Jackson Hole. These two unassuming words conjure dreams of cowboys and crankily independent outdoor types; wide, grassy expanses and humbling mountain ranges; abundant natural riches and advantageous tax arrangements for the super-rich. Jackson Hole makes a great base for exploring Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons national parks and semi-urban pleasures post camping or skiing… Here’s our (insert SEO-friendly terminology here) ‘Top places to eat and drink in Jackson Hole”. Or more loosely, some nice places to hang out while you’re in town.
Breakfast: To our mind the best place for Brunch in Jackson Hole is the cute and laid-back Cafe Genevieve. The Huevos con Chile Verde are awesome. Not to mention generous. I ate for half an hour without having any discernible effect on my plate. Admittedly it didn’t photograph well but it must be said that eggs would challenge even Ansel Adams. Don’t forget to pick up a box of their amazing Pig Candy. Bookings recommended on weekends. (Address: 135 E Broadway Jackson Hole, WY, US Tel: +1 307-732-1910.)
Coffee: Jackson Hole’s best coffee house Persephone Cafe will please a certain type of yummy mummy, but the light interiors and delectable baked goods have a pretty universal appeal. We suggest a cup of Intelligensia coffee and one of their terrific cinnamon concoctions. If it’s sunny, grab a table on the terrace. (Address: 145 E Broadway Jackson, WY, US Tel: +1 307-200-6708)
Lunch: Keep it simple with a lox and cream cheese bagel (or two) at Pearl Street Bagels. Locals have been known to gripe about the lack of toasting on the premises. The owners argue the bagels are fresh, therefore no need to toast. The NYT reports that waggish funsters have been known to nail old toasters to the outside of the cafe as a not-so-subtle hint (or is it a plea?). All this to say, toasting appears to be a sensitive issue, so don’t mention the war. Enjoy your untoasted bagel with a cup of coffee while scanning the local paper for national park news, farmer’s market listings and anecdotes of the “Stray moose wanders into high-school gymnasium, shoots winning goal” variety. (145 W Pearl Ave Jackson, WY, US Tel: +1 307-739-1218.)
After Dark: Keep in mind that dinner seems to happen quite early in Jackson, our top suggestions for dinner in town are….
Fancy: Folks into wining and dining and what-not should head to the Snake River Grill where the menu is taken very seriously indeed – as their multiple food and wine awards can attest. Service is professional but Jackson-style – by which we mean warm and friendly. We recommend you sample some of the local far – such as Idaho Trout or a delectable Elk chop. Cocktail bar opens from 5:30pm. Book ahead. Dress code: ‘Jackson Casual’. (Address: 84 E Broadway Jackson, WY, US Tel: +1 307-733-0557.)
Relaxed: Founded by a self-described ‘Ski Bum’, Thai Me Up serves generous curries and Thai favourites in a buzzing and laid-back atmosphere. What with the cavernous bar space, the music and birthday celebrations it can get a little loud, but in a fun way! We liked the American innovations on the menu and having spent the last five years in London and Paris we’d wager this joint beats any Thai restaurants in either of those so-called world cities on a ratio of value for money to flavour. Note: the on-site ‘nano brewery’ has won numerous craft beer awards so order a cerveza or one of those fun house cocktails that come in a coconut. (Address: 75 E Pearl Ave Jackson, WY 83001, US Tel: +1 307-733-0005.)
Beer & Pool: The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is a local icon and seems like an obligatory tourist stop. Then again, what’s not to like about a place that works saddle bar stools and stuffed grizzly bears into a decor scheme? Somehow there’s the right balance here between patina and kitsch and we figure, a night of locally brewed beer, a few games of pool and a little country music – what could possibly go wrong? (Address: 25 N Cache Dr Jackson, WY, US Tel: +1 307-733-2207.)
Cocktails: One of the benefits of Jackson Hole is that you can walk into a chic joint like The Rose, the town’s only craft cocktail bar, wearing a baseball cap and lumber jacket. You can, however, also dress-up in a more traditional sense if you feel so inclined. The ratio of unattached gentlemen significantly out-number the female inhabitants in this town so there are worse places to be if you are a single lady in search of a good time and rustic masculine charms. Amuse yourself with the Gothic cocktail menu while surveying potential victims – we enjoyed Shady Business and a Ransome Note. Excellent local beers by the likes of Snake River and the Grand Tetons breweries are also on offer.
Rodeo: During the summer months the town plays host to the Jackson Hole Rodeo and of all the fun things to do in this town, the rodeo is way up there for pure entertainment. It takes place on Wednesday and Saturday evenings and a few special Fridays – check the schedule and book your tickets ahead! While the bull riding is ostensibly the main act the girl’s barrel racing is brilliant and features some of the most capable seven year old girls on the planet. BYO cowboy hat.
Teton Theatre: If you’re after a quiet night check out the local cinema – this old school film house shows some quality films and supports the occasional artistic endeavour by local cinematographers. If they are closed there are a few other, less rustic branches showing movies. See Jackson Hole Cinemas for details.