Bar Talk: Catching Last Chair in Snowmass
Wildwood Snowmass, 40 Elbert Lane, Snowmass Village
Hours: 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The “restaurant and beer hall” will remain open in the offseason, offering a 20% locals-only discount daily and $2 select pints on Tuesdays.
It’s last call for lift-served skiing at Snowmass Ski Area this weekend, so it’s only fitting to spend this Bar Talk column saying cheers to Snowmass from Last Chair.
Located in the newly revamped Wildwood Snowmass, Last Chair is unfussy by design, on its website it bills itself as “A Cool Snowmass Restaurant & Beer Hall,” and like its bar predecessor it seems to cater to and be appreciated by locals.
For my first stop at Last Chair, I was joined by fellow ATW columnist Kaya Williams. We decided to tag-team our time at Last Chair, making our own pairing menu to discover what drink compliments which food item best, bringing out flavors rather than masking them.
If you’re looking for all the delicious details on the crave-worthy food we ate, read Kaya’s review here, which as a bonus artfully weaves in a “Scarface” and “When Harry Met Sally” reference.
The drink menu is straightforward and for the winter (and spring offseason) is focused on the easy-drinking classics.
Lynn Wernert, the lead bartender at Last Char and a familiar face to anyone who has spent time at the Wildwood as she’s been keeping the drinks flowing there for over 10 years, said the new ownership group kept the drink list purposefully simple in its opening season. But she has big plans for the summer menu, which could include infused tequilas and house-made Sangria.
But for now there are eight cocktails to choose from, although according to Wernert, beer is the libation of choice at Last Chair.
I chose to start the meal off with a cocktail before moving to a pint – isn’t the college saying “liquor before beer, you’re in the clear …” – and ordered the Late To The Party, which accurately describes me most of the time, made with Sipsmith Gin, ginger liqueur, lemon, simple syrup and Angostura Bitters.
Kaya decided to have her first-ever Old Fashioned (Last Chair makes the classic with Jim Beam Rye), and as it turned out, we picked perfectly for the first “pairing” of the evening.
The Late To The Party is my drink of choice to go with the goat cheese and fig bruschetta topped with crispy prosciutto. Both were spring appropriate, light and fresh with the cocktail flavor heavy on the citrus from the lemon, but not in a mouth-puckering way (likely due to the ginger and bitters balancing out the sour and leaving behind a bright citrus flavor).
If my first round was all spring, Kaya’s was decidedly winter. The richness of her Old Fashioned complimented the warmth of the soft pretzel with smoked gouda and beer fondue and she immediately used words like “old world,” when describing how the two worked together.
I took direction from Wernert when deciding on the main dish pairing and went with a Breckenridge Brewery Vanilla Porter as a compliment to the Nashville hot chicken sandwich.
The sweetness of the vanilla didn’t erase the light spice from the chicken but rather partnered with it, and the porter was rich without being heavy. It was an easy pairing that I would order any time and be completely satisfied (did I mention the portion sizes were large?!).
Kaya picked the Impossible burger, and if she didn’t have plenty of Old Fashioned left, would have been best enjoyed with the Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze, an IPA from New Belgium Brewing.
To round out the night, we enjoyed an ice cream sundae, which looked like it was made in a classic 1950s soda shop, that went perfectly with the Breckenridge porter. Honestly. I’m a sucker for porters and milk stouts with ice cream, trust me, it’s the correct combo.
Luckily, while we’re saying goodbye to skiing in Snowmass, it’s not last call for Last Chair. The “restaurant and beer hall” will remain open in the offseason, offering a 20% locals-only discount daily and $2 select pints on Tuesdays.