Look to the locals
Wednesday evening, my husband and I went out for dinner and drinks with some friends. Our group was comprised of six longtime locals and one former valley resident. My husband and I own a house in Glenwood Springs. Another couple in our company own homes in Pitkin Green and Missouri Heights, and we also had a business owner and local elected official in our group.
We began the evening with a drink at the Double Dog Pub and moved on to dinner at the Steak Pit, where we were greeted warmly by the charming and vivacious owner/hostess, Cindy Glowaki. Even though it was nearing nine o’clock, the restaurant was packed. Dinner was fantastic and enjoyed by all. Not ready to end our evening after dinner, we thanked Cindy for a great meal and decided to try the new bar across the street, Social.
Inside the bar was very contemporary and there was good music playing. The seven of us sat down at an empty table to order drinks. A moment later a waiter came to our table, not to take a drink order, but to inform us that the table was reserved for “bottle service only,” and unless we ordered a bottle of something, we couldn’t sit there. I guess seven $15 martinis weren’t good enough; we had to order a $700 bottle of champagne or the like to get a table in that bar. We were all so peeved, we left there in a hurry, and be assured we will not be going back!
My intent here is to make a comparison and a prediction. I predict that the new super-hip and trendy bar Social is not long for this world. Clearly, they are interested in catering to the super-rich, tourist clientele. How many such bars in Aspen have come and gone with the same business model? You can’t treat local people like that and hope to stay in business. By comparison, both the Double Dog and the Steak Pit, locally owned, operated and patronized by locals and tourists alike are very successful establishments, packed with happy customers late in the dinner hour on a Wednesday night. Tourists may come here with deep pockets looking for an ultra-hip place to spend their dollars, but inevitably they ask local people where they should go. Do you think anyone in my group is going to recommend Social to anyone? No way! But we would recommend the Double Dog and the Steak Pit repeatedly and whole-heartedly.
Right now it’s high season, and with record snowfall there are tourists aplenty to fill up all the snooty Aspen bars. But offseason’s coming, and so are less snowy ski-seasons. Locals are the life blood of this community. If businesses plan to have staying power they’d best look to the locals!
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