Reader memories from The Tugboat Grill & Pub
Steamboat Springs — “I’m takin’ the 5th…” — Andrew Russo
“You dont even want to know.. RIP TUGGER” — Jonny Buschmann
“back in the 90’s, I worked at the Tugboat, day shift, and we put out 200 breakfasts, 200 lunches, and 100 dinners, in a single day, we had the best kitchen staff…Kenny, Anton, Mattie, Angus, Nina, and a couple of guys from the CAPS program…and that Mail guy, Me….I remember the beer guys ( B and K) showing up three times a week to stock the place with beer for the thirsty ski crowd…we had Sysco, Shamrock, and Steve Green Co. there twice a week (each), to bring in enough food…three buckets of salad mix a day, thirty dozen eggs a day needed to be cracked ( for omelets )…six cases of burger patties needed to be thawed, every day, ect……Larry and Hank ran a smooth running ship…I even ended up with one of the big ovens, with gas burners, from a remodel. it is used to this day, at the Yeagers Ranch, for the Sleigh Ride Operations…” — Bill Dorr
“Valentine’s Day 2004 – me and my friend Kim’s first trip to the ‘Boat – Kim and I walked in to the Tugboat for happy hour and we walked out at closing with her now husband Been back many times since” — Dyan Lally
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“Got ya beat Bill! Close to 30 years ago (very close) when I ran the kitchen we put out 1000 meals one day. Not counting dinner. There was some big event taking place on the mountain, of course. I ran a great crew. Glad to know the tradition continued! A belt hung on a peg, someone wrote on it ‘Kat’s belt’! Ha, ha… I could crack eggs in the pan & throw shells around the corner, that became a game. We had shirts made up for the kitchen with a smoking carrot on the back and written on the back “smoke the carrot”. Infer what you will… Still have that shirt. One winter we had an ad in the paper hiring for ‘divers’, in came a bunch of Aussies’ looking for a job diving, one asked me if they needed their own tanks and dive gear! Hired a couple even. Of course it did try my patience a bit when I had to describe what a tortilla was! I remember Susan English, the floor manager helping to design & create the plate for our first nachos’ we started serving. Lot’s of loud music in the kitchen and dining room both. And real dark rum & OJ on many late shifts. I came from our Tipi in Strawberry park very early in the Morn. to open the kitchen. Remember abt 2 ft of snow on the deck when I arrived one morning! One year in the Summer we had a cat that thought he lived there. So many great memories were made there.” — Katheryn Archer
“I remember big, kind Carl Shuck and a dreadful shot called a Jelly Bean. Evenings of music by Anthony and David. I floated the first Tugboat River Race (I think with Jeanne Patton) and celebrated many a St Patricks Day there. Saw Tanya Tucker dance on the table – or was it the bar. Small town stuff, great memories.” — Patty Garvey Reed
“Apparently the best story was walking into the place and seeing Larry and or Hank at the corner of the bar!” — Steve Gadbois
“Filming for pirate theater. What a night!” — Katelyn Stokes
“Lived in Steamboat 96-01. Always had a great time at The Tugboat. Cooked there for a summer, nothing better than breaking down the kitchen to live music coming through the window! Sad to hear it won’t be there next time I visit.” — Patrick
“I think one of the days I will never forget at the Tugboat was today, 12 years ago. I will never forget walking in on 9/11 and hearing the tragic news for the first time. What a sad day that will forever be burned into my memory.
However, on a brighter note one of my favorite memories while working there (99-02) was the annual Water Wars in the parking lot (and at times inside) that was started between Tugboat kitchen guys and the Dos Amigos boys. Oh man did this get out of control. I will never forget standing with Becky Lamb and getting a bucket of water thrown on us in an attempt to reach me. I thought this was the end, but no… Becky talked Larry into letting us buy a water balloon sling shot. That had to be one of my favorites.
Well, then there was having to run through the place naked during business hours (per 2 female customers requests for $100) and having being talked into stripping for an important Tugboat-associated lady but I won’t get into those stories!
Long live the Tugboat and much thanks to Lank and Harry (Hank and Larry) for allowing all these shenanigans to last for over 30 years! Forever in my heart!” — Scott de Souza-Sroka
“The Tuggie is where I first gave my now-husband my phone number. He was sitting at the bar for apres with a budweiser and a bloody mary (and, he reminds me, a shot of makers). I knew he had potential!” — Christy B.
“Never thought I would live to see the day when Matties, Dos and the Tugboat were all gone. How many nights did we get “lost in the Triangle”? This was before the remodel when there was no stage and one bathroom around the corner from the end of the bar – where I staked my spot to catch all the action while watching Fast and Jack pour shots of Crown. How many times did a tipsy dancer fall into the drum set during yet another rendition of Rocky Top? One winter I worked night audit at Timber Run a few nights a week. I’d catch the last midnight shuttle to Ski Time Square – meet up with my buds, and proceed to “try to catch up” before closing time. Thanks to Hank, Larry, Spanish, Bigs, Fast, Jack, Kmetzy, Terin, Bobby, Jackson…I will always hold my memories close – some in my heart – and a few in my liver.” — Erinn Quinn Cook
“There’s been so much incredible music through the years. Thanks Hank and Larry for the opportunity to funk up the Tugboat.” — Intergalactic Funk Cowboy
“Yesterday I purchased several trophies from the tugboat in hopes of finding the original recipients. It would be a shame for someone to lose an award they won due to an unfortunate situation like this. So it may be a longshot, but if you, or someone you know has ties with a trophy displayed at the tugboat, please contact me and I’ll see if I have it, to which you’re more than welcome to it at no charge.” — Chuck (firstname.lastname@example.org)
“We know things change as much as they stay the same, EVEN here in Steamboat Springs…seeing the Tugboat “go” is a sad day. I hope that memorabilia ends up in some great places. Living here since 1992 I certainly have memories of the ‘girls nights out’ at the Tugboat but I mainly want to express gratitude to Larry, Kenny and all for the “family Tug”…the live music and the many “locals” fundraisers. The Tugboat always stepped up!! When Kelly was ill and then passed, it was his Tugboat family that celebrated him with live music….lots of smiles, memories and laughter, dancing and music from that place. Those things ‘live on’…thank you Larry and crew ‘for the memories’. (thanks from Kelly H. too)” — Lianne Pyle
“I met my husband Joe at the Tugboat! Not in the regular sense of meeting someone at a bar in the evening. But a lunch time blind date set up by some friends on a beautiful, aspens in full color, fall day sitting on the deck. That was September 1992. 21 years and two kids later, that is a wonderful memory for Joe and I. Also, I won’t forget the wilder times there back in the 80’s, people (not me:) dancing on the tables! It will be missed.” — Paula Huselton
“I was a tourist then… I hadn’t moved here yet… But the Peoria Ski Club had picked to visit Steamboat, heck they even sent folks out from the Ski area to visit Peoria and talk Steamboat up to our ski club… Anyway… Our last night in town we all decided to say our farewells to Steamboat in the Tugboat… I don’t remember how, but I got up on the bar and danced… We were asked to leave… Hmm, I wonder why… But we were a little rowdy that night… Even one of our guys was up dancing on the bar… I don’t think the bartenders found us entertaining … Good times, good times” — Fran Reinier
“I only lived in Steamboat for a year, during the snowfall record setting season between 2007 and 2008. Struggling to make ends meet, I applied for a job at the Tugboat. I loved working with all the staff and learned so much from Hank, Larry and Jack that allowed me to be a successful bartender. I no longer live there, but I often recall those long nights working and cleaning up after a rowdy night and it still puts a smile on my face! Thanks for all the memories, Tuggers, I’ll miss you!” — Chris
“I was rightly tossed out of the Tugboat early skis season 1985/86 for poor behavior by a mountain of a man named “Big Kid” or just “Big” for short. I was young and ……… during my first ski season in Steamboat. Several nights later during the spinning of the shot wheel at the Inferno, I shrank in the corner as I see “Big Kid” walking very tall through the packed inferno. Moments later this bear sized mitt grabs my shoulder and I’m thinking “great, now that we’re not in his bar, I’m about to get squashed by this beast”. I was very surprised to hear him say “you seem like a nice enough guy, you just can’t be doing that kind of stuff at the Tugboat. Stop in and see me if you’re interested in being a bouncer”. The following week I joined the ranks of Terry Terpstra, Steve and John Wolf and host of many other doormen at the Tugboat. Greg Kmetz was my boss and we are still friends to this day along with several others past employees. I was a part time bouncer at the Tugboat for the next 2 to 3 winters, basically met my wife of nearly 25 years there as Trish was a waitress there for a few seasons. I vaguely recall drawing the short straw St. Patrick’s Day of ’87 with the 6pm to close shift at the front door. Apparently very tired from the stream of hydration coming my way from the bartenders, I fell asleep at my post prior to closing. I don’t ever recall having to toss anyone out as a host of bar tenders, including Mark Alberti (rest in peace), who was nearly as big as “Big”, and all with catlike reflexes, seemed more than eager to toss the misbehaved troublemakers to the curb. There are many memories of the Tugboat flooding back as I read this morning’s paper, and I started thinking, “I hope our kids have the chance to work in such an iconic place as the Tugboat one day”. Hats off to Larry and Hank” — Chuck O’Connell
“I remember the first time I was there. It was in 1995 and I had lunch with Becky Lamb. We talked for a couple of hours and was invited to come back that evening. We came back that evening and again for many evenings and lunches throughout the years. It’s really sad to read about this. It’s like losing a good friend.” — Annie Nowe
“October 18th 1977 Janet and I went to the Tugboat to see game six of the World Series between the Dodgers and the Yankees. this was the game that Reggie Jackson hit three home runs and the Yankees won the World Series. On our way home to the Ski Town Campground (that we owned at the time)I turned onto the on ramp of Mt. Werner Road and Highway 40. This on ramp was fairly new at the time and I was a little disoriented. I turned to Janet and said that I had too much to drink and didn’t feel safe driving home. So we parked the car and waited until a police officer came by and gave us a ride home. he also told us that he would watch the car to make sure nothing would happen to it. Yes, that was Steamboat back in the day.” — Ulrich Salzgeber
“Reading through, I didn’t see any posts from the ’70s. I’m getting old! I was 18 and the manager at the Tugboat, Karen (something..) was nice enough to hire me as a cook after a miserable 3 months at the Ramada Inn. My claim to fame was serving a burger with no actual burger inside it. Never lived that one down! That was maybe the best job ever. Great people, great music, a place to stash skis and boots. Couldn’t ask for more. Really sad to hear its closing down. The Tugboat will live on in my omelet technique. After making a few thousand I can still make a perfect one with my eyes closed. I still remember that band that used to sing “Born a Redneck Mother”..” — Chad Hoke
“Roommate Bob McGrath comes home giggling that he was in big trouble. Apparently he duct taped Hank to a couch while he was ‘asleep’. Prank backfired. I will keep many stories private to protect the guilty.” — Dick Murray aka Scurvy
“Terry Yarger and I put a boxing ring in the parking lot and did boxing sparring with fighters from Denver that included future world champion Lonnie Smith” — George Drew
“Not sure you know this but “The Tugboat” was named for a cat 2 days before they officially opened..I guess back in 1970 71? So the original building was only half the size it is today and the other half was a outdoor softball field .The building was full of field mice generated from the softball field and surrounding vacant land so Larry/Hank borrowed a friend(Actually the Third partner) cat a month or so before bar opened. Two days before the official opening they still hadn’t come up with a name for the bar. They were sitting around thinking of something Green , Organic or Hippie themed but couldn’t come to a consensus ..Finally Hank looked at Larry and said how bout we name it after that cat and he pointed to the fat cat sitting in the corner all sick and full of field mice..The cats name was “Tugboat”..There ya go..I thought that was a great old SB story.” — David Epstein
“It was January of ’74 when Slim, Baldy, myself (KC) piled into Cowboy’s Bronco, few guys back then were know by their given names, and headed out from Winter Park headed for a day at Steamboat. The usual two hour trip took three because of falling snow. After the long drive up from 40 to the ticket windows, we found it had been snowing since 8 p.m. the night before. Champagne powder! It was a day that “safety straps”, a misnomer for sure, were necessary since if you fell and dropped a ski, it could be May before you found it. After a day to remember, we headed to the Tugboat for a couple of cold ones and burgers before starting home. You skied to the limit on a day like that, so it was about 5 when we got there. Things were already starting to rev up due to the altitude and attitude of everybody, mostly locals. Then there was a commotion at the door and in walks a guy that got everyone’s attention. Snow-packed goggles askew on his ski hat that was sideways, snow in his left ear and his jacket pockets, ice on his beard and his Fu Manchu ‘stache. But what silenced the crowd was the tree branch sticking out the back at his neck and the ones coming out both sleeves. In a bellowing voice came “That was a helluva last run.” The ‘Boat exploded. Forty years later and it still brings a smile to me.” — Ken Collins
“My family had many a good meal there after a long day on the slopes. We had fun playing foosball in a fun casual environment & enjoyed looking/reading about the treasured objects on the walls. It was just steps from our condo & we will miss it for sure.” — David L
PHOTO: Horses at Tugboat — John
“Larry Lamb bought me the last Budweiser beer I ever drank on August 31, 2001 in the Tugboat Saloon. Prior to that date I consumed vast quantities over a 22 year period, helping them stay in the black. I remember our local Sky Divers landing in Ski Time Square in front of the outdoor deck I n St. Patricks Day and guzzling green beer with them. I got interested in sky diving because of that day. RIP JJ Johnson, my instructor.” — LO
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