Road-Trip Restaurant: Telluride's There...

August 8 2014, 11:30 AM

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The Destination: There...

The Odometer: 330 miles from Denver

On a recent trip to Telluride, my husband and I were strolling around downtown in search of a happy hour when I suggested that we head to There..., a tapas-style restaurant on Pacific Avenue. The conversation quickly devolved into an Abbott and Costello-like routine. ("Why don't we try There...?," I said. "Where?" he asked. "THERE...," I said. And so on.) Eventually, I gave up and just told him to follow me to the tiny spot that opens for the post-hike/post-ski crowd. The quirky space feels like a mash-up of your grandma's living room, your cool friend's apartment, and a trendy bar: Cowhides cover a massive bay window banquette. Tractor seats have been repurposed for bar stools. And the cocktail menu comes tucked inside a dog-eared book. 

While we intended to stop only for drinks, the cartoon-ish menu quickly grabbed our attention. We nibbled on gratis popcorn while picking out a trio of $4 appetizers, including a spicy tuna tostada and two types of steamed buns (crispy spicy duck and pork and pickles). I also ordered a whiskey pickleback (a shot of whiskey paired with spicy pickle juice; $5), which was surprisingly balanced and something I'll try to replicate at home. At the server's prompting to not go over-the-top, we ordered just one bowl of duck breast ramen ($14) topped with a soft egg. The ramen was delicious, particularly the light broth which was served on the side in a small pitcher, and perfectly sized for two. As we slurped up the last spoonfuls, I couldn't resist picking up the comedy routine again by asking when we'd come back to There... This time, my husband knew exactly what I was talking about and agreed that it would be soon.

Sips: Proprietor Andrew Tyler spent time behind the bar at Nobu 57 so you can trust that the drinks on his menu are well executed. Look for quirky options (frozen peas and vodka) and on-trend varieties like jam cocktails. 

627 W. Pacific Ave. Telluride, 970-728-1213, therebars.com

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