: beyond pub fare

Shauna Farnell
Vail, CO Colorado
Vail Daily file photoTap Room patrons enjoy drinks and food in the early evening on the sunny deck of the restaurant on Bridge Street in Vail, Colorado
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VAIL, Colorado –With its prime spot steps away from the Vista Bahn, The Tap Room is one of Vail, Colorado’s key apres ski spots in the winter. But the restaurant remains on everyone’s list of favorites in the summer too, especially when nearly everything on the menu is $10 or less.

The Tap Room offers all you could want in pub fare. The fish and chips are beer-battered to order and are some of the best around, as is the artichoke dip – creamy and crunchy with spinach, house-made ricotta cheese and walnuts. But the chefs also pride themselves on the restaurant’s healthier and more eclectic offerings.

When it comes to lettuce, unlike many pubs, it’s not just a matter of one leaf inside a burger or sandwich – though don’t miss burger-and-a-beer for $6 on Tuesdays. The salads are huge, fresh and full of surprises. The house salad features the restaurant’s walnut-stilton vinaigrette, candied walnuts and pears while the crunch in the Chinese chicken salad comes from crispy pea pods and peanuts.

About every local in the valley is addicted to the establishment’s chicken wings. The Buffalo sauce is pure decadent delight and Monday is the night to indulge when all-you-can-eat wings are $5. The lettuce wrap is simultaneously mouth-watering and super light. Choose either spicy chicken or perfectly prepared seared tuna and pile on the sweet onion salad, ginger salsa and potent chile sauce – your mouth will feel refreshed.

The meaty dishes on the menu are also lighter for summer. The baby back ribs consistently live up to their promise of “fall-off-the-bone tender” with just the right amount of The Tap Room’s renowned barbecue sauce. A half rack comes with a juicy ear of grilled corn – the best grilled plate you’ll find outside of your own patio.

Chef Jason Latta enjoys perfecting the green chile and other sauces in with the restaurant’s South of the Border offerings – steak and chicken burritos, plus fish tacos featuring that very special beer-battered cod. Latta can also serve up a plate of spaghetti and meatballs that would raise the eyebrows of any Italian mother.

Sharing may be the best way to handle the brownie sundae – it’s huge. The freshly baked brownies are scrumptiously soft and the whipped cream, also made in-house, is so fluffy it just might fly away.

As for drinks, sticking to the tap is far from the only option, though it’s one of few bars in the valley to offer Smithwick’s from Ireland and Trumer Pilsner from Austria on draft. The Patron margaritas are tangy and dangerous, the martini list is long and full of simple favorites (classic and extra dry) as well as sweeter and more exotic elixirs. The French Martini with Grey Goose, Chambord and pineapple juice is a nice go-between.

Grab a table on the small patio for lunch and expect a crowd for dinner Sunday through Friday, as The Tap Room offers specials every night.


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