Under normal circumstances, après-ski means a packed bar, a pitcher or three, and food to be shared. Not this winter. Here’s what to expect at some of Aspen and Snowmass Village’s buzziest spots for a post-snow toast (see also The Artisan). Prefer to après at home? We’ve got an Aspen-specific DIY option for that, too.
Locally owned New Belgium Ranger Station features 10 rotating taps from the Fort Collins brewery it’s named for. Warm up on the slopeside patio (which has plenty of heaters) with the signature beef chili or pretzel rolls and a pitcher of Mountain Time Lager (available only in Colorado), or order a s’mores kit to toast around the expansive fire pit. One late night too many? Spring for a sweet or savory Belgian waffle and a bacon Bloody Mary or espresso liqueur–spiked toddy. Just a bit farther down the mall, live music goes off every Thursday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. through February, 3 to 5 p.m. after. Snowmass Mall, rangerstation.org
The Little Nell’s former Chair 9 got a swanky upgrade to the Wine Bar, with eight private seating areas lined with plush couches—all the better for experiencing one of the daily blind tastings and swaying to beats from the plexiglass-partitioned DJ booth. The bar features selections from the Nell’s renowned 20,000-plus-bottle wine cellar, including esoteric and iconic offerings by the glass curated by wine director Chris Dunaway. Pair them with the rotating cheese selection and house-made charcuterie and accompaniments, including duck prosciutto, foie gras, and pâté. 675 E Durant Ave, thelittlenell.com
From the owners of Local Coffee House and Here House comes Firefly, a new, seasonal après spot and supper club with live music curated by a longtime local musician. Imbibe in a moody, intimate environment that’s made safer with an ionized air filtration system. Try the Hokkaido Fog (Peach Street Distillers pear eau de vie, Marble Distilling gingercello, dry sake, jasmine green tea, and shiso bitters) with bites like salt-roasted beets with goat cheese fritters or seared pork belly. Open Thursday to Saturday, from 5 p.m. Reservations recommended and require a $75 per person deposit/minimum that will be applied to your bill. 614 E Cooper St, fireflyaspen.com
The W Aspen’s expansive rooftop Wet Deck—with in-your-face views of Aspen Mountain, fire pits, hot tubs, a thumping DJ, and a full bar—became an après hot spot when it opened a year ago; this year, limits on capacity mean the revelry is understandably tamped down. Order a signature cocktail like the Fig Newton (Montanya Oro rum, house-made spiced fig syrup, balsamic reduction, and lemon) along with apps from the bar menu of internationally inspired fare. 550 S Spring St, w-hotels.marriott.com
Host your own gathering by serving seasonal 10th Mountain Imperial Stout from Aspen Brewing Company (aspenbrewingcompany.com), a barrel-aged brew or crisp saison from Roaring Fork Beer Company (roaringforkbeerco.com), or rye whiskey from Woody Creek Distillers (woodycreekdistillers.com). Accompany them with locally baked bread, domestic and imported artisan cheeses, salumi from Basalt’s Il Porcellino, and local honeycomb or preserves, all sourced from Aspen’s Meat & Cheese Restaurant and Farm Shop. 319 E Hopkins St, meatcheese.avalancheaspen.com