Aspen’s local culture on the skids |

Aspen’s local culture on the skids

The “local” culture has changed since COVID-19. The folks who live and work in Aspen can no longer afford to eat in most local restaurants. The best of them closed (Bamboo Bear). We don’t play in our backyard anymore since hiking or biking to Maroon Bells is packed to the point of dangerous.

The other big change is the concerts. Belly Up has raised their prices and their service charge. If you really want to see a particular show, plan on spending at least $200 plus a service charge equivalent to part of your bar tab.

Here are some options: You pre-game. You order to-go from Red Mountain Grill, Home Team BBQ, Hickory House or NY Pizza and slam a few beverages with several shots. By the time you get to Belly Up, you have a good buzz so order a beer with a water chaser. You eliminated a huge bar tab along with the tip. (So much for supporting our local waitresses and bartenders).

Next best thing? Check out Denver venues, Bluebird, Ogden, etc.

Here’s the rundown: Twenty One Pilots ticket, $50 each, downtown five-star hotel (more the merrier) maybe $60 each including free garage valet parking (sign up for hotel rewards), fabulous restaurant choices downtown Denver with meals under $20, Uber to venue $12 to $20. Drinks anyone? Maybe $4 for a beer and $6 for a mixed drink. The most refreshing part? Partying with down-to-earth concert goers (dressed like you) and no drunk entitlement trying to dance on the tables.

You can do an I-70 corridor pick up of friends on the way and leave Denver early coming back to hit the fresh powder slopes (Epic Pass). It’a win-win, and it’s becoming my new normal. Belly Up, it was fun while it lasted.

Lanie Sandoval


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