A bear claw and a red eye (a cup of drip coffee with a shot of espresso thrown in to bring it up in octane) from the Pine Nut Coffeehouse and Bakery will amp you up like LAPD in hot pursuit. (909-866-3537)
Just the Calories: El Jacalito means little jackal in Spanish, but for some reason they don't serve jackal. Oh well, it's the seafood that makes this authentic Mexican restaurant swim. Don't miss the ceviche tostada. (909-878-2131)
Put Some Sauce on That: Pretend you're from the Valley and "do sushi." Traditional presentations at Ichiban keep Big Bear's wasabi addicts from driving to LA for dinner. (909-866-6413)
Bust Out The Plastic: Just because the place looks like a gingerbread house doesn't mean you should bring the tots to Madlon's-this place is all gourmet. Besides, the little buggers would burn their bellies on the house specialty: jalapeño soup. (909-585-3762)
Up All Night
Suds: Slurp a pint of hefeweizen as you torment your friends (and everyone else) on the karaoke machine at Murray's Saloon. (909-866-1444)
The Must Stop: The oldest bar in Big Bear, Chad's has been quenching thirst since 1915. Live rock bands from LA on Friday and Saturday nights; Foosball and pool the rest of the week; but no matter when you go, the ever-popular Chad's Black Eye (a multishot, secret ingredient fog-cutter) will have you seeing double. (909-866-2161)Drinkin' & Dancin':
Wear the shiny shirt and ride the Red Bull and Jà¤ger monster as a DJ spins techno upstairs at Mozart's Bistro and Nightclub (909-866-9497).
Hitchhiker: Get a bed and a lift ticket for $55 at the Spartan Adventure Hostel (866-866-5255, adventurehostel.com)
Workin' Stiff: The 147-room Northwoods Resort has a big pool and is within walking distance of Big Bear Village. Rooms for two start at $79 before Christmas; $169 during vacation weeks. (909-866-3121, northwoodsresort.com)
Bank Robber: Over the years, various (unnamed) Hollywood types have built vacation shacks on the lake at Big Bear. Plush, 5,000-square-foot ski homes with roomy hot tubs are now available for rent at about $800 a night. (800-424-4232, bigbearinfo.com)
For the Boys (er, girls) Back Home
Pick up a slinky bear teddy (not a teddy bear) at Bear Mountain Trading Company. (909-585-9676)
Finish your day at Snow Summit's base-of-the-hill Bullwheel Bar where the walls are hung heavy with mementos of Big Bear's black-and-white past and locals pass the time throwing back Purple Hooter shots (vodka, chambord, and sweet and sour). Or, smooth the burrs off your edge with hot chocolate and Rumpelmintz at Trappers at the base of Bear Mountain. (Trappers, 909-585-2519; Bullwheel Bar, 909-866-5766, snowsummit.com)
Contributing writer Bill Kerig is the author of Utah Underground, available through Mountain Sports Press.