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Our Favorite Tahoe Watering Holes

Photo courtesy of TravelGolf

A trip up to Lake Tahoe is generally an active one. The expansive mountain terrain, the shimmering lake, the crisp alpine air all beckon a visitor to come outside and do something.

But there comes a time when you all you want to do is kick back and relax – preferably with an ice cold adult beverage close at hand – and reflect on your adventures. The following are five establishments that cater perfectly to your post-recreational leisure time.

Cottonwood sits on a hillside above downtown Truckee, offering unbeatable views of the river, the historic commercial row of the town and the tree-festooned ridge that rises above it all. Plop down on Cottonwood's outside deck, grab one of their signature French margaritas and watch the sun dip down over Donner Pass. At 10142 Rue Hilltop Road in Truckee.

The River Ranch has an expansive deck that overlooks the Truckee River and a low-key vibe. Enjoy a cold brew while watching the tubers and rafters negotiate the final rapids – there's often an amusing spill or two – before the takeout point in their float down from Tahoe City. At the junction of Highway 89 and Alpine Meadows Road.

Sunnyside Resort made a name for itself as a raucous apres-ski joint back in the 1970s and '80s. But in the summer it is more sublime, with an outdoor seating area that adjoins Lake Tahoe and offers beautiful views of the east shore of Big Blue. 1850 West Lake Tahoe Boulevard (Highway 89) in Tahoe City

The Beacon Bar and Grill
sits just inches away from the expansive beach in the Camp Richardson area – indeed, some of the joint's outdoor tables are on the sand. If the rum runners don't put you in a mellow vibe, the Beacon's regular slate of live music acts will. At Jameson Beach Roach in South Lake Tahoe

Brooks' Bar and Deck might just be the best reason to play Edgewood Tahoe golf course (Golf Digest selected Brooks' as one the best 19th holes in the country). The post-round vibe is mellow, the cocktails are serious and the views of the Sierra crest – from Mt. Tallac in the south to Ward Peak in the north  with Big Blue in the foreground – is perhaps the most sublime in Tahoe. 100 Lake Parkway in Stateline, NV.

What's your favorite Tahoe bar?