Some days it’s all about the run. Others it’s all about after the run. When you’re looking for the latter, in Boulder there’s no better place to be than these inspiring après-activity spots. Come for the food, drinks and entertainment—and stay for the friends, old and new.
It doesn’t get any more classic than this very Republic of Boulder bookstore, which has been in the same homey location since 1979. The creaky wooden floors. The Euro-style barista bar. The cozy two-toppers and nooks for reading or sipping a steaming cappuccino. It’s just got a good vibe, plus it stays open late.
Trident serves small-batch espresso drinks from Dragonfly Coffee Roasters and premium, seasonal, loose-leaf teas from around the globe. But these drinks are meant to be savored over a long conversation about the adventure at hand or a good, thoughtful book. And there’s plenty of new and used tomes in the introspective range here—psychology, Buddhism, metaphysics, Native American, philosophy, film, art, religions—as well as beautiful blank journals, cards, and art.
There’s no better place to shoot the shifter after a road or mountain bike ride than Full Cycle bike shop’s back snack bar, The Tune Up. Conveniently located at the Pearl Street location, Boulder’s oldest two-wheeler shop, this is the place for browsing bicycles, learning about local trails, and filling your belly with stuff that sounds good before or after a day of play outside. “I meet my dad there once a week,” says Lems founder Andrew Rademacher. “It’s just fun hanging around bikes, watching Red Bull TV and having a beer.”
The Tune Up’s long daily hours serve outdoor enthusiasts well. It opens at 7 a.m. with a full espresso bar; serves up panini, empanadas, hot pretzels, burritos, pastries and quiche all day; and keeps the after-work crowd satisfied until 10 p.m. with 16 rotating beers on tap. Cheers to that.
Rayback is a food-truck park on steroids. This new-school local’s hangout has it all: a yummy medley of food-truck eats; 30-tap bar; stage for live music and entertainment; and eclectic indoor-outdoor spaces coined the Porch, the Parlour and the Lounge. It’s likened to a big, comfy backyard, with cornhole and games that encourage interacting—and relaxing. Lots of folks ride bikes along the Goose Creek path right to Rayback, located at Valmont and 28th Street.
If that doesn’t make you want to visit, Rayback’s story will. The community space is named after the people-loving, public-serving owner of Rayback Plumbing Supply, who operated his Boulder establishment on the same spot for 60 years. “We, like Marion, have a desire to serve our community through our passion for food, drink, music and play,” say Rayback Collective owners.
Boulderites belly up to Sanitas’ reclaimed Amish barn-wood bar for beer. But they stay to make and celebrate like-minded friends. In addition to serving up a huge variety of handmade beers, crafted with organic and local ingredients, plus tacos from local McDevitt Taco Supply, Sanitas stages some seriously inspiring community events.
For example, Mountain To Table (MTN2TBL) is an unprecedented event in partnership with the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks. It brings together top local restaurants, Sanitas beer and live music in North Boulder Park to raise funds for improving trails and habitat on Boulder’s beloved Mt. Sanitas.
Located on the west end of Boulder’s iconic Pearl Street (hint: closer to the mountains) this tasty snack stop serves up savory Mexican street tacos, and “north of the border” variations. There are also deserts as dreamy as this one: the Mexican Mouth Pillow, an airy flour sopapilla tossed in cinnamon sugar, topped with fresh honey.
T/aco has been a Lems favorite for $2 Tuesday cheap eats and, well, since one of our own got his 15 minutes of fame stuffing his face. Steve, Lems XX guy, won T/aco’s eating challenge, consuming a sickening 50 tiny tacos in one sitting. The nice thing was we all benefited from his gluttony: Steve received an equivalent percentage off tacos for a year. Yes, half off savory snacks, just a short walk from Lems headquarters.