Aspen is consistently ranked in ski magazines as having the best ski town nightlife, and for good reason. Party-goers and night hawks have a plethora of unique options, from a casual mixology cocktail or glass of wine or Aspen-made brews to rowdy drinks to match rowdy music, or quick shots in between live music sets at the famed Belly Up Aspen concert venue. There’s a beverage and a scene for every after hours preference in Aspen.
If your evening activities trend towards casual, relaxed and perhaps a little more quiet, then a cocktail− or two− at Justice Snow’s is in order. The establishment, located on the corner of Mill Street and Hyman, next to the Wheeler Opera House, offers a great dinner menu, but the handmade love and care that each mixologist [link?] puts into every signature cocktail is what makes this spot a great night time hang out. The Moscow Mule, served properly in a brass mug, is a local favorite, and if you’re looking for cocktail that will stir your taste buds, heat things up with the Mate Picante, a spicy, freshly muddled concoction. The mixologists also make traditional prohibitionist-era cocktails, like an old-fashioned or a Manhattan.
To mingle with locals and satiate a hankering for strong, locally-made beers head to the Aspen Brewing Company’s Tasting Room on the corner of Hopkins and Monarch Street. Walk up the stairs and inside you’ll likely find live music or a classic ski, snowboard, surf or skate film playing, an assortment of dogs, and their owners with brews in hand. The atmosphere is extremely laid back, but be sure to take this beer seriously. They’re seriously strong, so watch your intake. The Independence Pass Ale (IPA) is among the strongest, but there’s often small batch brews on tap that surpass even the IPA’s 8-percent alcohol content level.
If you’re looking to really let loose, head to one of Aspen’s late night hotspots: Escobar, Eric’s or The Regal. You’ll find a hopping dance party at all three. Eric’s also has a billiards and cigar room, making it a great option for a group who is undecided on their party style. The wild child’s can cut up the rug near the downstairs DJ stand, while the mellower folks can catch up over a game of pool upstairs.
Music heavy weights from all over the world make a pit stop in to perform at Belly Up Aspen. The Belly Up has seen everything from classic acts like BB King, ZZ Top and Lynrd Skynrd to contemporary bands like Thievery Corporation, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Bassnectar, Damien Marley and Nas. Be sure to check the concert calendar online and purchase tickets in advance so you can see your musical heroes perform during your Aspen ski vacation.