Between two epic days at Monarch to start off the week, there was of course a night in Salida. My belly's growl silenced by an Amica's pizza, I stopped in to watch the U.S.-Canada hockey match at the Tenderfoot Tavern.
Some mountain bars are none too fond of outsiders, but this place isn't one of them -- it's cavernous, woodsy, and friendly, with darts and pool and Monarch posters on the ceiling.
And PBR pints are $2 a pop.
The bartender, Andy, mans the sunken horseshoe-shaped bar -- clearly one of the best bar archetypes -- with a smile. The locals at the bar are quick to answer my questions about Monarch. The bar itself features a faux-wood formica. I feel at home.
"You out of here, John?" asks Andy as a regular stands and pulls on his coat.
"No, I'll be back in a little while," John retorts, adding to leave his tab open.
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I get a refill on my PBR before asking Andy about the bar. "It used to be the Triple M," he says. "Now it's the Double T. It's the best bar in town." Fridays have karaoke and are "pretty packed," he says, but the rest of the week is "hit or miss."
It's mostly a miss on this particular Sunday night, but the U.S. takes the lead on Canada, the beer is cold, and the snow continues to fall on Monarch Pass.
Tenderfoot Tavern, 109 N. 'F' St., Salida, 719-539-4030.