Chicago bar expands in Aspen |

Chicago bar expands in Aspen

Janet Urquhart

Hankering for a jamocha almond fudge martini?

The concoction is one of a multitude of drinks available at Aspen’s newest upscale watering hole, Harry’s Velvet Room.

The establishment opened quietly last Friday in the space formerly occupied by Thai-Tini at 316 E. Hopkins Ave.

In less than a week, owner Dion Antic of Chicago and his staff converted the former Thai restaurant (the “Tini” referred to its martini menu) into Harry’s Velvet Room, a lounge-style restaurant/bar featuring plush leather couches, heavy wooden tables, antiques, a new gold-leaf bar and, of course, plush velvet curtains.

“We came in on a Sunday and opened on a Friday,” said Jo Batten, general manager. “I wasn’t sure if five days was going to be plausible or not.”

The bar’s extensive drink menu and light fare emulate the original Harry’s Velvet Room in Chicago, which has operated for about four years, according to Batten.

Customers can choose from 30 martinis, from the classics to such specialities as the Betel Nut, made with Bacardi, Frangelico and pineapple, or the Sophisticate – Ketel One and a splash of Glenkinchie scotch.

Then there’s the Chocolate, made with Finlandia vodka, Godiva and Godiva white chocolate. “It’s like a decadent milkshake – a number of them are that way,” Batten said.

And there’s that Jamocha Almond Fudge martini – Stolichnaya Kafya vodka, Godiva cappuccino and Amaretto. “Who wouldn’t want to try one?” she said.

Harry’s in Chicago is best known for its martinis and Champagne selection. Among its most popular martinis, said Batten, is the Mustang, made with Stolichnaya raspberry vodka, Chambord and Champagne.

The drink menu also offers a variety of vodkas, gins, rums, bourbons, whiskeys, scotches and liqueurs. Wines, ports, cognacs, Champagnes and coffees round out the list.

Food offerings include hot dishes like porcini mushroom risotto and Maine crab cake; cold dishes like caviar, smoked chicken Caesar salad and an exotic fruit plate; and dessert items like white chocolate cheesecake and roasted banana crme brle.

The restaurant won’t be offering full meals, but much of the fare is more substantial than the typical appetizers, Batten said. “They are foods you can eat and go to bed in an hour and not feel miserable,” she said.

Food will be served until 1 a.m., she added.

Thai-Tini, which opened in the small Victorian building last January, did not last quite a year. The space was the original home of the Howling Wolf night club.

The small stage at the former club has been dubbed the “dome room” in the latest reincarnation of the establishment. A small, gold-leafed dome holds a chandelier over the semiprivate table that now occupies the former stage.

And there’s that Jamocha Almond Fudge martini – Stolichnaya Kafya vodka, Godiva cappuccino and Amaretto.

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