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Aprés ski and more: A drinker’s guide to Aspen

Best places for apres ski drinking in Aspen

apres ski, aspen colorado
apres ski, aspen colorado

If you’ve never been to Aspen, certain images come to mind. Mountains, skiing, maybe even Dumb & Dumber, which was set in Aspen (though the movie wasn’t shot there, Breckenridge, Colo. filled in for Aspen in the film).

What you may not know about this skiing mecca is that the food and drink scene is as lively as the neon colors on everyone’s ski suits. From high-quality cocktail bars to everyday places to throw back a beer and a shot, this resort town has a little bit of everything for apres ski. Below, check out some of the must-see Aspen restaurants and bars for beer, wine, and booze.

aspen colorado hooch bar
Hooch Bar


You won’t see it at first glance, since Hooch is located down a flight of stairs under a restaurant, but if you know where to go, you won’t be disappointed. The best way to describe Hooch is, perhaps, “rustic chic.” Low-lit with chandeliers in the Colorado equivalent of a speakeasy, Hooch is a great place to go for high-quality craft cocktails with farmhouse-style shareable plates. If you’re looking for a straight pour, Hooch also has a hefty list of American, Japanese, and Scotch whisk(e)y (plus a few Irish and Canadian options to boot). It’s currently open Tuesday-Sunday from 5 p.m.

Hotel Jerome Aspen

The Living Room

Located in the Hotel Jerome, the Living Room is meant to be just as the name implies—a homey environment (the hotel describes it as “clubby and relaxed”). That is if your idea of home is the type of place where you can get some nice cocktails, craft beers, or a glass of wine when you want it. There are numerous options for seating, depending on how many people you’re with, and the small plates menu allows for the perfect pairing for the bar’s signature cocktails, like the Irishman’s Teapot, a drink made for two which contains Jameson Black Barrel, Giffard Peche de Vigne, honey, lemon, and tea.

Image used with permission by copyright holder


Sticking with the Hotel Jerome for our next entry, the hotel’s historic J-Bar brings a tangible connection to the Old West. According to the Hotel Jerome, “cowboys and miners once rode their horses through its doors,” and the bar, which dates back to the 19th century, is still a popular gathering place today. You can get a wide assortment of vintage-inspired cocktails and, of course, beer. If you’re hungry, be sure to check out what the J-Bar claims is “Aspen’s best burger.” The bar has one more historic claim to fame. When the legendary journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson ran for sheriff in the late 1960s, he used the bar as a de facto office.

Ajax Tavern interior
The Little Nell

Ajax Tavern

Looking for a place to enjoy après ski right on the mountain? At Aspen’s Little Nell resort, check out the Ajax Tavern. This popular location has a patio with incredible mountain views right at the base of Aspen Mountain. Ajax Tavern, which is open for lunch and dinner, features a full line of craft beers, wins, and creative cocktails, so you could start the party at lunch, go out for a few runs, and then come back and pick up the party over dinner. If you’re hungry, Ajax Tavern is especially known for its truffle fries and a wagyu double cheeseburger.

flight of beers at Aspen Brewing Company
Nan Palmero / Flickr

Aspen Brewing Company

If you’re looking for a cold beer during your time in Aspen, check out the Aspen Brewing Company. Located just a stone’s throw away from the slopes right in downtown Aspen, it’s Aspen’s only craft brewery. As you would expect from a brewpub, Aspen Brewing Company has an extensive list of beers, ranging from German pilsners to IPAs to a Casa Bonita Mexican Lager (a name that should be familiar to South Park fabs). Don’t like beer? No problem; there’s also wine and a full cocktail selection, so there’s something for everybody. If you’re hungry, there’s pizza and appetizers available.

French Alpine Bistro

French Alpine Bistro

Are you looking for a taste of the Alps during your Aspen experience? The French Alpine Bistro in downtown Aspen is the place for you. You’ll feel like you’re in the French Alps once you step inside. As you might expect from the French influence in the name, this is not a beer bar; wine takes center stage here with an extensive wine list, and there’s a creative cocktail list as well. You can enjoy an authentic cheese fondue, and there are crepes on the menu as well. There’s also a happy hour daily from 3-5 p.m. with specials on food as well as wine, beer, and cocktails.

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Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
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