SNOWMASS VILLAGE - What if there was a place that combined fancy libations with a hangout comparable to the dreamlike palace of our childhood role model, Richie Rich? Keeping our young-at-heart spirits in mind, the Bar at Wildwood has given Snowmass a facelift like it has never seen before, bringing a hybrid of local eats and drinks together with a serious fun zone to be enjoyed by people ranging in age from 10 to 100. Think family game room meets coffee shop, meets corner bookstore meets city bistro - the place has it all, and can only be truly appreciated hands-on.
Within the walls of this ultimate game room, community tables juxtapose two party-style lounge areas strewn with two fireplaces, plush rocking chairs and colorful furniture on wheels. Collections of encyclopedias, books on nature, the arts and history line shelves with artisan lamps, sculptures and posters. Games like Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, Scattergories and Candyland inhabit every corner of the restaurant, while ski and snowboard videos play on the large-screen projector overhead.
The menu? Handcrafted pizzas, burgers, salads and soups made from local ingredients, paired with a full bar offering specialty cocktails, cognacs and a fine selection of brews from none other than our friends across the way, the New Belgium Brewing Co.
There to give me a tour of the place and whip me up a tasteful cocktail and homemade pizza (one of the best pizzas I've ever had) was Wildwood manager Brandon Howard.
Snowmass Sun: What is the name of the drink you made for me, and what is the inspiration behind it?
Brandon Howard: The drink is called "Mountain Town," made with cinnamon-apple-infused Jim Beam Black Label, Cinzano sweet vermouth and bitters. The inspiration behind all of our cocktails is to create something original and new while maintaining homegrown concepts.
SS: How many New Belgium beers will you have on tap? Is there anything we haven't heard of?
BH: We will have eight drafts to start, and will eventually be offering New Belgium's entire collection of brews as we rotate taps out on a weekly basis throughout the season. The idea is to offer a taste for everyone, and as for new and exciting, I would like to keep that a surprise.
SS: It's obvious this place is ideal for kicking up and relaxing. What kind of clientele do you hope to appeal to?
BH: Ideally, everyone and anyone. People can enjoy a cocktail at the bar; sit at the community table with friends over a pizza and a board game; or hide out in the lounge with a good ol' Nancy Drew book. Regardless, it will definitely be a place for spirited discussions of all kinds.
SS: Will you be open late? What are you looking forward to most?
BH: Starting Dec. 15 we will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight (currently open 3 to 10 p.m.), but
depending on the crowd, we could very well stay open until 2 a.m. I'm really looking forward to just taking off, to doing it right and creating that place people in Snowmass want to be, from apres to late-night to everything in between.