Beckwith: Aspen’s ganja getaway
February 27, 2018
Aspen has a serious problem to address. It's a conundrum I'm forced to deal with when I moonlight as a front desk attendant on the weekends. (That's right. Two jobs. You think I'm out here in Aspen hustling backward? Please.) Because I'm so approachable — or due to my general mountain appearance — I'm often asked, "Where's a good place to smoke weed?"
It's a legitimate question. We don't allow smoking in any of our units so technically there isn't a place to indulge legally, unless you know someone with a private residence. My typical answer is to tell them to take it to the streets guerilla style like you're back in high school and everything you do is a secret from your parents.
It's terrible advice. They're just going to end up driving around Snowmass listening to Kanye's "The College Dropout" on repeat and spending the rest of their money on Taster's pizza. I've seen it too many times.
Denver just approved its first pot club. It's called the Coffee Joint and it sounds like amateur hour. It's BYOB, aka bring your own bud, and they sell snacks, coffee and probably some sort of "Make Your Own Hemp Necklace" books/materials to round out the full stereotype. I'd rather do the alternative and cruise around to "Illmatic" for the 30 millionth time than hang out with a bunch of people who recently discovered "Dazed and Confused."
What Aspen needs, like anything else that's built is this city, is a different kind of weed club, a more sophisticated place where herb is a perfect accompaniment to the surroundings and not the primary focus. We're classy degenerates out here.
First off, this isn't an opium den. Weed isn't some Class I drug that forces you to injure yourself to cop another subscription like opioids. (Wait, are opioids a Class I drug? No? Really? OK then.) There will be no "cool parents who overlook you smoking weed in the basement" vibes. The place should be well lit with plenty of mountain views, windows and outdoor space. Ideally there's a fire pit to zone out to, as well.
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One thing you should know about my hypothetical weed bar is it's hypothetical so I don't have to conform to any stupid rules. That said, there would be a full bar with taps. I'm not trying to give anyone the spins but cottonmouth has to be cured and an appetite has to get worked up somehow.
For food, I'm not doing any entrees or anything supremely filling. It's not about going for the quick kill; it's all about the slow, gradual bleed out. Stoners will snack for hours. Chips and dip, wings, nachos, sliders, side salads, you name it, if it's not going to put you to sleep, we're serving it. Barbecue, pizza, pasta and all those gut bombs that will leave people sleeping and not smoking will be prohibited.
Speaking of 86ed items, I'm not doing any edibles or teas or dabs. Concoctions that people don't know how to ration are not welcome. I don't want a bunch of slow-reacting clowns wielding blowtorches; likewise for hookahs because they're too much of a production. Joints, blunts and some nice glass pieces will be available with a deposit for glass akin to the system required to drink a das boot at a German bar.
The seating will be crucial. I want comfort but not couches, sturdy-but-not-too-stiff chairs. I'm thinking low, leather lounge chairs with four tops perfect for playing cards. Games and activities are a must. As I mentioned earlier, you have to keep the weed heads active. Conversations are nice but I don't need a bunch of guys discussing philosophy while sitting on the mic, not smoking product. Oh, you read Goethe once? Cool, man, now pass the joint.
Music and entertainment would be key as they are crucial factors to keeping the daily stoner satisfied. When you're dealing with grown adults who have the attention span of a 5-year-old, pleasing noises and visuals are the equivalent of "Dora the Explorer." We wouldn't play any jam bands, Pink Floyd or STS9. Pretty much all trance-inducing tunes will be outlawed. Quick hits of reggae mixed with jazz- and funk-influenced hip-hop would keep the energy high without becoming Bootsies but with bongs.
As for entertainment, sports, ski porn, live lounge music (nothing too abrasive or intrusive) and a few inclusive arcade games sounds like Chuck E. Cheese for adults.
The exact reaction I want from people is my initial reaction upon visiting Family Fun Center, an above-average amusement complex in Omaha, for the first time: "Dad, I want to stay here forever!"
It would be a one-stop-shop for stoners. Or more like a One-Shop-Stop. Hey, that sounds like a good name …
Sean Beckwith is a copy editor for The Aspen Times. Email him at email@example.com.