Drinking Above the Clouds!

New Bar/Restaurant Additions Arrive In Woodland Park

Trevor Phipps

Despite the coronavirus pandemic restrictions crippling the restaurant industry, more eateries and watering holes have arrived in Teller County, specifically in Woodland Park.

And the area is scheduled to be the home to more bars and restaurants in 2021, based on future plans. In fact, local residents and  people who visit the City Above the Clouds now have the option to do some serious bar hopping. Sure, Woodland can’t compare with the likes of party hubs, such as Manitou Springs, but the town is definitely offering a more diverse lineup of bar/restaurant hangouts.

Woodland Park is currently  home to more than 20 restaurants including fast food joints, with many of them now offering adult beverages. The two newest eateries, Peak View BBQ and Rhapsody, offer a variety of new drinks and cuisines to please the taste buds.

Peak View BBQ , located in the old Burger King building in the Safeway shopping center, opened  right after the shutdown last summer. It has become a new local hangout spot. The eatery offers southern style BBQ favorites as well as a hefty selection of Colorado made craft beers on tap and cocktails made with fresh fruits. Locals say that they have one of the best margaritas in the high country.

Rhapsody, then opened its doors shortly later in downtown Woodland Park, right next door to Woodland Hardware. The business’ social media page describes itself as, “a bohemian themed bar with a focus on craft cocktails, shareable food and good music.” The eatery offers a good selection of wine as well as a unique food menu.

The two new watering holes join favorite local hangout spots, such as the Crystola Roadhouse, the Historic Ute Inn, Bierworks, the Country Lodge Pub, the Shining Mountain Golf Course Clubhouse and Carmen a Tapas, as being places to socialize and enjoy a drink. And in recent weeks, the region has had much business due to people traveling from neighboring counties to enjoy lighter COVID restrictions. Unlike neighboring El Paso County, Teller is still rated as a Level Orange zone, meaning that indoor dining and bar activity is permitted with capacity restrictions.

And to add to this growing trend, a liquor license was approved for another saloon in Woodland Park, slated to open early this year. The 110 Reserve Tavern, proposed by local business owner Pamela Mikesell, will be located in the Woodland Square property where Colorado Gear Lab now sits. Mikesell said that she plans on opening the tavern with ample outdoor seating near several shops so people can enjoy a beverage while visiting the downtown’s retail outlets.

Another project ,dubbed the Tava House, had plans to put a beer garden and restaurant in the Woodland Station property. However, plans to develop Woodland Station fell through, but there are rumors that the Tava House proponents still plans to build in a different location.

Rumors have also circulated that yet another bar could make its way to downtown Woodland Park.

After Jackalope moved out of the building on Woodland Park’s main strip next to Antlers Alley, a new business is slated to move into the building. Reports say that the people who are now leasing the building plan on putting in a high-end men’s clothing and accessory store and possibly a cigar bar.

However, despite more eateries moving into town, currently several local restaurants have chosen to temporarily cease operations due to the COVID restrictions in place that limit building capacities to 25 percent. Mike’s BBQ in Divide, Southern Lily, Carmen A Tapas, and the Circle H Smokehouse are all currently closed indefinitely. The business owners have said that they are looking to reopen when the restrictions are loosened up.

Still, the new lineup has given further recognition to a growing nickname for Woodland Park:  “Drinking Above the Clouds.”