At the bar: Farewell to our Cooper Street
ASPEN ” On life support for years, Aspen’s venerable dive bar, Cooper Street Pier, breathed it last breath Wednesday night.
At least supposedly. Who knows? We’ve all heard the death rattle before, only to see Cooper Street rise from the ashes and keep serving its loyal, eccentric, hard-drinking patrons.
If the bar is really closed, then that must mean Keith Richards’ liver gave out and a giant asteroid is plummeting toward earth at this very moment.
We wouldn’t be surprised if the place re-opened in two weeks.
If it really is the end, though, it was nice to raise a few cold brews Wednesday night in honor of a tavern that actually stood for something, a place that hung onto its weirdness, its grit, its stale pretzels, while the rest of Aspen succumbed to gentrification.
A place where you could get a pitcher of beer and play three games of pool for less than 20 bucks. A place where spontaneous displays of nudity weren’t out of the ordinary.
One Aspen Times staffer remembered a night when local musician Dan Sheridan played a show and an audience member stripped off all his clothes and stood right in front of the mic stand.
“Nobody thought much of it,” this staffer said.
Another remembered giving up a goal in a heated game of foosball when his attention shifted from the table to a tall, sensuous woman standing just feet away from him who had pulled down her top to show off her goods to the rest of the bar. Of course, the same woman was serving drinks behind the bar Wednesday night.
There were also memories of catching Cindy Crawford eating the famed burger special on a snowy winter afternoon, of hustling tourists at shuffleboard by knowing all the dips in the table, of an impromptu “Beat It” dance-off on the sidewalk after last call and way too many other fuzzy, late nights to remember.
We’ll miss the sunniest, warmest window seat in Aspen. We’ll miss the cheap beer and fried food.
More than that, though, we’ll miss the faces that made up the place, all those folks who weren’t ready to give up on Aspen because a place like Cooper Street continued to survive.
At least until now.
Cheers, Cooper Street. Thanks for all the memories. Thanks for staying weird.
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Stage 1 fire restrictions in Pitkin County start Wednesday, which means no campfires in undeveloped sites, no fireworks and no smoking outside unless it’s in an area cleared of all combustible materials.