10 hot breakfast and beer spots in South Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe draws visitors in the winter for the ski season, but the deep blue waters are equally popular with spring and summer enthusiasts. (Getty Images)

The serene lake, towering evergreen trees and shady walking trails: there are plenty of reasons to fly to South Lake Tahoe. Whether you want to hit the trail or splash out on the coast, you’ll probably need a post-hike meal and drink to refuel between adventures. And South Lake’s beer and breakfast scene makes it easy to enjoy the lake’s scenic wonders without skimping on what’s in your glass or on your plate.

There are plenty of places with delicious scrambles, Benedicts and other brunch dishes. But head to the Artemis Lakefront Café and enjoy a Mediterranean-inspired menu by the lake. Enjoy water views while sipping mimosas and espresso drinks by the giant outdoor fire pit or on the patio. The Greek Breakfast ($17) features gyro slices fried with peppers and onions, topped with feta and served alongside eggs, roasted herb potatoes and pita bread. They are also open for lunch and dinner.

Heidi’s Pancake House and its bright yellow chalet are a South Lake Tahoe institution—it opened in 1964—and a great place to start any route from pancakes to lager. Order a Heidi’s Short Stack ($11.49) with four buttermilk or buckwheat pancakes or enjoy a Bacon Stack ($15), six pancakes with chunks of crispy bacon cooked directly in the batter.

Meanwhile, the Driftwood Café puts you right in the middle of the Heavenly Village action. Their breakfast burrito ($14) holds a special place in our hearts (and bellies) with its bountiful filling of scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage (or avocado), hash browns, cheese and house-made salsa. And the “primo pancakes and crazy waffles” lineup includes a loaded waffle ($14) topped with bananas, granola and yogurt.

South Lake Brewing Co.'s beer garden.  in South Lake Tahoe features ski lift seating.  (Courtesy of South Lake Brewing Co.)
South Lake Brewing Co.’s beer garden. in South Lake Tahoe features ski lift seating. (Courtesy of South Lake Brewing Co.)

And the casual Sprouts Natural Café combines fresh smoothies ($7.50 to $8.25) to order, with a morning menu of Breakfast Bowls ($12.75), featuring brown rice, beans, steamed cage-free eggs, melted jack and avocado, and Huevos Verduras Rancheros ($13.50) that pile on the veggies.

Then go out and enjoy the summer outdoors. When you’re ready, we’re waiting with some suggestions for craft beer destinations and — oh hello, here you are!

South Lake Tahoe has many bars and restaurants, but if we focus on what’s brewed here, head to South Lake Brewing Company. You can opt for the local option and head to the brewery, where a taproom, beer garden with picnic tables, ski lift seating (yes, really), and rotating food trucks await. Or opt for the company’s Libation Lodge across the street from Heavenly Village and enjoy beer (and food).

Taste your way through South Lake Brewing Co.'s lineup.  with 2-ounce tasters served atop a snow ski.  (Courtesy of CJ Varela for South Lake Brewing Co.)
Taste your way through South Lake Brewing Co.’s lineup. with 2-ounce tasters served atop a snow ski. (Courtesy of CJ Varela for South Lake Brewing Co.)

We love South Lake Brewing’s shot ski dishes – no, no, not the quick, alcoholic shots you find at some bars. The brewery uses skis for its beer tasting flights. Most people opt for the five-flavor option, which uses a pint-sized ski to serve five ounces of five draft brews. If you are with a group and want to sample the whole offering, there is a full ski option with 16 tasters.

The Marlette Sunrise, a blood orange blonde, and the Fog Nozzle hazy IPA are the two flagships, both delicious but in very different ways. Each beer has a fun name, the artwork ties in with the Tahoe vibe, and you’ll find plenty of brews by the can in the grab-and-go refrigerator, in case you want a brew on the go. Expert Tip: When it’s time to refuel, the Extra Large Beer Cheese Pretzel ($16) doesn’t disappoint.