The chalet styling of Brooks' Bar (left) and the fire pit on the deck.
You know the bar has to be good when, despite being on one of the most awesome pieces of real estate in the country, it's still packed inside on a warm, clear Sunday evening in July. Situated on the banks of the crystal-blue waters of Lake Tahoe and surrounded by the sometimes snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the patrons inside Brooks' Bar & Deck at the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course seemed oblivious to their surroundings.
Many of them were too busy figuring out who won their weekly low-net team tournament to care that the view from the deck has the rare ability to erase the sting of any triple bogey.
As if the mountains and lake weren't enough, patrons can survey several holes of the picturesque golf course on the Nevada-California state line.
"This is a great place to hang; you almost forget what's outside," says Josef Fredrickson, 43, of Sacramento, Calif. "But believe me, the view on the deck is as good as it gets."
Brooks' Bar, named one of Golf Digest's 50 Best 19th Holes, has the right blend of spectacular setting, comfortable atmosphere and friendly service.
The four oversize flat-screens are prominent but don't overwhelm the Swiss-chalet inspired room with arched windows and 30-foot ceilings. The tables, bar top and support beams are custom-made cedar and ash, giving the room a rustic but clean look.
The drink prices are reasonable by resort stan-dards and include $7.25 for the signature mojito (see The House Cocktail), and if you visit for more than an hour or two, you feel as if you know the wait staff by the time you leave.
The attention to detail is impressive, right down to the vaselike containers that prevent dirty hands from dipping into the complimentary assortment of nuts.
"We're trying to give the customer a reason to come back," says manager Jimmy Kelso, "so why wouldn't you do anything you can to make them feel welcome and comfortable?"
Outside on the deck, the place to be is next to the fire pit, especially in the evenings, when the temperature can drop 20 to 30 degrees from midday. (The course is closed from mid-October to late April, but Brooks' Bar stays open year-round.)
THE HOUSE COCKTAIL
The Brooks' Bar mojito has become famous because of the celebrities who order them during the American Century Championship. Squeeze a fresh lime into the bottom of a pint glass. Add fresh mint leaves and a package of Sugar in the Raw. Pour in half an ounce of Royal triple sec and then muddle the ingredients with a pestle. Add ice and an ounce of Marti-Rum mojito mix. Give it a good shake, and you're all set. Click here to see how the Brooks' Bar mojito is made.