Aspen’s slopes are powder-packed, the town is abuzz, and visitors are fueling a festive holiday spirit. In short, ski season has kick-started in stellar fashion. After earning turns on Ajax’s Bear Paw, hiking The Bowl, or shredding the Wall at Snowmass, convo quickly arrives to “Après?” Herewith, the inside track on new and noteworthy après hotspots.
SPAR TO THE BAR (Aspen): The Little Nell has rebranded the locally coined “Wrinkle Room” (the Terrace Bar) as the new Chair 9 après ski bar, open 2-8 p.m. daily. With a new, energetic feel to this Aspen mainstay, the latest incarnation features Colorado micro brews, live music booked by town’s legendary Belly Up, and a moderately priced food menu. Nosh on comfort cuisine or crab legs, lobster, and freshly shucked oysters. Playful retro cocktails include the “Let’s Get This Party Started Mai Tai” in addition to $9 wines by the glass. If really wanting to get those après engines revving, order the $4 Shot of the Day. Cheers! 675 E. Durant Ave., 970-920-4600
Photo: Jason Dewey
NAKED LADY TO NEST PUBLIC HOUSE (Snowmass): This Kelly-Wearstler designed slope-side restaurant is a design star of the chic Viceroy Snowmass, yet its latest menu revamp gives new reason for a Snowmass schuss. Executive Chef Will Nolan has launched Nest Public House, a playful yet sophisticated gastro-pub menu inspired by his New Orleans roots. Refuel with hearty comfort cuisine such as red beans and rice with smoked Andouille sausage,chicken and handmade dumplings, and lobster pot bisque. Lighter après bites include Nolan’s signature BBQ pork sliders on house-made cheddar biscuits. Perhaps most buzz worthy is the new craft “dog” menu, foot-long craft sausages and dogs that will please the most discerning sausage fiend. Everything on these plates is house-made, including brioche buns and hand-cut chips. Don't miss the South of the Border—foot-long cheddar jalapeno chorizo, pork green chili, pepper-jack cheese, and chips. Also touting Colorado’s reputation as the national king of artisan brews, Nest Public House only serves craft beers from our fine state, with a staggering 45 selections, from $4 Coors to 22-ounce bomber beers. In need of an Epiphany? This handcrafted cocktail is anchored in hot-buttered rum, stirred with Cruzan black strap and Nest’s seasonally flavored butter. 130 Wood Rd., 970-923-8000
11,212 FEET TO 39 DEGREES (Aspen): The 39 Degrees lounge at Aspen’s Sky Hotel is consistently touted as a top après haunt, and this season Executive Chef Shawn Lawrence is upping the ante with his new winter menu. Standouts include the tuna crudo, a warm tuscan kale and butternut squash salad, and the crispy duck croquettes. Sweet tooth? Indulge in the Drunken Fat Elvis—peanut butter semifreddo, bacon brittle, and bourbon caramel sauce. On the subject of high spirits, über creative cocktails by Denis Cote are the order of the day, such as the Viva Vida, which stars Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Jameson Irish whiskey, chamomile tea syrup, and Fee Brothers rhubarb bitters. 709 E. Durant Ave., 970-925-6760