ASPEN - Aspenites soon might be having their drinks on ice - literally.
Escobar, a downtown Aspen nightclub that operates an alfresco bar in the middle of the Hyman Avenue mall during the summer months, is seeking approval to install an ice bar on the mall for the winter.
The liquor license is pending and the ice has been ordered. Escobar owners Ryan Chadwick and Ian Perry hope they can open the bar Dec. 22 and keep it open until March 22. Aspen's Commercial Core and Lodging Commission already has given its nod to the idea, according to Kathy Strickland, the city's chief deputy clerk.
Chadwick knows a bit about ice, having once owned an ice company in Nantucket, Mass. He also knows how difficult it is to carve the frozen blocks, and Escobar will be hiring a professional to construct the bar. The ice will be delivered next week, Perry said.
"We've always kind of talked about doing something of this nature," Perry said. "Our main goal really is to not only have a presence on the Hyman mall but to generate some vitality."
Escobar, a subterranean nightclub on the mall, first opened its outdoor bar two summers ago. This year, it was joined by a bar operated by Finbarr's Irish Pub, which also has a basement space in the vicinity.
Both bars were physically separated from their parent establishment, but the satellite watering holes proved popular in pleasant weather.
"It was a great place to sit outside on a sunny day and have a cocktail," Perry said.
Escobar plans to open the ice bar daily for a few hours in the afternoon and early evening, serving top-shelf liquor and wine, according to its application with the city - no beer or mixed drinks.
It won't be Aspen's first winter-long ice bar. One was erected outside Willow Creek Bistro at Aspen Highlands in 2009, debuting with the ski area's December opening. The Hotel Jerome attempted an ice bar of its own that year in its courtyard, but the in-house effort at construction failed. Willow Creek had hired outside help for its bar, which featured a mountain scene etched into its front panels, illuminated with colored lights.
"They're not that easy to maintain," Chadwick said. "Hopefully, we found the only shade in the mall to put it."