With spring upon us, that means warmer temperatures and longer days. Sitting outside after being on the mountain, catching some rays, and recollecting on the day of skiing over an adult beverage and some snacks is apres skiing in a nutshell. Aspen is full of amazing places to apres, known and unknown. Here are our top six places to pull up a chair after a day on the hill... ski boots optional.
1. Ajax Tavern: You can't ski Aspen Mountain and NOT see the masses gatherin at Ajax Tavern starting in the early afternoon. The permier place to "see and be seen" on a suny spring day, the Tavern has a large outdoor deck to gather with friends until the sun drops behind Shadow Mountain. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM this spring, Ajax Tavern is featuring "Cliquot In The Snow" -- a celebration of spring skiing with drink specials from Cliquot and DJ Dylan on the ones and twos.
2. Shlomo's: In its second year on the scene, Shlomo's has made the most of having the other top spot for Aspen Mountain apres. Located on the other side of the gondola from Ajax Tavern, Shlomo's also has a bevvy of ourdoor seating and space that flows seamlessly to the indoors. Table dancing and delicious cocktails keep the party going most days until late into the afternoon in the springs. And since Shlomo's has some of the best breakfast in town, you may find yourself right back in the morning.
3. Aspen Tap: The new tap room from Aspen Brewing Company just opened in February and is the place to go for light bites, great beer and a casual atmosphere... with no funny looks if you happen to be in your ski boots until the wee hours of the night. Aspen Brewing Company has won multiple awards for its unique craft beers, so beer lovers will have no problem settling in to watch a game or simply enjoy a tasting flight after a day on the moutain. Live music will often provide background ambiance and the delicious chicken tacos will feed the hunger built up from skiing.
4. Mountain Social: For those looking for a more elevated experience, the new Mountain Social in the lobby of the St. Regis provides luxurious seating and a refined drink and eats menu. Live music daily from 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM sets the tone of the afternoon while a daily sabering of a champagne bottle -- a tradition started by John Jacob Astor when he founded The St. Regis New York in 1904 -- occurs at 5:15 PM marking the transition from day to night in the winter / spring months.
5. Limelight lobby: Another hangout on the more casual side of the spectrum is the lobby at the Limelight Hotel. Wood-fired pizzas and delcious sangria highlight the menu and are served either indoors in the spacious, family-friendly lobby, or outdoors either by the pool or on the patio facing the mountain. Indoor and outdoor fireplaces provide warmth and live music starting at 6:30 PM Thursdays through Mondays encourages dancing with smiles on faces and ski boots on feet.
6. Red Onion: An historic staple of Aspen, the Red Onion should not be missed by history buffs and good old fashioned bar lovers alike. Established in 1892, the Red Onion has been dishing out beers and grub for skiers fresh off the mountain for over one hundred years. While the faces behind the bar may change throughout the years -- be sure to say hi to Anton, Jordan, and Pat if you're around this year -- the laid-back vibe and appreciation for all things skiing stays the same.
*Honorable mention: Sky Hotel / 39 Degrees Bar: For years, the Sky Hotel played host to the rowdiest apres scene in all of Aspen, maybe all of Colorado. Surrounding the pool on any given day, apres revelers young and old would gather for beers, cocktails, shots, and inevitably... jumps into the pool. Many locals would ski with their swim suits on underneath their outerwear to partake in a dip in the hot tub with a cold beer in hand. Sadly, the Sky Hotel is no more. It is being replaced with a W Hotel and the apres scene in Aspen has yet to see if the new space will live up to the old memories.