Killington Happy Hour: Bargains For The Cheapskate

A review of the Killington happy-hour scene.

It used to be that “Happy Hour” meant 2 for 1 drinks or some other drink discount during the designated “Hour”. In the North-East ski resort of Killington, Vermont this meant between the hours of 5-6PM you could drink your favorite brew or girly-drink cheaply at one of the many local bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The State of Vermont subsequently banned happy-hour drink specials and now alcohol can only be discounted for the whole night and not a set time period like Happy-Hour.  To accommodate for that VT liquor law change, the happy-hour discount lure switched to food.

After a hard day skiing and riding, look for discount deals on non-alcoholic après-ski drinks and food. Take a look at the guide below for some great ideas on where to eat for cheap. Offers are subject to change, so we suggest calling ahead to make sure they are open and are still offering the listed discount. Please let us know if you experience anything different. Remember, you should support these establishments by ordering alcohol as well. Drinking glasses of water doesn’t pay their bills – especially if they are kind enough to offer happy hour bargains in the first place. Many great bars and restaurants exist in Killington, like The Pickle Barrel, Wobbly Barn, Snow Angel, Peppino’s, Birch Ridge Inn, Moguls, Mountaintop Inn and The Inn at Long Trail – but very few offer happy hour specials, making this guide very special.

Free Chicken Wings at Sushi Yoshi between 3PM and 5PM
Deal Quality: HIGH
It seems it wasn’t too long ago that all the bars in Killington, VT offered free wings at happy-hour, but all that seemed to all change in 2008, where even the best free wing bars like “The Lookout” and “Casey’s Caboose” and started charging to the “pay per wing” model, (Now both offer great chicken wings at 50 cents each). It’s a welcome surprise to see a late entry to the chicken-wing debate from Sushi Yoshi, which is the only Sushi Restaurant in Killington. This establishment is now the only bar in Killington that provides free chicken wings at happy hour. Sushi Yoshi’s wings are not the classic, deep fried, artery clogging, free wings of old, but are now a baked “General Tso’s” version of the chicken treat and how mighty good they are!  The free wings are only available in the bar area, but hats off to these guys for providing this and still able to make money! While you are there please support them by buying some sushi rolls too!

Half-Price Burritos at Baja Burrito
Deal Quality: MED

Chicken, steak and shrimp burritos at Baja Burrito are half price everyday between and 3 and 5PM. They are big enough to share so for $7 you can have a great après-ski bite without breaking the bank. The only downside is that the burritos appear to be frozen because they will not make them any other way than the way they come. It’s their way or the burrito highway. If you are lactose intolerant, or you are allergic to peppers – you are going to have to pick out the offending item yourself and don’t even think about asking for whole chicken meat instead of shredded, as they will treat you like a miscreant! Still its a great bargain and is not to be missed.

Free Cookies At Liquid Art
Deal Quality: MED
Liquid Art, the cool – high end coffee house in Killington, provides free cookies to go along with all their drinks between the hours of 3-6PM every day. Although not terrifically nourishing, these cookies draw you into the whole experience of Liquid Art, which is one of the finer, more contemporary experiences at Killington and is not to be missed. The giant cookies will miraculously materialize at the bar after you have ordered your caffeine infused libation and settled into the pleasant experience that is Liquid art.  This is located half way up the Killington access road, next door to Casey’s Caboose. Look for the unique blue lights on the roof line outside.

Make A Friend At The Mountain
50% discount for Killington employees on food and drink at all the mountain bars

Deal Quality: MED
After work, Killington staff would often drive down the Access Road for their after-work wind-down where they would get “employees only” deals all around town – usually 50% off . Given that employees were not spending money at Killington property, the new management team decided to up-the-ante and give 50% off all food and drink for employees at the Killington bars and restaurants at the mountain. This offer can be used for the entire bar check of the employee, not just their drink – so it’s time to cozy up to your favorite snowboard instructor, regardless of how bad he/she may smell after working a long day at the mountain.

the-garlic2 for 1 Tapas at The Olive Bar at The Garlic
Deal Quality: POOR

Between 3-5PM The Olive Bar at The Garlic appears to provide a great deal on happy-hour tapas at the bar – it’s billed as a 2 for 1 special. We think that the food at the Olive Bar is quite good, but the 2-for-1 offer is sadly too-good-to-be-true and is in fact the worst case of marketing bait-and-switch we have yet seen at Killington,

The 2-for-1 offer has many complicated conditions that will leave a bitter taste in your mouth and that has nothing to do with the food. The conditions, that are not stated up-front, are that they only discount the lower priced items. You must also order dishes in even numbers (and you thought things would be simple). The average price for a tapas menu item is about $5. The most expensive item on the tapas menu is the lamb chops priced at $15 per order of two chops. It appears that the lamb chops were loaded onto the tapas menu to entice the buyer into thinking that if they buy two orders of them, one will be free – which is not the case if they happen to order anything else of lesser value. When we pointed out to the restaurant manager that they should break the lamb chops down into single chops (at say $7.50 each) to make this clearer and more equitable for the customer. Sadly, it seems that we may have stumbled upon The Garlic’s dirty-little-secret that raises the price on the check (and their profits) significantly by charging the customer the higher price. The manager indicated that this was not the first time that a patron had questioned this behavior, but they were sticking to their guns on this one. The waitress also declined to split the checks to allow us to get the “real” 2-for-1 offer (we figured we would put the lamb chops on one check and everything else on the other to get the deal) – she cited “company policy” and was clearly frustrated by the awkward position her management was putting her in, ironically the Killington Chamber of Commerce doesn’t allow chain restaurants on the access road, so there is no big corporate ogre here, just the restaurant calling its own shots.

We wish we could have filled this space with details about how good the food is at The Garlic (excellent pork ribs with chipotle and wonderful cilantro grilled shrimp by-the-way),  but when we discover this kind of scam, we feel it’s necessary to point it out. When you visit The Garlic please ask them about the bait-and-switch scam before you order tapas – hopefully they will be more honest with their customers if enough people badger them. If you can stomach their shenanigans with their pricing (and the bill) to get at the great food, then this place is for you!

Free Taco’s at “The Turn Of The River”
Its off the beaten track, down on route 4 close to the skyeship base, but everyday these generous guys offering free taco’s to their inn guests as well as bar patrons. That means a happy you at happy-hour you.

Red Rob Inn – Now the Killington Mountain School
No mention of free happy hour food could go without mentioning the (now defunct) Red Rob Inn, that had amazing free happy hour food that would keep you in there for hours, reasonably priced drinks and the friendly crowd at the bar – complete with the illustrious James Mee on guitar kept this a local hidden favorite for years – on the holiday weekends you could go here and know that you could find a seat, get a drink at the bar and nosh and some great appetizers like chili, nachos, chicken wings and whatever else Chef Andrew wanted to send out of the kitchen.

Sadly, The Killington Mountain School bought the property in 2007 and the only free food they serve now is Capri-Sun, Gerber’s food and Welch’s fruit juice to the snot-nosed students that now occupy the building.

Other Special Deals at Killington

  • The Wobbly Barn does a once-per-year weekend long, everything 50% off – This is usually at the start of the ski season in November
  • Sushi Yoshi sells a “Good Guys” card for $10 that enables the bearer to 50% discount on sushi on weekdays. They blackout holiday weekdays for this card.

Susan Abrahamson

Recent written research pieces have been printed in Wired Magazine, Tech Review, Business Insider and Cat Fancier. Although the latter story did not require any hands-on tech knowledge, Mr Tiddles gave it his full approval and his fuzzy logic is really rather cute.