The Dean Public House first opened as a saloon and boarding house in 1874, offering a respite for travelers and Hot Sulphur Springs locals alike. Today, the recently revitalized historic building, located down a side street in the tiny river town, serves a similar function: The Dean is Grand County’s most popular hot spot.

Travelers are attracted to the Dean by the promise of an authentic Colorado dining experience, and locals return to relish the weekly rotating menu. But the Dean’s greatest appeal is its convivial atmosphere. Guests mingle and swap stories of the day in a narrow foyer while they wait for their tables, sipping cocktails such as the Beetini, shaken with a house-made beet shrub and served in a glass rimmed with lemon zest and lavender. The mingling continues once diners are seated at two communal tables in the cozy dining room, which is adorned with livestock harnesses and antique farm tools in a nod to Grand County’s rustic roots. The recent addition of bar seating and an outdoor patio maximizes opportunities for chit-chat, and of course—eating and drinking.

The Dean’s social spirit carries over to its menu, featuring dishes meant for sharing. General manager Jon Harvey, a former chef, built the bulk of the menu around mountain-inspired staples: elk sliders with house-made bacon jam on brioche buns, boar tacos. Seasonal dishes are incorporated weekly based on ingredients available from local growers, such as mushrooms from Morales Farms in Granby and beets from Grand River Farm in nearby Kremmling. Guests can also count on a weekly pizza special, a selection of vegetarian options, and happy hour specials on Thursday and Friday afternoons.

It’s best to enjoy the Dean Public House at a leisurely pace. Take the time to toss some bags at the corn hole set in the yard, or relax in the rocking chairs on the front porch. Talk with owners Tim and Connie Harvey, who often make rounds after dinner, telling stories of the building’s history and gathering feedback from patrons.

If you go: The Dean is open for dinner from 4-10 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays. Seasonal closures can be expected in the spring and fall, so be sure to call ahead to confirm hours of operation. Reservations accepted for the main dining room only; seating is provided on a first-come, first-serve basis on the patio and in the bar.

412 Nevava St., Hot Sulphur Springs, 800-923-3690