Aspen is home to one of the wildest après ski scenes in the ski world. Did you know Après-ski is a French term from the 1950s which literally means “after ski” or “after skiing”? Après-ski is that magical end to a long day on the slopes, where the skis or snowboard have come off your tired feet, and the excitement continues. Pop bottles of Champagne at the base of the slopes while listening to live music or sip cocktails from the comfort of a chic hotel lounge while warming up and taking in the scenic snowfall.
Drop your skis and stash your snowboards because Aspen takes the après scene to new heights all winter long. With outdoor patios and fresh mountain air, I’m sharing a variety of Aspen locations I’ve personally chosen to Après-Ski.
As you ski down Aspen Mountain, you’ll see The Little Nell hotel and what appears to be a lavish party taking place on the patio at Ajax Tavern. Ajax is Aspen’s top spot for food, fun and fashion. So run, don’t walk, and indulge in truffle fries with a glass of Veuve Clicquot in the fresh air and sunshine. The combination of a prime location, people watching and delicious food makes Ajax Tavern one of the best après ski bars in Aspen.
Located downtown a few blocks from the Gondola is Aspen Brewing Company, also known as Aspen Tap. Feast on inventive bar fare and a craft brew with a picturesque view of Aspen Mountain. The brewery has welcomed locals and visitors since 2008 who enjoy craft beer not found anywhere else. Each one is made in small batches, ensuring quality and seasonal freshness. With a laid back vibe, freshest craft brews and one of the best views in town, Aspen Tap has become one of the best après ski bars in Aspen.
Brand new to Aspen in Winter 2021 is CHICA Aspen, helmed by celebrity chef Lorena Garcia (of Top Chef Masters, America’s Next Great Restaurant and Despierta America). The 4,335-square-foot restaurant boasts an additional 2,969 square feet of patio space with an outdoor bar, with views of Aspen Mountain. This trendy hotspot serves as a gathering place for Aspen’s stylish visitors and locals. The restaurant’s jaw-dropping design beckons with décor that draws influence from Latin American colors and textures such as handmade tiles, bright accents and colonial-inspired ironwork. Right off the ski lift, guests can enjoy Après-ski with half off on Aperol Spritzes every day from 4-7 p.m.
Join the party and indulge in champagne at Cloud Nine at Aspen Highlands. Don’t be deceived because from the outside the restaurant appears to be a quiet cabin — but inside, it’s a marvel of excess partying. You haven’t experienced “champagne showers” and dancing on chairs until you’ve been to this spot. By the end of your visit, everything — and everyone — is drenched in champagne. Accessible only by skiing or snowboarding, and located directly on the mountain, the 2 p.m. seating is available for those who are 21 and older only. Cloud Nine is legendary for a reason and you’ll want to be there to see why.
Ready to be transported to the French Alps? Aspen’s most celebrated lunch, après ski, & dining establishment, French Alpine Bistro, has been recognized by the Food Network as the Top 5 Best Romantic Restaurant in the U.S. Located in the heart of the village of Aspen, French Alpine Bistro continues to serve some of the best vibes in town. The restaurant offers fur blankets, an enviable wine list, a dimly lit ambiance and so much more. While some places get a little wild and play loud music, the French Alpine Bistro offers a more refined après-ski experience. Toast to the epic day on the slopes with a glass of wine while savoring authentic Alpine food in a stylish chalet setting.
A modest speakeasy located near the base of Aspen Mountain, Hooch is the perfect place to pull up after a long day on the mountain. With rustic vibes and beautiful mountain vistas, this spot is quiet enough to carry on a conversation and experience a relaxed environment. Get comfortable on one of the many plush chairs and couches sprinkled throughout the bar and order one of the Hooch’s famous Hot Toddies.
Located within the historic 132-year-old Hotel Jerome, Aspen’s ski enthusiasts will find The J-Bar. Over the years, The J-Bar has made the top of the “must-see in Aspen” list for visitors and Colorado natives alike. From cocktails and craft beers to storytelling and laughs, this Prohibition-era hangout is always a good time. Just a short walk from the Silver Queen ski lift, Aspen’s iconic J-Bar remains the town’s social hot spot for ski bums, socialites and even cowboys with its lively yet casual atmosphere.
Step into The Lounge at Limelight Hotel Aspen for après ski. The hotel’s newly renovated space, outdoor fireplaces and enormous heat lamps are a fabulous way to socialize outdoors while watching the snowfall atop Aspen Mountain. Pop over daily from 4–6 p.m. and indulge in an impressive roster of signature cocktails and noshes, and a relaxed and comfortable “living-room” ambiance.
If you have been to (or heard of) the coveted Montauk’s Surf Lodge, then you have to pay a visit to the brand’s Rocky Mountain outpost, The Snow Lodge. This winter brings the Snow Lodge to Aspen, located inside the Chefs Club at the St. Regis Aspen Resort. Expect a curated concert series with DJ sets and unplugged acoustic sets by both up-and-coming and established talent. The award-winning cocktails, live performances and upscale setting are a perfect combo for Aspen’s visitors and locals. You can even book your own private après-ski yurt by emailing Reservations@thesnowlodge.com. If you’re looking for somewhere to relax, dine, or unwind for some après ski enjoyment, few places compare to a sustainably built, well-furnished yurt in Aspen’s winter paradise.
Head over to the newly revamped W in Aspen and enjoy the Wet Deck — an 8,000-square-foot open-air rooftop bar. Open to the public, this is the largest rooftop space in all of Aspen and boasts a heated pool and hot tub, a lounge area, a permanent DJ booth and of course a dance floor. The Valley’s talent and professionals turn to unwind at The Wet Deck and you may come across X Games competitors and other local celebrities winding down after a day on the slopes. Vibe out to local and world-renowned DJs and soak in the 360-degree views of town when you step foot on the deck.
The W Aspen also launched a concept for the hotel’s second-floor lounge space. 30 Degrees offers a posh seating area and an après ski hotspot for tourists and locals alike. Open seven days a week, 39 Degrees brings live music with frequent DJ sets and a series of craft cocktails and light bites — all of which are offered at reduced prices during après ski hours running daily from 2-6 p.m.
Formerly named Chair 9, Wine Bar sets the stage for intimate gatherings with its lounge-style ambiance and seating areas for parties of up to 8 people. The bar features selections from the Nell’s renowned 20,000-plus-bottle wine cellar, rotating cheese selections and house-made charcuterie and accompaniments, including duck prosciutto, foie gras, and pâté. The Wine Bar at The Little Nell is open from 3:30 pm to 9:30 pm every day this winter and is a high-end lounge for ski season. The cozy bar is known for a low key atmosphere but not to be missed DJs (such as Dylan Regan or “DJ Dylan”) spinning vinyl records for all to relish.
From high-quality cocktail bars to everyday places to throw back a beer or sip rosé, this resort town has a little bit of everything. I hope this guide will help you navigate the Aspen Après-ski scene like a local. If the slopes aren’t for you, there still is plenty to do! If you are planning a trip to Aspen, Snowmass and the Roaring Fork Valley and are looking for any other suggestions, please contact me.
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