Last call at Aspen’s Cooper Street Pier
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” When a bar offers up half-priced drinks and food, it generally means it is trying to drum up some business on an otherwise slow night. But for the folks who frequented Cooper Street Pier on Wednesday, the offer marked the end for the local watering hole that had endeared itself to Aspen’s working class.
“I’ve been coming here for 10 years and two months. And I’ll miss it a lot,” said Doug Wiggins, 39, of Aspen, who moved to town in 1998.
He said there just isn’t anything like Cooper Street Pier in Aspen. The bar, which occupied two floors of a building in the 500 block of its namesake street, was reminiscent of an earlier era.
It was dark yet cozy, and filled with character. The upstairs featured a smaller bar and multiple pool tables along with one that had been converted for ping-pong. There was also a cigarette machine that looked like it was straight out of Hollywood casting.
No cigarette girls here, though. And the carpeted stairs had definitely seen better days. But it didn’t seem to matter to a group of folks who gathered upstairs to drink a few beers and hang out one last time.
“I can’t wait until they knock this place to the ground and turn it into a nice boutique, so I can come in and use their marble-tiled bathroom,” said 40-year-old Stacy Cagle of Aspen, as he watch some pals play ping-pong.
Later, he moved downstairs where people began to gather around the main bar. Some, including Cagle, danced. Others drank. Some people did both. It was almost as though they were celebrating the passing of an old friend.
Cooper Street Pier’s days seemed to be numbered in late May. That is when landlord Joshua Saslove filed a lawsuit against its owners, Siamese Basil LLC, claiming that the rent on the bar and a neighboring restaurant space hadn’t been paid.
But Cooper Street Pier survived ” at least until this week.
It was for nonpayment of rent that Cooper Street Pier was losing its space.
“They have not paid their rent in four months,” Saslove said. “We have tried to be as cooperative as possible.”
He also said Siamese Basil was in arrears on its utility bills, although that was a separate issue apart from the rent.
While the closure of Cooper Street Pier marks the end for locals such as Wiggins and Cagle, who frequented the bar, it also is a new beginning for some.
Saslove and his business partners plan to redevelop the property. The existing structure is to be demolished, and the property is to be developed into a mixed-use building. Saslove said the new building would also have a restaurant and bar element.
The planned redevelopment stems from a lawsuit filed by Saslove and his partners.
The group sued the city of Aspen after a subdivision request was denied by the City Council.
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Bluebird skies, spring-like temperatures and a few inches of snow from Monday night’s storm helped Snowmass skiers and snowboarders cruise into the season Wednesday for opening day.