How I got too sauced at Social | AspenTimes.com

How I got too sauced at Social

Alison Berkley
Aspen, CO Colorado

Last night I went to the opening night of Social, the new restaurant above Elevation. I’d love to tell you all about it except for one thing: I don’t really remember much.

My friend Denise is one of the partners so it was kind of a big deal. I mean, I am really proud to have a friend who can do some­thing like open a restaurant, as opposed to say, drink five rounds of Michelob at Bent­ley’s in under an hour. Those are the kinds of accomplishments I’m used to witnessing.

Denise was my first friend in Aspen. We met at the hiring clinic for snow­boarding “pros” as they call them, at Snowmass in 2002 and became fast friends. It was one of those timely meetings because we were both in the exact same place in our lives, in our mid-30s and won­dering what exactly we were doing in Aspen about to become snowboarding instructors.

D. loves to tell people we met at “snowboard school,” as if it were interchangeable with high school or even camp. And in a lot of ways, it was. I found great comfort in meet­ing this woman who was even more educated (Notre Dame) and more successful ( big income winner in NYC) than I was, yet she was just as willing to sink to the lowest depths of regression on all fronts. Seriously. It’s a beauti­ful thing.

She ended up going back to New York to work for a few more years and pay off the debt she’d accrued in Aspen. She’d still come visit whenever she could, conducting her fat-salary job from a cell phone and laptop, conducting conference calls as we’d flit around town, unbeknownst to her coworkers.

“This is Denise speaking,” she’d say, her voice all profes­sional-like. “I think that initiative has been transposed to suit a different protocol based on the analysis by Dan’s department.” More eye-rolling, mute button switched back on. “So, what were you saying about that coke whore who confronted you in the bathroom at Jimmy’s?”

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Needless to say I was impressed.

So I wasn’t really that surprised when I got the call that she’s moving back to town to open a new restaurant. She’s smart like that, a savvy businesswoman and investor who’s not afraid to “pull the trigger” (as my brother the real estate mogul likes to say) and dive in head first on big ventures.

I checked out the space as it was being slowly trans­formed, saw the lighting fixtures before they were hung from the ceiling and the chairs before they were painted from brown to purple and bright green. I’d go shoot the breeze with D. and her partner Tommy, who is one of those guys who laughs constantly, like life is just one big long joke. The office had that atmosphere of crunch time, like finals week in college when everyone is totally sleep deprived and strung out from having too much to do and not enough time to do it.

“They should totally make a reality TV show about this,” Tommy said, more laughter. “I mean, the stuff we have to deal with ” you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

Tommy knows what he’s doing, if Elevation is any indi­cation. Lately it’s been the place to be for the 30-something crowd, the bar always packed with those of us who do, on occasion, get tired of drinking Michelob’s at Bentley’s and are looking for a more sophisticated scene that’s still young and hip.

Speaking of young and hip, the big opening night final­ly arrived on Tuesday and I was totally jazzed up and ready to paint one on. I even went to see my girls at Goldie’s and the Kids, where I always inadvertently find at least $1,000 of merchandise I have to have (Nanshee, please hide that cashmere sweater dress for me! Please! I am begging you!). The Goldie’s girls are great and they know how to dress lit­tle spoiled blonde girls from Connecticut in beautiful clothes. I got a fabulous black pleather bolero jacket and ribbed cotton tank with silver piping just for the occasion. I even skipped my yoga class so I could get ready at home and be at my squeaky-clean best. Of course John and I went to Bentley’s first, agreeing that it’s good to start off a night of new with something more familiar.

I would love to tell you all about Social, about how good the food was and how great the space is, and how hot the wait staff is, and how extensive and impressive the wine list is, but I can’t.

I don’t really remember much about it, except for the fact that the bartender was pouring very stiff drinks.

I can tell you what I do know: The food is “global tapas,” smaller shared plates with dishes from all different parts of the world. I vaguely remember some fondue and a carpac­cio dish, but that came out right before I crawled out of the booth because I was so dizzy I couldn’t sit there for another minute. I remember the dark, cozy bar, the funky cool bar glasses our drinks were served in, and the ultra-modern chandeliers I’d seen in the back office before they were hung. “It’s totally going to be the hippest new bar, a place to hang out when you feel too old for the frat boy scene at Eric’s,” my friend Dina said.

I guess in that regard, not remembering much about the experience is the ultimate Aspen compliment, sort of like burping after a meal or breaking plates like they do in Greece. It’ll make every experience there seem new all over again, you know, give me something to look forward to.

Congrats to Tommy and Denise, to whom I apparently lifted my glass a few too many times last night. Here’s to Social.

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