Lead Photo Credit: Steve Goff
Let's talk about a little place called Aspen. As you may have heard, it's a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women flock like the Salmon of Capistrano.
The French may be assholes (relax, it's a movie reference) but they did coin the phrase, après ski and nowhere is it more unique and lively in the U.S. than Aspen. Sure there is great après wherever you go, but Aspen après ski is different.
Aspen Après Ski is Elevated
Après ski in Aspen is elevated in a way that matches the experience of being at this exotic ski resort. So much so that this would-be small town at the base of the mountain is home to more than 80 restaurants and bars. With so many great après ski restaurants, bars, lounges, etc. to visit, choosing one to go to after a day of skiing can be a daunting task. However, if you are looking for the best for après ski in Aspen, here are seven places you absolutely must check out.
The Best Après Ski in Aspen
No trip to Aspen would be complete without experiencing après ski at Cloud 9. It's the one bar in America that is arguably closest to the après ski experience in the Swiss Alps. So much so that this Swiss-style cabin is set atop the mountain right near the Cloud 9 lift. That means your going to have to make your way down the mountain after whooping it up at one of their music-thumping champagne parties. Just be sure to make reservations before going, Cloud 9 is as popular as you can get when it comes to Aspen après ski.
Photo Credit: The Little Nell
Another wildly popular location for on-mountain après ski in Aspen is Ajax Tavern. The combination of a fantastic location and delicious food and drink make this Aspen hotspot the place to see or be seen. With one of the most famous patios in all of the high country, you will be sucked right in at the end of your run right near the Silver Queen Gondola. Once there, the experience takes over and soon enough you'll be knuckles deep in their widely popular truffle fries, chowing on their famous double cheeseburger and dancing around with goggles on and champagne in your hand.
Photo Credit: Aspen Brewing Company Instagram @aspenbrewingcompany
Aspen Brewing Company is Aspen's only craft brewery and is just a short walk away from the gondola. In fact, the owners claim that in good snow years, you can ski right up to the front door of Aspen Tap. Skiing into this brewery would definitely be fun but even if that's not an option, you should pay them a visit. Aspen Brewing Company brews excellent craft beer like their ski-themed This Season's Blonde while serving up some really delicious pub fare. Whether you are a local or just visiting, it's definitely one of the best places to "drink in the view" at après ski in Aspen.
Photo Credit: Hotel Jerome Instagram @hoteljeromeauberge
Hotel Jerome is as legendary as it comes in the ski world and it's J Bar is widely considered one of the best places for après ski in Aspen. Aside from it being the old stomping grounds of famous American journalist Hunter S. Thompson, Bill Murray and Johnny Depp have often been spotted sipping cocktails there as well. There is even a story of it being the location of an epic party for the 10th Mountain Division while training in the years leading up to World War 2.
Historical and modern guests aside, the J Bar offers a low-key speakeasy sort of vibe. Their cocktails are what they are most known for and you should definitely give one of them a try. Just be sure to order what they claim is the best burger in Aspen too. You won't be disappointed with either.
Photo Credit: French Alpine Bistro Instagram @french.alpine.bistro
Located right smack dab in Aspen Village, the French Alpine Bistro is the place to be if you like Raclette, crepes and French alpine vibes. An underground, dimly lit restaurant, the space sets the stage for authentic French après ski in Aspen.
Their wine list is extensive, as it should be for a French restaurant. Take your pick and then cuddle up in one of their furry blankets as you enjoy their delicious fondue and crepes. If your heart, and stomach, need a bit more warming, you must dive into their dinner menu. There you'll find the Truffle Gnocchi-Flette, a riff on a traditional Tartiflette. Black truffle potato gnocchi, bacon, a touch of cream, caramelized onions & melted Gruyère cheese it is the ultimate in French après ski food.
Photo Credit: Chica Instagram @chicarestaurants
Chica is relatively new to the Aspen après ski scene however, don't let this fool you. Its chef's star power combined with Chica's Latin flare has quickly made it a fan favorite.
Located within the Residences at the Little Nell former Top Chef Masters competitor, Lorena Garcia has brought inspiration from her other locations in Miami and Las Vegas and thrust it into Aspen après ski. Their expansive deck offers you excellent views of Aspen Mountain as you sip on one of their creative craft cocktails and dine on Latin-American-infused bites.
Bonnie's Restaurant On Aspen Mountain
Photo Credit: Bonnie's Instagram @bonniesaspen
If you don't know Bonnie's then you might need to get out of your ski bubble. Bonnie's Restaurant on Aspen Mountain is iconic. This favorite of locals and visitors alike also happens to be one of the only places where you can (and should) start and end your day.
Bonnie's is located mid-mountain so you will have to take a lift up for breakfast and ski down at the end of the day. But, it's definitely worth it. Ride the lift up early and hit up Bonnie's for breakfast before 11 am. Their pancakes are legendary and an absolute Aspen must. Once satiated by these delectable delights, head out and get those laps in before ending your day back at Bonnie's for a beer and their famous white bean chili out on their deck. Just don't stay too long, as I mentioned earlier, you still need to get down.
The Best Après-Ski Attire
Much of the on-mountain après-ski in Aspen requires a smooth transition from the slope to the bar. That said, you'll want the best Aspen après-ski fashion for the job. Since Aspen has a tendency to put the boo in bougie, I'd go with our 1/2 Zip Performance Pullover. Available in men's and women's, it has been called by some the "best mid-layer they've ever worn." Beyond that, it will add a bit of class to your après-ski attire when you are catching rays on the patio at Ajax or popping champagne at Cloud 9.
If you enjoy finding out about the best places to hang out on your next ski trip to Aspen or anywhere else in the high country, then our Après Ski Blog is for you. Sign up today and never miss another post. You won't be disappointed.