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Get Your Nightcap On: Best Ski Town Hotel Bars

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Apres ski season may be just about over, but that doesn't mean the concept has to hibernate until next winter. One of the great things about ski town culture is that it's always appropriate to have a cold one after a day well-spent. While Curbed Ski loves its dive bars and distilleries, we're also partial to a hotel with a swank cocktail lounge, vast draft selection, or epic wine list (we especially love when we can get all three in one place).

The word is out that Colorado is killing it in the craft distillery scene, and it's already the epicenter of craft brewing (all due respect, PNW). That's why you'll see so many CO hotels on this list. But we've also got hopping hotel scenes from Tahoe to Taos, so get ready for the DL on the best bars to belly up to, whether you're an overnight guest or not.

Note: The bars are listed based on geography, not in any particular ranking. Did we leave out your fave hotel watering hole? Send us an email or let us know in the comments.


· Hotels Week 2014 [Curbed Ski Archives]
· Favorite Ski Town Hangover Cures [Curbed Ski]
·The Best Ski Town Bloody Mary's [Curbed Ski]

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Moody's Bistro Bar & Beats

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Housed in an 1873 hotel (see our “Best Ski Town Budget Hotels”), Moody’s is one of Truckee’s top dining spots. The modernized, vaguely Victorian bar is equally popular, and famed for its live jazz acts. Order up a drink and some playful, American bistro fare (locally-sourced whenever possible), and get hip to the beat.

Duchin Lounge

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This sultry, upscale lobby venue in the Sun Valley Lodge is a happy hour hot spot, but it’s always hopping thanks to live music and seasonal drink specials (hot toddies and the Sun Valley Margarita are faves). Snack on Brie en Croute or the “Loaded Rueben Potato Skins” lest you end up loaded yourself. Hint: make sure to check out the hotel's photos and memorabilia, this place is a mecca for ski history buffs.

J-Bar at Hotel Jerome

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The history alone at this place is reason to visit. Since 1889, the Hotel Jerome has been one of Aspen’s most prominent social locales- it’s still a fave amongst celebs, but the scene is as laid-back as ski towns get. The masculine, Victorian (dark wood, crystal chandeliers, tiled floors) atmosphere still retains original Old West trappings like the ornately-carved backbar, stamped ceiling, and intricate crown moldings. Grab a leather barstool at the Chinoiserie Chippendale bar or one of the high-topped tables, and order up something stiff. Bonus: J-Bar serves Aspen’s best burger.

Chefs Club by FOOD & WINE

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A funky, slightly Alice in Wonderlandish, vintage-mod décor hints at what you’ll find on the whimsical seasonal bar menu at this innovative concept restaurant located in the St. Regis Aspen. Award-winning bar director/mixology wünderkind Anthony Bohlinger creates cocktails that are intelligent, playful, and make the most of the kitchen: look for housemade concoctions featuring everything from milk jam and pine syrup to pickled fig brine.

element 47

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The Little Nell has a long history of acclaim when it comes to its wine list and turning out Master Sommeliers (10 to be exact, more than any other establishment in North America; current wine director Carlton McCoy is part of the reason the Nell just got a James Beard nom for Best Wine Program). If the thought of a 10,000-bottle wine cellar with its own tasting room doesn’t do it for you, then let the bar at signature restaurant Element 47 draw you in. Despite the high-rolling patrons, ripped jeans-wearing dirtbags and dogs are also welcome at the laid-back, modern minimalist bar. The menu features signature cocktails, wines by the glass, and beer (the Nell is part of the Colorado Proud program, which highlights the state’s growers and craft foods- in this instance, distilleries and breweries). Tasty- if pricey- bar snacks add to the appeal. Note: during holidays and festivals, this place rocks until last call.

New Sheridan Hotel & Chop House

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Not to be confused with the adjacent New Sheridan Bar (aka “The Wrinkle Room,” in local parlance), the actual hotel- a 117-year-old, carefully preserved-and-restored Victorian institution- has two appealing bars: The intimate Parlor, which provides a fish-bowl view of passerby on Colorado Ave, and the happening Chop House bar. The latter serves up bracingly strong drinks, and solid American steakhouse fare.

The Adobe Bar

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Looking for the action in sleepy Taos? You’ll find it at the Taos Inn, what locals refer to as the town’s “living room.” Nightly live music, no cover charges, a distinct Northern New Mexican décor and vibe, and a blend of clientele best-described as “multi-sociological” make this a prime people-watching spot. Grab a Cowboy Buddha margarita (Herradura Silver, Cointreau, lime juice) and a seat at the bar or patio, and enjoy the show.

Moody's Bistro Bar & Beats

Housed in an 1873 hotel (see our “Best Ski Town Budget Hotels”), Moody’s is one of Truckee’s top dining spots. The modernized, vaguely Victorian bar is equally popular, and famed for its live jazz acts. Order up a drink and some playful, American bistro fare (locally-sourced whenever possible), and get hip to the beat.

Duchin Lounge

This sultry, upscale lobby venue in the Sun Valley Lodge is a happy hour hot spot, but it’s always hopping thanks to live music and seasonal drink specials (hot toddies and the Sun Valley Margarita are faves). Snack on Brie en Croute or the “Loaded Rueben Potato Skins” lest you end up loaded yourself. Hint: make sure to check out the hotel's photos and memorabilia, this place is a mecca for ski history buffs.

J-Bar at Hotel Jerome

The history alone at this place is reason to visit. Since 1889, the Hotel Jerome has been one of Aspen’s most prominent social locales- it’s still a fave amongst celebs, but the scene is as laid-back as ski towns get. The masculine, Victorian (dark wood, crystal chandeliers, tiled floors) atmosphere still retains original Old West trappings like the ornately-carved backbar, stamped ceiling, and intricate crown moldings. Grab a leather barstool at the Chinoiserie Chippendale bar or one of the high-topped tables, and order up something stiff. Bonus: J-Bar serves Aspen’s best burger.

Chefs Club by FOOD & WINE

A funky, slightly Alice in Wonderlandish, vintage-mod décor hints at what you’ll find on the whimsical seasonal bar menu at this innovative concept restaurant located in the St. Regis Aspen. Award-winning bar director/mixology wünderkind Anthony Bohlinger creates cocktails that are intelligent, playful, and make the most of the kitchen: look for housemade concoctions featuring everything from milk jam and pine syrup to pickled fig brine.

element 47

The Little Nell has a long history of acclaim when it comes to its wine list and turning out Master Sommeliers (10 to be exact, more than any other establishment in North America; current wine director Carlton McCoy is part of the reason the Nell just got a James Beard nom for Best Wine Program). If the thought of a 10,000-bottle wine cellar with its own tasting room doesn’t do it for you, then let the bar at signature restaurant Element 47 draw you in. Despite the high-rolling patrons, ripped jeans-wearing dirtbags and dogs are also welcome at the laid-back, modern minimalist bar. The menu features signature cocktails, wines by the glass, and beer (the Nell is part of the Colorado Proud program, which highlights the state’s growers and craft foods- in this instance, distilleries and breweries). Tasty- if pricey- bar snacks add to the appeal. Note: during holidays and festivals, this place rocks until last call.

New Sheridan Hotel & Chop House

Not to be confused with the adjacent New Sheridan Bar (aka “The Wrinkle Room,” in local parlance), the actual hotel- a 117-year-old, carefully preserved-and-restored Victorian institution- has two appealing bars: The intimate Parlor, which provides a fish-bowl view of passerby on Colorado Ave, and the happening Chop House bar. The latter serves up bracingly strong drinks, and solid American steakhouse fare.

The Adobe Bar

Looking for the action in sleepy Taos? You’ll find it at the Taos Inn, what locals refer to as the town’s “living room.” Nightly live music, no cover charges, a distinct Northern New Mexican décor and vibe, and a blend of clientele best-described as “multi-sociological” make this a prime people-watching spot. Grab a Cowboy Buddha margarita (Herradura Silver, Cointreau, lime juice) and a seat at the bar or patio, and enjoy the show.