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Going Skiing in Sun Valley? Hang Out at The Hangout

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If your winter travels take you to Sun Valley to carve the high-mountain powder, you might want to celebrate after the slopes with something a bit more exciting than hot chocolate—and there's a lot to be said for the warming effects of whiskey, vodka and tequila. The Hangout, a new bar and snack joint attached to the recently renovated Hotel Ketchum, is a cozy spot to bring up your temperature.

Decked out with an eclectic mix of furniture and plenty of Idaho-themed decor (one hanging cross-stitch reads: "You say potato, I say vodka"), the bar is immediately welcoming, an impression helped along by a stack of board and card games teetering near the door. A mound of puffy coats hanging from antler-shaped hooks on the wall, all dropped off by patrons, reinforces the feeling that you're visiting a friend's house.

LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson

Even better, the prices at The Hangout aren't nearly as eye-popping as Ketchum's glitzy reputation suggests, particularly during the 4-6 p.m. happy hour, which includes rotating deals like buy-one-get-one-half-off dishes and half-priced drinks. The Baldy Bash—a mix of locally distilled Party Animal Vodka, berry preserves, lemon and soda—is $8, and the Gingerita, a spicy house specialty starring Espolon Tequila, ginger liqueur, agave, lime and grapefruit bitters, rings in at $10. It also pairs surprisingly well with the available snacks; and we're not just talking chips and salsa. If you're feeling peckish, try the spinach dip, which comes with crostini and, oddly, a pile of full-sized carrots that pair beautifully with the dip's still-bubbling cheese.

One quick warning, though: The Hangout is kid-friendly, which can either be a perk or a drawback, depending on your crowd. For families, that gives a green light to a quick stop for flatbread, salad and a few beers, but groups of friends teetering at the high point of tipsy may want to stay on the lookout for little ears before throwing down their white cards in a game of Cards Against Humanity.