Getting to the good times in Aspen | AspenTimes.com
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Getting to the good times in Aspen

Andy Stonehouse

Some say the summertime’s the best time to be enjoying yourself in Aspen’s world-renowned nightlife arena. With things a little more laid-back than during the midst of ski season and action abounding on local patios, the only tough decision is deciding where you’re going to hole up for the evening. Here’s a few suggestions:

A good place to start on an afternoon or evening out, Bentley’s historic surroundings ” located on the front corner of the Wheeler Opera House, no less ” attract a steady crowd of locals. Great, inexpensive food (try the Three Cheese Grilled Cheese) and quality libations (Michelob draft is always on special) make it a fun destination; picture windows looking out on the action on Mill and Hyman Streets will let you know what to expect in the hours ahead.

Aspen’s oldest bar and restaurant is also one of its friendliest, with cozy seating, good drinks and an affordable menu supplementing the local-friendly atmosphere. Take a look around and you’ll understand the history at work (the bar was once frequented by the Kennedy clan; other photos will give you an interesting look at Aspen’s not-so-distant past). Daily happy hour specials.

Imagine yourself wandering into a ski lodge in some European version of the future and you’ll understand the directions of the Sky Hotel’s fun hotspot. A stylized bar and stylized drinks are complemented by an inviting atmosphere featuring comfortable, contemporary furniture, wide-screen TVs and fireplaces. Summertime’s also a great time to head out to 39 Degrees’ large poolside patio.

Local workers and tourists alike rub elbows at the J-Bar, a busy, comfortable and inviting watering hole located inside Aspen’s posh, historically renovated Jerome Hotel. Tilt a pint of draft, sample the daily food specials, watch the game or gorge yourself on free pretzels; you’ll meet an interesting cross-section of folks and have some good times.

Down and dirty good times are the routine at the rowdy Cooper St. Pier, a landlocked locals’ institution. Still the home of some of the valley’s most inexpensive libations (pints and pitchers of Coors for non-ski town prices), the bar is a great destination for an affordable lunch or a busy evening with your friends ” play shuffleboard or head upstairs to shoot some pool, or try to find a spot on the small patio.

A veritable multiplex of entertainment, Eric’s offers an unsurpassable swank Cigar Bar, the valley’s finest pool shooting at Aspen Billiards, great Mexican dining and drinking at Su Casa and sophisticated cocktails at Eric’s proper. All four subterranean rooms are interconnected and make for some great nightlife circuit training; there’s substantial outdoor patio space to enjoy the evening while you decide what to do next.

Fine, fun dining on one side and a happening bar and lounge area on the other, Little Annie’s is still home to what is undeniably the best deal in all of ski-land ” a shot and a mug of draft are only $2.75. Daily dining specials and superb ribs, burgers, steaks and more; settle into one of the comfortable spots at the bar and enjoy yourself in a funky, friendly atmosphere.


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