Best of 2011: Neighborhood Bar: Manitou
General manager Matt Milar, the son of the Keg's owners, says he wants the restaurant and bar to evolve every year. Last year, Milar focused on bringing sparkle to the building and expanding the menu. This summer, he brought in bands — local acts like Lipstick Voodoo, Arch Hooks and High Wheeler — for some weekend nights, and he hopes to keep the gigs going through the winter. Meanwhile, Milar says, during football season the bar opens at 10 a.m. each Sunday with a special breakfast menu of biscuits and gravy and chicken and waffles, and TVs offering "any game you want." Other changes include a new buffalo bratwurst and a happy hour that runs from 3 to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. But don't worry, the Keg hasn't tossed its old favorites like the ½-pound buffalo burger or the berry salad.— J. Adrian Stanley
Bites 2013: Berry Salad
A bar with a badass, bestselling salad? Whodathunkit? But it's true, fruit makes the fresh greens go down extra easy here. The season dictates what mix among strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries you'll get on a given day. And you'll have to choose between salmon or teriyaki chicken as your optional topper, though the cabbage, onions, walnuts and bleu cheese are mainstays. And any combination of all of the above is crunchy, sweet and memorable. ($10.95/$13.95 with protein additions)
If you're not expecting to run into mouth-watering items like a tender filet mignon burger and the juiciest buffalo burger in Manitou, all sourced from Ranch Foods Direct, then you're not expecting the Keg. Look for the flatiron steak, covered in sautéed mushrooms, or for the awesome berry salad — or just drinks.
Best Of 2010: Neighborhood Bar: Manitou
Mike and Terry Milar have owned the Keg for 25 wonderful years, and during that time they've showered us with beer and creative cuisine (meals that can hardly be called "bar food"). Their son, Matt, grew up at the Keg, and now helps his parents run the place. "It was a good place to grow up," he says fondly. "It was a lot fun." No kidding. In addition to serving plenty of our favorite local Bristol brews on tap, the Keg has a fantastic berry chicken salad, and delicious scampi, sirloin steaks and salmon. Locals know that on Wednesday nights, you can get two meals for $21.95. And they take advantage of it, keeping the bar hopping even in the winter off-season. The tourists take care of the summer. Matt says this one was the Keg's best ever — which probably has something to do with the Keg finally biting the bullet and taking credit cards. — J. Adrian Stanley
Mike Donner, a Manitou Springs High graduate who was also a pretty good basketball player, rules the Keg Lounge's open-air kitchen, cooking up a variety of consistently excellent dinners even on the busiest nights. He's been at it long enough to have his own staple on the menu: Donner's Scampi, which is a typical shrimp scampi doctored up with Mike's favorite spices. He'll make it as hot as you want, and there's no shortage of cold beer to cool you down.