Last week we felt the cold chill of winter finally hit the D.C. area, leaving the city with a couple inches of powder and myself with an aching desire to hit the slopes. With a long holiday at hand, I decided it was time to leave the nation’s capital and drive to neighboring Pennsylvania in search of the mountains. Unfortunately, the 2007 winter season did not produce much opportunity to break out my snowboard so I knew it was going to be a rough day – a day that might end with some bloody-mary’s.
Of the three resorts closest to D.C., two were dry so I of course did what any good BarBelle does and headed for the alcohol-friendly lodge in southern Pennsylvania, Ski Liberty. A little more than an hour drive from campus, Liberty Mountain is a Zipcar-worthy trip that will add a smidge more adventure to your winter and a little more Bailey’s to your coffee.
After four hours of carving, dodging, falling, laughing and cursing, I was done with the mountain and ready to relax with my friends over some drinks at the lodge. Ski Liberty has an adjoining bar called McKees Tavern that boasts a great menu and comfortable atmosphere for all the snow lovers who need a break from the trail. When I walked in, the tavern looked a little homely, but all that I really wanted was warmth and this bar definitely offered that.
The menu was surprisingly varied and offered everything from pasta to nachos, burgers to filets, and Amstel to Hot Toddys (Jim Beam and hot spiced cider). We ordered some crab cakes and Slopeside Slippers to wash them down with. I whole-heartedly recommend the Slopeside Slipper, which is a mix of Kahlúa and hot chocolate, a perfect way to warm up after an eight-degree morning. The tavern had subtle lighting and dark oak walls that (though not the most aesthetically pleasing arrangement) really gave way to the lodge theme and psychologically make you feel warm and cozy.
Since the tavern is the only bar onsite, they could potentially really rip you off on prices (which the Liberty cafeteria does – watch out) but they do a decent job of staying within the normal range of cost. For only $25 dollars you can join the mug club and have a personal mug waiting for you at the bar that will eventually go home with you at the end of the season. The first fill up is free, so of course I bought one and now I have a mug at both Green Turtle from last week and now McKees Tavern. Now, if only Starbucks could start this program.
Bar Belle Rating: Three out of Four Belles.