Winter is officially flexing its muscles across the country, but we’re not going to let the freezing mercury deter us from discovering great food and booze.
To celebrate the winter solstice we’re showing off some of our favorite cold weather towns. Aspen has fast become a mecca for somms, restauranteurs, chefs, and food lovers a like. Here are just 5 spots you shouldn’t miss when you get off the slopes:
1) J Bar at the Jerome Hotel
J Bar is an Aspen classic that popped up in in the midst of the silver mining rush of 1889 that put the ski town on the map. This watering hole sports a “locals only” mug club. To gain entry one must be referred by two locals. Mugs are housed on location and members receive special pricing for draft brews. During the 70s, Hunter S. Thompson used the bar as his writing lounge. Rumor has it that he was served breakfast, lunch, and dinner in one sitting, while he wrote and boozed for the entire day.
Pro Tip: Show up for brunch and stay all day.
2) The Monarch
The Monarch is the new kid on the Aspen culinary block, but its making a statement as a modern version of the steak house. We recommend going straight for the burger! This isn’t an ordinary steak house beef patty. The meat is ridiculously awesome, but the magic of this burger is in the toppings i.e. Nueske’s bacon, apple sauce dressing, and then the traditional lettuce, tomato, and onion.
Pro Tip: Ask for the Somm, Chris Schaetzel, to help you peruse the wine list. Wine + burger = primo!
3) Crêperie du Village
On the unassuming corner of Hopkins Ave and Mill Street, you’ll find a small staircase that leads you into a French alpine oasis. This bistro serves up standard french dishes like fondue and foie gras prepared in an elegantly rustic manner. The spot is known for its crêpes. On the wine list you’ll find a couple gems in the $10 to $15 a glass range mixed in with much higher end vino.
Pro Tip: Post skiing date! The ambience is the big winner at this place.
4) Chair 9 at the Little Nell
The Little Nell is the marquee hotel in Aspen. It is a 5-star deluxe property, but has maintained its accessibility despite its rich and famous clientele. Chair 9 is an après-ski spot that is very popular for a cocktail or two or three. Skiing may be the sport of choice during open mountain hours, but the peoplewatching at Chair 9 is equally thrilling. Watch out for cougars and former Bravo reality TV stars.
Pro Tip: Snag the cocktail of the day for 6 bucks!
5) Justice Snow’s
With all the proper accouterments of a hipster Brooklyn cocktail lounge, Justice Snow’s is serving up the best cocktails in Aspen. Make sure you have plenty of time to embibe these drinks. The service is a little on the slow side, but the craft makes it worth the wait!
Pro tip: Hot toddies! It’s Aspen. In Winter. It is cold!