Aspen’s Best Inside
September 1, 2006
Last year we warned D&E to beware, “Aspen Sports and Pomeroy Sports are on your tail.” And, lo and behold, we were right. Pomeroy Sports is top dog when it comes to best ski shop, with Aspen Sports trailing by just two votes. Could be the service, maybe the location, but apparently these are the places to buy your gear, rent your gear and learn about your gear. (D&E, it should be noted, all but fell off the face of the Earth, according to voters.)
It’s unanimous. Every voter who registered an opinion on Aspen’s best music venue pulled the metaphoric lever for Belly Up, Michael Goldberg’s stunning rock – and bluegrass, reggae, jazz and hip-hop – palace. And why not? In the middle of it second year, Belly Up has earned a reputation as the place to see big names in a small space. B.B. King, Joe Cocker, Dwight Yoakam and Kris Kristofferson all made appearances – in a span of nine days last month. The club aims to please all tastes with regular doses of up-and-coming bands, and cutting-edge styles that never bothered with Aspen in the past. Throw in the no-smoking policy, a comfortable but not glitzy room, Goldberg’s gallery of photographs, a welcoming vibe, and the best sound system imaginable, Belly Up is easily the best of Aspen – and one of the finest music clubs you’ll find anywhere.
Aspen knows its booze. And apparently, Aspen knows who knows his booze: Gary Plumley. Once again, Plumley’s Of Grape & Grain was voted town’s top liquor store with 26 votes. Speaking from experience, we’d have to say the reason is Plumley’s, and his staff’s, knack for picking just the right wine at the right price. And while the Grog Shop pulled down second place, with Carl’s and Jimbo’s (in Basalt) tied for third, we think there are times that the best liquor store is the closest one (and when we finished tallying all these results, it was one of those times …).
There’s a lot to say about Lather Salon, the place Aspen goes for the best haircut. Owner Jeff Novak prides himself on keeping a serene atmosphere, full of candles and lounge music for instant relaxation when you walk in the door, rather than haughty attitude. Lather’s mostly-female staff (minus Novak) range in age and personality, so it’s easy to find a stylist who knows the latest gossip or, if you prefer, stays silent while you chill out. You can’t go wrong – Novak is picky about getting stylists with the proper training and style who fit into his vision. And if you’re looking for hair removal, Lather’s waxer, Nikki, is becoming a legend in town for making people smoother.Lather got the vast majority of votes in this category, with Salon Tulio in second place, and Ulibarri’s and Hair Brainz tying for third.