The famed Idaho ski resort of Sun Valley is packed with history and mystique, from the installation of the world’s first chairlift to its reputation as an understated and quiet getaway for celebrities and jetsetters. The town still brims with an old west, rough-and-tumble vibe from its days as a ranching and mining town in wild mountains but still manages to coexist with the posh and elegance visitors have come to expect from the resort today.
Locals’ favorite gathering spots range from the sleekest establishments to truest of dive bars. Here is a selection of the best spots favored by those in the know.
1. BREAKFAST: Kneadery, 260 Leadville Avenue North Ketchum, ID
There is something about ski towns and stellar, hearty breakfast restaurants housed in little log cabins. Ketchum’s Kneadery is another testament to the trend. The Kneadery is a bit out in front of most, however, since this charming establishment has been going strong since it opened its doors back in 1974. Open for breakfast and lunch only, it has been getting Sun Valley’s day started with wholesome food, mixing a little bit of the rustic feel of the location with the polish of the town. Locally made and sourced ingredients range from just-baked bread to cage-free organic eggs and fresh local produce. One huge omelet from the Kneadery is made to keep skiers going straight through to après.
2. APRÈS: Apples Bar and Grill, 215 Picabo Street, Ketchum, ID
Apples Bar and Grill is tucked at the base of Baldy Mountain on the Warm Springs side of the resort and has been one of the favorite après spots in Sun Valley for two decades. The bar boasts an expansive view of the slopes, and a huge sunny patio makes the perfect place for spring outdoor après. A fun atmosphere that doesn’t take itself too seriously prevails, and Apples gets packed with people from enthusiastic ski bums to celebrities, imbibing all from beer to bubblies. Olympic memorabilia from athletes with ties to Sun Valley highlight the area’s strong racing heritage. Famed for events such as Hahnenkamm Kitzbuhl or end of season party, if you happen to be in town when Apples throws one, be sure to make an appearance.
3. DINNER: Globus, 291 6th Street E, Ketchum, ID
Globus has been a Sun Valley culinary hotspot for more than 20 years. The menu offers bold tastes and blends flavors from the Pacific Rim and around the world with the locally sourced meats and fresh produce from the mountains of Idaho. Inside, elegant design, clean lines and upscale ambiance provide a perfect atmosphere to complement the food and service as one of Sun Valley’s best. But Globus’s menu won’t break the bank, either. Favorites range from the Niman Ranch Pork Dumplings to Hoisin BBQ ribs and pad thai. The restaurant offers a careful wine and sake list and is known for kid-friendly menu options and a lovely outdoor dining patio in the warmer months.
4. BARS, MELLOW: ENOTECA, 300 N. Main Street, Ketchum, ID
Enoteca is an Italian-influenced wine bar has become very popular among regulars on Sun Valley scene. Opened by the owners of the beloved Ketchum Grill, Enoteca is housed in a historic brick building on the corner of Main Street and Sun Valley Road, providing some local, old west sense of place. Enoteca’s menu and ambiance lend sophistication to a mellow evening about town. Small plates of house-cured meats, artisanal cheeses, gourmet wood-fired pizzas and other Italian-inspired dishes provide options for a bite if the wine and conversation turns to hunger pangs.
5. BARS, ROWDY: THE CASINO, 220 North Main Street, Ketchum, ID
When the traditions of Sun Valley come to mind, one of the most famed, venerable late night rituals for hitting the town is heading to the one and only Casino. In prime location on Main Street, this establishment has been providing entertainment in Sun Valley for more than 80 years. While the town has grown more polished and international, the Casino has never lost its down and dirty, Wild West attitude and feel… or its popularity, for that matter. Still one of the most frequented bars in town, its storied, unruly history is added to night after night in a building that dates from before the ski hill even existed. From the late night shenanigans of ski bums to the young glitterati that jet set in for Sun Valley ski weekends, the Casino is the place to go for evening entertainment.