Bad Harriet reimagined
Slip through the doors of the historic Aspen Times building on Main Street, take a flight of stairs subterranean and you’ll find yourself transported to a speakeasy that feels as if it’s from another time. Welcome to Bad Harriet.
Run by the Hotel Jerome team, Bad Harriet first opened in 2019, but pandemic things got the best of the small bar and it had been closed for about a year before reopening to the public on Dec. 18 with a bit of an update.
The newly reimagined concept sticks with the art deco design – geometric, sleek metallic accents, symmetrical layout, bold patterns, etc. – but the cozy space somehow feels more welcoming and intimate, less formal than its first iteration.
This comfortable vibe could be attributed to the fact that the lighting is warmer and you can actually see all the details of the space or it could also have something to do with the friendly and attentive staff, dressed to the nines in gold and black and excited to be dishing out well themed drinks and light bites.
The drink menu has also been revamped and is now separated into three parts: Class, a collection of classic cocktails such as a martini for two or a Sazerac; Power, cocktails inspired by strong women throughout history, for example the Khalo made with Madre Mezcal Espadin, apple cider, lemon, Lalo Blanco Tequila, lime and maple; and Sins, spirit forward drinks that are more playful and allow the bartenders to experiment and show off their flavor mixing prowess.
During my time spent in Bad Harriet, my drinking partner and I enjoyed a Vesper – a martini made from gin, vodka and Lillet Blanc – to start the evening off, sort of like an amouage bouche in drink form. It was clean and crisp, poured at the table from a shaker into matching glasses from the 1950s that added to the speakeasy feel of the space.
No detail was overlooked at Bad Harriet, including the glassware, which is drink-specific and sourced by Patrick Davila, the general manager of the Hotel Jerome.
“Most serving pieces were purchased via auctions and antique houses,” Davila said. “I spent the past 3 months searching for unique items dating back to 1881 (when The Aspen Times building opened) to complete the collection. It is an ongoing process as we are aware that ultimately, they are made out of glass.
“One of my favorites is the Cougar Mixing Glass and glasses dating back to 1931. If you are lucky, the Vesper may be served in that set,” he said.
One of the best pieces of glassware we received was a colorful ceramic blowfish sourced from Hawaii and filled to the brim with a tiki classic the painkiller.
Once the Vesper was drained we ordered a Supreme – Monkey 47 Gin, Campari, Domaine de Canton, Carpano Antica and Oranges Ameres – from the Power lineup and the Ode to Maracovaldo – Green Chartreuses, Velvet Falernum, pineapple and lime – from the Sins section.
Then came “Victor,” which is not a person but rather a treat trolley that appears throughout the night and rolls up to your seat with a rotating selection of treats from the chef.
330 E. Main Street, in the old Aspen Times building
Wednesday to Sunday, 6p.m. to 1 a.m.
To accompany our libations we had bite-sized caviar cream puffs, herbed Marcona almonds with local Aspen honey (my personal favorite) and mini macrons.
Prices for the treats range from $15 to $55 and are available a-la-carte as well as included in the Soiree pricing.
The Soiree is a $145 seating option at Bad Harriet that provides a “multi-course cocktail testing menu where our guests leave themselves in the hands of our Mixology team as they craft a progressive tasting menu consisting of six to seven courses,” Davila said.
From the bite-sized details to the curated cocktail menu, every piece of the Bad Harriet experience is well thought out and designed to be a place for people to escape to and become immersed in the space and its storytelling.
New Year’s Eve at Bad Harriet has two seatings: the East Coast, for those that want to celebrate on the earlier side, ringing in the new year at 10 p.m. (midnight on the East Coast) and the Mountain Revelry, which toasts to the New Year at midnight mountain time.
While NYE at Bad Harriet is sold out, you can join a wait list for the event at http://www.exploretock.com/hotel-jerome/waitlist?experienceId=300981 or check out a similar experience at the Living Room at the Hotel Jerome.