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  • Writer's pictureEric Elkins

Ode: Happy Hour at The George

You land at The George in Vail a few possible ways, depending on your day. You might roll in straight from an epic romp on the hill, peeling off layers and shedding clumps of snow as you clomp through the dark bar to a booth at the back; or maybe you finished early enough to hit the hot tub and rinse your butt in the shower before getting dressed for an evening in town; or the conditions kind of sucked that day and you started drinking early and now you’re fucking starving and someone said “The George” and you all lurched over there, ready for more drinks and bar food.

Whichever, you have to get there right when the place opens, because it fills up fast. You either sit at the bar or find a cozy nook further in, plopping into your seat with a sigh and a grunt, your body still carrying souvenirs from your time on the mountain. The server rattles off the happy hour breakdown: $6 you-call-its, $12 starters and pub grub — you tune out the rest about entrées, the king crab, the surf and turf, because all you require are a big-ass plate of nachos with chicken, a duck and mushroom quesadilla, a round of tequila shots for the table, and a whiskey soda for yourself. Double tall.

The server says something like “good choices” and fades away into the convivial noise and warmth of the room, every table like its own private campfire in a snug mountain village.

You cheers and clink glasses when the drinks arrive, recounting wonders and wipeouts, snow conditions, old stories about massive pow, Vail nights gone sideways. The food arrives and everyone digs in at once.

The nachos are the perfect mess of cheese and shredded chicken and jalapeños — spread out enough so just about every chip has something sticking to it. It’s the best plate of nachos you’ve had all day. The quesadilla is a melty umami bomb, and the Cajun dry rub wings someone else ordered are crispy and spicy. I mean, the food is fine — it’s solid. It’s exactly what you want at that moment. And it’s all $12!

Your plan was happy hour and then a fancy dinner in the village, but it’s so warm and hospitable and easy where you’re sitting. Someone just dripped melted cheddar down their bibs. Someone else ordered more shots for the table. You look over the menu and ask for the sesame-crusted ahi appetizer and a bowl of fries. Heads nod approvingly.

I mean, really, where else do you need to be?

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