Escape Guide:            Aspen

by Katherine Parker-Magyar

For this edition of our mountain series, we're heading west, to one of the most glam (and #lit) spots in the Rockies: Aspen. Love it or hate it, you can't deny it's a good time (even if you don't ski). And for those of you wondering why Cloud Nine isn't at the very top, we decided to honor the athletic element of the bacchanalia by putting it under Good Times--after all, you do have to ski down. Though it could fit into every category--you could accidentally go off the grid, and certainly it's where more than a few revelers have had to hang their hat in a corner while champagne is sprayed without them. Truly redefining How the West Was Won (and lost). Herewith, our favorite spots:


Put 'Em Back

205 S Mill St, Aspen, CO 81611
Simply put: a classic. The scene definitely heats up at night, though nothing can really compare to the debacle listed above. 

Jimmy's Bodega
307 S Mill St, Aspen, CO 81611
Jimmy is a popular guy in Aspen...Sorry: I'll see myself out. This oyster bar is perfect for a seafood dinner (just what you're craving in Colorado, I'm sure) and a laid-back bar scene, as well. They serve plenty of mezcal aka the trendiest drink on Earth right now.

Grey Lady
305 S Mill St, Aspen, CO 81611
Missing the East Coast? Head here for some New England-style seafood, and to get drunk with people you knew in high school, and probably see regularly back in New York, too.


If You Can Get In

Caribou Club
411 E Hopkins Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
The Caribou Club is the first members-only club to grace Aspen, established in 1990. If you're wondering why it took the posh resort so long to introduce private clubs, you're not the only one.

426 E Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
This Pablo-themed nightclub really sets the bar high on their website: "Descending into the sleek underworld of Escobar, guests should get ready to transform into their boldest, sexiest selves." Not sure what else I can add to that aside from...Godspeed?

Bootsy Bellows
300 E Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO 81611Don't be fooled: the doorman at this 60s-inspired nightclub is pretty much there for show. He lets everyone in, and anything goes. Including burlesque performances. 



Local's Picks

Zane's Tavern
308 S. Hunter St. Aspen, CO 81611
This bar's slogan proudly proclaims to be "Where the Locals Go". And, according to the locals, it's true. My friend reports that it's where all the old hockey boys go to booze, as well as some sexy silver foxes (her exact words). Cheers.  

The Red Onion
420 E Cooper Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
What was once the most happening brothel in the 1800s is now Aspen's version of Cheers, where everyone knows your name. Great place, with occasional live music. 


Good Eats

Campo de Fiori
205 S Mill St, Aspen, CO 81611
Great Italian food right in the heart of town. Perfect for pre-or post-dinner drinks as well. 

533 E Hopkins Ave #2, Aspen, CO 81611
Head here for world-class sushi. This is Aspen. Duh.

La Creperie du Village
400 E Hopkins Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
Who doesn't love fondue? This French Alpine restaurant has an ambiance that is tres romantique, without being too cheesy. 

Cache Cache
205 S Mill St, Aspen, CO 81611
Another good date spot--French is a Romance language for a reason. Upscale, with a certain cache if you will (and I will). 


Get Your Fix

Justice Snow's
328 E Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
Head here for the best Bloody Mary bar in Aspen. Order the JS Burrito for an instant hangover cure. Also offer live music, too. Is there anything this place can’t deliver?

Victoria's Espresso Wine Bar
510 E Durant Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
Get brekkie at this spot with Australian specialties. (Since when did the Aussies takeover brunch?) A local favorite.


Good Times

Ski to Cloud Nine
Boomerang Rd, Top of the Cloud Nine Lift, Aspen, CO 81611
This Alpine bistro is home to the rowdy, champagne-spraying parties you see all over Snapchat, from opening weekend all the way through early spring. Thoughtfully, assistance is provided to skiers making their way home down the mountain afterwards.

Hike Highlands Bowl
Aspen Snowmass
Only the strong survive. Just kidding: only the dedicated opt for this over the debauchery above.

Ski Hut Trips
Aspen Snowmass
Rent a backcountry hunt and really get into the wild (outhouses required). It's a true skier's paradise, with varying levels of remoteness and difficulty regarding terrain.


Off The Grid

XC Ski to Pine Creek Cookhouse
11399 Castle Creek Rd, Aspen, CO 81611
Literally off the beaten path: XC ski to Pine Creek Cookhouse, at the base of the Elk Mountains. From there, the world is your oyster: sleigh riding, snowshoeing, gourmet meals. What's not to love?

Snowmobile to Maroon Bells
Aspen Snowmass
Get ready for your most-liked Instagram post ever: the 14,000-foot Maroon Bells are the two most photographed peaks in North America. Put your phone away and take a snowmobile tour to explore the glacial valley.

Bike to Woody Creek Tavern
2858 Upper River Rd, Woody Creek, CO
Bike to Woody Creek Tavern when the weather's a bit warmer to check out Hunter S. Thompson's favorite bar in Colorado. It doesn't disappoint. Head there on #TuesdayCruiseDay: meet up with fellow cycling aficionados at Aspen Brewing Co. before setting off on your trail.


aspen 8.jpg

Fill Your Bag

Pitkin County Dry Goods
520 E Cooper Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
The spot to visit for all of your swag: "Aspens Original Clothing Store." Head home looking a little bit sharper than you did when you left. 


Hang Your Hat

Hotel Jerome
330 E Main St, Aspen, CO 81611
Great place to hang your hat and put 'em back--check out J-Bar or the Living Room in the hotel as well.

St. Regis
315 E Dean St, Aspen, CO 81611
Beautiful (see left) and iconic. Did we just describe Beyoncé or an Aspen hotel? Does it matter?



Anything to add? Let us know in the comment section.


Shoutout to MK Mollohan and Mac Weaver for the insider tips!