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Eric Gruneisen

The Pioneer Inn

Eric Gruneisen
The Pioneer Inn has made a lot of history -- and music -- since it opened in Nederland four decades ago. During the heyday of the Caribou Ranch, a recording studio that ran from the early '70s until it was damaged by fire in 1985, musicians stopping in Colorado for recording sessions would take breaks at the Pioneer. Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, Carole King and Waylon Jennings all dropped by. John Lennon sat at the bar; Joe Walsh tended it. Live music had long been a fixture at the inn, but it faded away in recent years. Now Dave Lyons, who took over the Pioneer in 2011 with Cindy Shaw, is bringing it back, taking advantage of Nederland's music community and booking acts seven days a week. While the place still retains a lot of its rustic charm, there have been a few updates -- namely, improvements on its American and Mexican comfort menu, as Shaw has stepped up the food game by using fresher ingredients and being a little more conscious of vegetarian and gluten-free diets.


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