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Aspen Winter News: The Can’t-Miss Spots for Dinner, Après and Late-Night Parties

Aspen is that rare American mountain town where the social scene rivals the ski scene. Après haunts like raucous Cloud 9, perched mid-mountain, and The Little Nell, conveniently located at the base of the gondola, have cemented its reputation as a place where you can ski hard and party in style. This season, the options for on- and off-piste dining and drinking are more creative than ever, ranging from a pop-up yurt village to a ski-up pool bar. Just nine miles away, Snowmass has always played second fiddle to glitzy Aspen, but the addition of a new base village anchored by the area’s first boutique hotel means there’s reason to stick around after last chair. Here, Indagare rounds up the hottest new places to toast your day on the slopes, plus the late-night spots where you can stay out past midnight.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a customized trip to Aspen.

The Chic Pop-Up: EMP Winter House

After the wild success of their East Hampton pop-up EMP Summer House, Daniel Humm and Will Guidara—the duo behind New York City’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant Eleven Madison Park—have opened a wintertime outpost in Aspen. The duo’s knack for high-brow fun reaches new levels at EMP Winter House, where guests summon waiters to their private yurt by flipping on red twinkling lights. The seasonal pop-up is a partnership with American Express, so only cardholders can make reservations for family-style fondue feasts, à la carte meals and après. The largest of the nine yurts even features a dedicated après-ski bar serving everything from oysters and caviar to Humm dogs (bacon-wrapped and topped with Gruyère) and schnitzel. Warm up with a thermos of Fernet-spiked hot cocoa topped with angostura marshmallows, or start the party by ordering a shot ski for the whole group.

The Sexy Speakeasy: Bad Harriet

This summer, Aspen’s historic Hotel Jerome debuted Bad Harriet, a speakeasy-style bar named for the wife of the hotel founder. Located next door in the former Aspen Times building, the dimly lit underground space has quickly become the mountain town’s sexiest late-night hangout, with last call at 2 a.m. The Great Gatsby-esque setting is a fitting backdrop for craft cocktails such as Harriet’s Vice, a mix of sage-infused gin and vermouth. And if you need a snack, the bar bites, including beef tartare with black pepper popovers and Dungeness crab tots, are delicious. 

The Evening Hot Spot: 7908

Roger Wilson, who previously worked alongside legendary NYC restaurateur Keith McNally, is the brains behind the new supper club concept 7908. Named for Aspen’s elevation, the restaurant and lounge channels famous nightspots like the 21 Club and Studio 54. Portraits of famous faces, ranging from Jim Morrison to the Dalai Lama, seem to glow in the light of spinning disco balls, and starting at 10 p.m., the resident DJ gets the crowd dancing. But you’ll want to come early to dine on the town’s best fried chicken and splurge on the much-hyped $120 nachos, served with an entire tin of Imperial Osetra caviar.

Related: The 9 Best Places to Ski in the U.S.

The Up-and-Comer: Limelight Lounge in Snowmass

The Limelight Aspen’s lively après scene is replicated this season at the brand’s newly opened sister property in neighboring Snowmass. The centerpiece of a $600 million base village, the 99-room hotel will host Snowmass’s longest happy hour, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., in the Limelight Lounge. Just as in Aspen, revelers here will find a comfortable living room vibe, live music from Thursday through Monday and incredible deals including $3 beers and $12 wood-fired pizzas.

The Unique Ski-In/Ski-Out Bar: The Nest at Viceroy Snowmass

This winter, the newly renovated Viceroy Snowmass will debut the area’s first ski-in/ski-out pool bar (removing skis is optional). Located directly on the slopes and adjacent to their heated pool, the Nest bar will serve $8 après snacks, such as short rib tacos and mushroom quesadillas, in addition to creative cocktails, including a French press hot chocolate spiked with Hennessy. Pack your bikinis and board shorts on Thursdays, when the Nest hosts a Moët champagne pool party featuring guests DJs. And on Sundays, football fans can ski up to the bar and snack on sliders while watching the games.

Related: Aspen’s Best Seasons

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a customized trip to Aspen.

– Jen Murphy on December 11, 2018

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