Tag Archives: restaurants

Winter’s Delight

by Corey Hockett

Some of the greatest moments of winter outings come as anticipation before and ravishment after. Indeed, fueling up and winding down is a big part of what makes these excursions so attractive. What beats raising a glass with your buddies at the end of an epic powder day? How good does that first sip of coffee taste before a weekend road trip? These periods of transition provide your getaway with wholesomeness. And in Bozeman, where there is no lack of adventures to choose from, après (and avant) is no different.

Fueling Up
In winter, it’s hard to leave the coziness of the comforter and strike out into the cold. Get started with hot drinks and warm sandwiches from one of our standout coffee shops and delis. If you’re headed up Bridger Canyon to the ski hill, Crosscut, or Brackett Creek, hit Ghost Town for smooth-sipping coffee and a hefty breakfast burrito. If you’re eastbound on the interstate toward Paradise Valley, pick up a warm cup o’ tea at Townshend’s. Going west, you say? Fill up at Wheat Montana at the junction of Hwy. 287 and score a serious bang for your buck with a Belt burritos. The classic rendezvous locale south of town is Slider’s Deli at the mouth of Big Sky. Grab a coffee on your way through, or, if you’re ending the day early, stop in for a sandwich or burger before your trip home. Last but certainly not least: if you’re planning a half-day at Bridger, pick up a giant Pickle Barrel sandwich and chow down on your way to the hill.

Winding Down
Ski hills are the quintessential locales for après. If you’re wrapping up a day at Bridger Bowl, you’ve got options. It’s always worth having one (just one, if you’re driving) on the hill, and for this I recommend the Grizzly Ridge Station (aka, the Griz). We’re talkin’ $3 pints here. Of Olympia, that is; but let’s face it, you’re looking for something light anyway. Face Shots in the Jim Bridger Lodge is also tried and true. Got a designated driver with you? Have one at each.

If Big Sky is your choice of exploit, you have plenty of choices as well—just be prepared to loosen the purse strings. Scissor Bills is a local favorite. Amongst the mass of infrastructure, this homey saloon overlooks the base area and has plenty of room to spread out. Have a round by the window where an upper-level perspective grants great views of the base area.

Beers are fine and dandy, but if you’re itching for something with a little more zip—something that burns the throat and warms the belly—Bozeman has an exceptional spread of distilleries. Check out Wildrye in the Cannery District and Bozeman Spirits downtown. On the way back from Bridger, stop into Valhalla Meadery for a unique, historic libation to warm your frozen insides. If you happen to be passing through Ennis, don’t miss Willie’s on the main drag—their Bighorn Bourbon rivals any whiskey in the West.

Speaking of small-town spots, some of the most pleasant après experiences are away from the Bozeman bustle—wood-door saloons, old-time taxidermy bars, and venues with no dress code whatsoever. On your next trip to Yellowstone, stop in at the Antler Pub & Grill for a western Montana meal at its finest. Heading north? Hit Canyon Ferry Brewing in Townsend after ice fishing the reservoir. In Ennis, you’ll find great beer and delicious food at Burnt Tree Brewing, across the street from Willie’s.

These are just a few of our favorite places—there are plenty more. But don’t take our word for it, get out and try for yourself. The more places you try, the better notion you’ll have of all the options to suit your winter’s day. Bozeman is a mountain town, and its après reflects that. Experience it wearing your ski pants, laughing with friends, and repping a goggle tan—the rest of us will be out there doing the same.

Downtown Low-Down

by Taylor Burlage

A local’s guide to downtown Bozeman.

Coming to a new place can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time away from home. But straying off-campus is well worth the effort, so let us help you out. First, if you don’t have your own car, a personal chauffeur, or a gracious friend willing to drive you places, you can always take the Streamline bus. With five different routes, you can get almost anywhere in Bozeman; and better yet, it’s free. Route maps can be found on page 76 of your Blue Light guide, so let’s hop on a bus and head downtown.

Alright, you made it. You have no idea where to start, but you know that you’re hungry. For something cheap but tasty, hit up Naked Noodle or Taco del Sol. Feeling like organic food prepared in-house? Stop off at the downtown Co-op and grab some grub from the hot bar or deli—it ain’t cheap, but it’s healthy and delicious. Looking for a classic Montana meal? Ale Works or Copper are good places to start.

Naked Noodle, your one-stop shop for everything pasta.

Naked Noodle, your one-stop shop for everything pasta.

Now it’s time for some music. Back in your home city, you may have had some unbeatable music venues, but don’t write Bozeman off just yet. There’s a surprisingly robust music scene around here, and it keeps getting better. New this year, the Rialto Theater is definitely up and coming here in the Bozone, offering acts from across the country in a classy, fun setting. Other locations include the Ellen Theatre (where you can catch plays, classic films, and other events, too), the Emerson Theater, and the Willson Auditorium for the symphony. Loads of other local venues cater to the 21-and-over crowd, and they have some great shows as well.

So now that you know where to eat and where the best music is, you just want to explore a little. On the east end of Main Street, the Bozeman Public Library is a great study spot situated right next to the beautiful Lindley Park. With loads of books, free Wi-Fi, and a coffee shop, you can basically live there six days a week.  Looking for music, or some quirky gifts? Cactus Records is where you want to be. Although it’s nice to check out books from the library, sometimes, you just gotta have one for yourself. In that case, head on down to Vargo’s (books and records) or the Country Bookshelf (just books). Both have tons of character and a wide selection of literature. Lastly, head to Sacks thrift store. Although there’s a plethora of thrift stores around town, Sacks is the most colorful. With great prices and excellent finds, thrift-shopping at Sacks is more like hunting for treasure.

The Bridgers looming over the Bozeman Public Library.

The Bridgers looming over the Bozeman Public Library.

Okay, you almost know downtown like the back of your hand, but not quite. You still don’t know where to get your outdoor gear! Odds are, you came to Bozeman at least partly (or mostly) for the recreational opportunities. First, stop by Second Wind Sports. We know that brand-new gear tends to be pricey. Luckily for you, Second Wind has some excellent options when it comes to lightly used gear of any kind. Ladies, head over to Girls Outdoors. With a wide selection of outdoor apparel, GO is a great option. For biking gear, there’s Owenhouse and Summit Bikes & Skis, and Schnee’s is the biggest all-around outdoor store downtown. Lastly, hit up Chalet Sports. Chalet provides top-of-the-line gear for reasonable prices, and the staff are super helpful. It’s worth a look, if only to admire the shiny new stuff.

Girls Outdoors storefront in downtown Bozeman.

Girls Outdoors storefront in downtown Bozeman.

That’s it. You’ve taken your first step towards becoming a full-fledged Bozemanite. Keep on exploring, in and outside of town, and be sure to pack your Blue Light guide along.