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Downhill slope: Pagosa Bar

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It's difficult to tell sometimes at first blush, but some bars are locals' bars and some bars welcome out-of-towners with open arms. The Pagosa Bar is definitely in the former category.

After a day skiing Wolf Creek and a soak across town, we cross the frosty San Juan by footbridge into downtown Pagosa Springs. I take a blurry picture of the sign (above, severely retouched), but we walk into the smoky bar.

Nobody yells out Norm or does much of anything except drink and smoke (yeah, they still do that in the Pagosa). We sit at a pair of barstools fronting the bar. One guy suspiciously stares from the other side.

The walls are plastered with those two often interrelated American icons, guns and dollars, not to mention some pretty cool Western murals. The bartender serves us cheap PBR drafts and chats us up a bit. The guy at the other side of the bar may be her boyfriend. He continues to stare.

A couple plays a game of pool. The guy pokes my friend in the back. "Hey, can you move so I can shoot?" My friend obliges.

The bartender continues to be friendly. The guy continues to stare. We finish our beers and take our leave.

Pagosa Bar, 4360 N. Pagosa Blvd., Pagosa Springs, 970-264-5798.

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