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Apres-Ski Indulgence: The Coziest Bars and Lounges in Aspen

Lisa Turchiarelli February 6, 2024

After an exhilarating day on the snowy slopes of Aspen, most people find themselves bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked, and famished. There is nothing quite so delicious as a hearty meal and a few skillfully poured drinks after you've just conquered the side of a mountain. That is what the apres-ski scene is all about.

In French, "apres" means "after" and epitomizes what you're craving as you pull off your gloves and realize you're hungry for steak, a cocktail, and a bottomless bowl of fondue. Here in Aspen, the apres-ski scene has taken on a life of its own. Many chic bars and refreshing restaurants are ready to make your day on the slopes absolutely perfect with just the right “apres” dining experience.

Where are the coziest bars and lounges in Aspen for your apres-ski cravings? With someone like Lisa Turchiarelli as your guide, you'll find all the most stylish and refreshing places to dine in Aspen's luxury apres-ski scene.

Ajax Tavern

Most people know Little Nel as Aspen's luxury five-star hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain, which holds a legendary place in the Aspen ski community. But it's also home to two wonderful apres-ski spots for dining and drinks to restore your energy after a day of skiing. The first is the Ajax Tavern. This warm and welcoming family restaurant is what most people picture when thinking about apres-ski.

You will find delicious Wagyu burgers, truffle fries, steaks, and appetizers to share, as well as excellent drinks at this indoor-outdoor restaurant right next to the Silver Queen Gondola. Live music often begins once the slopes close. Feed your cravings for energy-rich foods and raise your glass to what makes Aspen luxury apres-ski a truly great experience.

Wine Bar at Little Nell's

Are you seeking a slightly different scene? Where Chair 9 was once found, you'll now find the Wine Bar at Little Nell's. This posh art-deco-style lounge is the result of Little Nell's legendary 20,000-bottle wine cellar and skillful vintage curation. You can order wine by the glass and access Nell's incredible team of sommeliers. In addition to the nightly blind wine tasting, there is a live DJ with 4,000 vinyl records to spin. Here, you can taste incredible wines, enjoy exquisite charcuterie boards, and dance the night away.

The J-Bar at Hotel Jerome

If you're looking for one of Aspen's oldest and most famous apres-ski locations, you cannot miss the J-Bar inside the 132-year-old Hotel Jerome. In this speakeasy-style bar, the WWII 10th Mountain Division stopped for drinks when they weren’t training. Later, the legendary journalist Hunter S Thompson was found regularly at the J Bar while running for Pitkin County Sheriff in 1970. You'll love the historical charm, the cozy yet spacious atmosphere, and some of the best burgers in Aspen Village.

If you've got a sweet tooth, check out the Prohibition — the J Bar's signature boozy milkshake that is the perfect meeting of apres-ski indulgence and drinking in a single giant glass.

Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro

Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro is a unique apres-ski location for a number of reasons. First, you can only reach it by ski or snowcat. The Swiss-style chalet sits at the top of the Cloud Nine ski lift in the Aspen Highlands ski area. Second, it is the perfect place to warm up and restore your energy, as it’s nestled in the peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

If you stop by, don't miss Cloud Nine's scrumptious fondue as the perfect way to warm up during an enchanting day on the slopes, and order the authentic apple strudel for an unforgettable dessert. If you're looking for the whole nine yards, order one of the Snowcat Dinners at the Bistro, which features hot chocolate, Schnapps, and a snowcat ride up the mountain.

Limelight Lounge

If you're familiar with Aspen's Limelight Hotel, you may be surprised to discover that it has undergone significant renovations since 2021 and is now home to the bright and welcoming Limelight Lounge. You'll find outdoor firepits, oversized heat lamps, and the perfect atmosphere for alfresco apres-ski gatherings with friends and family. They quickly made a name for themselves with wood-fired pizzas, signature cocktails, and a daily happy hour from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

French Alpine Bistro

At the heart of the French-inspired apres-ski scene in Aspen is the French Alpine Bistro. Like a slice of the French Alpines transplanted to the Aspen mountains, each table enjoys fuzzy blankets and a cozy, dimly lit setting perfect for winding down after a long day on the slopes. The menu starts with a bubbling pot of "liquid Swiss gold," the restaurant's unforgettable fondue. From there, explore a menu of authentic crepes and French entrées, such as boeuf bourguignon and duck cassoulet, accompanied by an extensive wine list. The Austrian glühwein (mulled wine) will either have you ready to hit the slopes again or nodding off into your cozy blanket.


If you're looking for a gourmet restaurant that has recently found its way to Aspen, you simply must stop at Chica. Chica was the third of its name and was founded by celebrity chef Lorena Garcia, with sister locations in Miami and Las Vegas. But don't let that fool you. Lorena Garcia has a refined understanding of just what the Aspen luxury apres-ski crowd is looking for, blending bold Latin American cuisine with a classic apres ambiance.

Not only will you discover new flavors and dishes, but you'll find that your desire for warm, hearty foods and expertly poured signature cocktails is perfectly fulfilled. Delight in the uniquely international menu featuring Black Truffle Old Fashioned alongside Venezuelan Braised Short Ribs and Crispy Peruvian Octopus for an apres like you've never “apres'd” before.


If you're looking for a history-drenched speakeasy experience, find time to stop at Hooch. Located underneath the Meat & Cheese Restaurant, it's one of the coziest bars in Aspen. The brick walls, leather couches, and stunning chandeliers will take you back to prohibition-era Aspen when the apres-ski scene hid underground. Here, you can enjoy beer, wine, and craft cocktails after a day on the slopes. This old speakeasy still has its historic charm and will make you feel like you're doing something wrong in all the right ways as you explore its extensive drink menu and light bar snacks.

Discover the Best of Aspen with Lisa Turchiarelli

The only thing better than visiting Aspen is to own a home there. Whether you want to live on the slopes full time and make the Aspen luxury apres-ski culture your own or visit freely without booking a room, buying a home in one of Aspen's exclusive residential neighborhoods can be an enriching experience.

With an experienced Aspen real estate agent like Lisa Turchiarelli on your side, you can find your dream mountain chalet near all your favorite apres-ski bars, lounges, and signature restaurants in the village. Contact Lisa today to get started!

*Header photo courtesy of Unsplash

Work With Lisa

When not helping clients realize their dreams Lisa lives her own by hiking, mountain biking, running and telemark skiing in the natural beauty of the Aspen area. Get in touch with her today!