The Bitter Bar: where Mindfulness + Alcohol come together.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Nov 23, 2009
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Picture 2581

The other night I went to Happy Noodle House in Boulder, Colorado, for the first time in awhile.

When Happy first opened up some eight months ago, it fast became a favorite…I hosted a few parties there, and hung out in their “Bitter Bar” many a night.

Then, for some reason (summertime, and my being a workaholic, perhaps) I fell off the Happy wagon. But a few nights back,  I went back, met my longtime bud Michael Ramsey and was treated to an incredible cocktail via James Lee, one of the better bartenders in Boulder—and the whole of the U.S. of A.

The experience reminded me that mindfulness—doing the right thing—living a good, meaningful life and helping others—what elephant is all about—and alcohol can intersect.

Leave behind the red Solo cups, the cheap crap alcohol and the swilling and bingeing…make a proper drink, mindfully, and it can be an incredible way to relax, to breathe out the stress of the day, to enjoy your evening and the company of a friend and your community.

It might seem obvious to my friends, reading this, that alcohol ain’t necessarily a vice—but too often in the yoga and Buddhist worlds that I grew up around, and in, peeps tend to regard alcohol, understandably, as a dangerous thing.

It is. But done mindfully, moderately, with proper attention and enjoyment, it’s the kind of vice we all can get behind.

PS: I suggested James write an Art of the Cocktail column for, now at 83,000 unique visitors a month, and top 12 in the world in green on twitter. Cross your fingers!

Happy Noodle House "James Lee" bartender Bitter Bar Boulder


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


5 Responses to “The Bitter Bar: where Mindfulness + Alcohol come together.”

  1. Fingers crossed…

  2. Bruce says:

    I was at bitter bar last week and left with one of the best evening of drinks I've ever had. They make a brilliant sazerac and even better was the passion Mark Stoddard (our mixologist for the eve) showed for his trade and craft. Lengthy discussions about the merits of absinthe, different kinds of gin, and molecular mixology made it fun, interesting and deeply engaging. I can't recommend the place enough.

  3. […] the third rule at The Bitter Bar’s Happy Noodle is, don’t take flash photos (an homage to speakeasies of yore, James […]

  4. […] dishes from favorite local restaurants and watering holes like The Kitchen, Mateo, Frasca, and The Bitter Bar. He attempts the full Boulder experience by going car-free for his week in town, and revels in how […]

  5. […] you first walk into the Bitter Bar in Boulder, Colorado—previously Happy Noodle House + the Bitter Bar, now, more drinks, less food—it is a bit hard to […]