The no-pass guide to Food & Wine weekend

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times
Food & Wine patrons enjoy a perfect summer evening overlooking Aspen Mountain on the patio of Ajax Tavern.
Jeremy Swanson/Courtesy photo |

No pass to the Food & Wine Classic? No problem.

One of the many wonderful things about Aspen is that you usually don’t need an invitation to partake in and enjoy the many wonderful events that pass through town.

Food & Wine is no exception to this, and with a three-day festival pass that costs more than a season ski pass to all four mountains, it’s safe to assume that most Aspen locals select the latter.

The good news is that there’s always something going on in Aspen, so to help get you started this weekend, below are just a few Food & Wine happenings that are open to anyone.

And don’t let this list serve as an all-inclusive guide — countless stores, art galleries, restaurants, bars and more will throw their own impromptu celebrations throughout the weekend.



Chair 9 bar and lounge at The Little Nell: The Champagne Party from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Celebrate Thirsty Thursday and welcome Food & Wine properly, aka with bubbles by the glass (or bottle) and Southern-fried chicken by the bucket.

The Nell is no stranger to throwing a Food & Wine kickoff party on the eve of the festival, but what’s new this year is that the party is open to everyone — not just industry guests like in previous years.

A cash bar will sell high-end champagne selections by the bottle and glass. DJ Mayfly and electric violinist Kat V will provide the entertainment for the night.


Creperie du Village: St. Tropez-themed party from 4 p.m. until close.

Aspen’s only French Alpine bistro is celebrating not only Food & Wine this weekend but also the arrival of a new chef.

Creperie owner Raphael Derly said rose will flow at the French restaurant all weekend, along with appetizers and “extremely generous” pours. Rose will also be 50 percent off from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The celebration is open to the public.

Meat & Cheese Restaurant: Pig roast from 11:30 a.m. until supplies run out.

Meat & Cheese will roast a 215-pound pig over the course of Friday and Saturday as part of a Food & Wine celebration that’s open to the public.

The restaurant also will serve slaw dressed in a Thai peanut sauce and Hawaiian rolls, along with Suerte tequila cocktails and beer from the nano-brewery Idyllwild. The pulled pork plate with sides is $18, and drink prices will vary.


Creperie du Village: St. Tropez-themed party from open until close.

Fifty percent off rose from 4 to 6 p.m. See Friday event for more details.

Meat & Cheese Restaurant: Pig roast from 11:30 a.m. until supplies run out.

Pig roast and drinks. See Friday event for more details.

39 Degrees lounge and pool bar at the Sky Hotel: “No Badges Required” party from 2 to 9 p.m.

The name of this one speaks for itself. 39 Degrees’ “No Badges Required” party is open to the public and will offer music, bites, drinks and tastings by Fortaleza Tequila, Belvedere Vodka, Glenmorangie Scotch and Mule 2.0. The food will be a discounted selection of the lounge’s summer menu. Colorado-based DJ Echo Dafunk will begin spinning tracks in the afternoon.

Chair 9 bar and lounge at The Little Nell: “Shaken Not Stirred” martini party from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Pace yourself with carbs, and wash ’em down with liquor. The Nell will offer a New York-style bagel bar (at $3 per bagel) and pastrami sandwiches along with Belvedere vodka specials at its party Saturday night. An a la carte menu and cash bar also will be available. Electric violinist Kat V and DJ Folami will perform into the wee hours of the morning.


Justice Snow’s: Stranahan whiskey tasting from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The American restaurant and bar will host a whiskey tasting provided by Stranahan whiskey. Appetizers also will be passed.