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The Very Best Cocktail, Coffee, & Food Spots, According to Stylish Aspen Locals

Eat, sip, repeat.

City Guide
aspen city guide

Aspen has long been a sought-after winter destination positioned a mere 8,000 feet in elevation in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. But the draw goes well beyond the town's world-class skiing and rejuvenating alpine setting. While Aspen indeed boasts a similarly small-town, historically significant charm like any other mountain village, a decided tone of luxury sets it far apart. The sheer number of high-end designer stores that nearly rivals Madison Avenue is one differentiating factor—Aspen has it all, from Gucci and Dior to Prada and Balenciaga. Plus, Kemo Sabe—an upscale boutique offering cult-loved western wear for men and women, including signature customizable hats and vintage belt buckles.

World-class hotels and an esteemed art scene are other distinguishing factors. From the historic Hotel Jerome and iconic St. Regis to The Little Nell and W Hotel—both nestled at the base of Aspen Mountain with expectedly breathtaking views—decadent stays, dining experiences, spa treatments, and bar scenes are deeply woven into the culture. As are the many fine art galleries and architecturally stunning Aspen Art Museum, where you'll witness contemporary exhibitions including sculptures, painting, multimedia installations, and electronic media. Not to miss is the museum's striking rooftop cafe, SO, where you can enjoy lunch, sweet treats, and imbibe in a glass of wine while taking in more art and expansive Aspen mountain views. Also, The Store—a not-so-average souvenir shop by American artist Jonathan Berger, featuring more than 350 items from decorative objects like textiles, ceramics, and glassware to clothing and jewelry, and, of course, artwork, inspired primarily by his first-hand experiences working and shopping in downtown New York in the 1990s.

But, perhaps most compelling is Aspen's incredibly posh food, coffee, and cocktail scene. From quick and casual spots to fine dining restaurants spanning French, Pan-American, Japanese omakase, and Roman cuisines, to name a few, these local gems boast premier dining experiences akin to those found internationally in the world's most dynamic cities. But how to navigate an itinerary of decadent meals, sips, and caffeine boosts? Take a resident's word—there's nothing better than discovering the very best a destination has to offer than through an intimate local lens, particularly one brimming with exceptional food and drink. So, scroll on for an insider's take on Aspen's best cocktail, coffee, and food spots, according to 7 stylish women. A quick spoiler: a near-unanimous top ranking of Clark's Aspen and The Hotel Jermone for cocktails and ambiance, as well as high marks for Bear Den Aspen, Betula, and Mawa's Kitchen. But trust, many more gems are to be uncovered ahead—plan your visit accordingly.

Emily Bibb

Co-founder, Breef and The Aspen Office

Aspen Local for (almost) two years

Favorite coffee spot:Bear Den Aspen

"I love Bear Den. Their coffee is fantastic, but the vibe is even better. It's a great place to go for a slow pour, breakfast meeting, or a hearty brunch after a long hike."

Favorite lunch spot:Meat & Cheese Restaurant and Farm Shop & White House Tavern

"I love Meat and Cheese. You can't go wrong. The menu is fresh, current, and offers a twist on classics. Their salads are fantastic, and so is their daily taco selection. If you're looking for takeaway or a picnic in the park nearby, I highly suggest their market—the best curation of cheeses, chocolates, and of course, meats. Wendy, the owner, is a culinary visionary.

"I'm also a big fan of White House. I will never get tired of their kale salad—locals tip, add the fried chicken. It's beyond. Also, never pass up one of their freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. They sell out fast."

Favorite dinner spot:Casa D'Angelo

"I'm loving the recently opened Casa D' Angelo. Everything from the interior to the homemade pasta is such a treat and extremely memorable. If you have something or someone to celebrate, this is the place. It's romantic, elevated, and right across the street from The Aspen Office."

Favorite cocktail spot:Hotel Jerome & Betula

"This is a tough one, but you can't beat the Hotel Jerome. The bar has the best cocktails (try the spicy margarita), and the atmosphere can't be replicated. It's one of those places where you end up joining tables with the crew next to you. Winter is fantastic, and summer when they open the patio and bring out the fire pits.

"Also, Betula Aspen—it's the scene. I've had some of the best nights there, including my bachelorette. They are famous for their Yellow Paloma. The decor is almost reminiscent of a beach club in the mountains—they also always have a great guest DJ playing."

Alexandra George

Managing broker, Aspen Development Realty

Aspen local for (almost) seven years

Favorite coffee spot:Jour de FĂŞte

"It's the ultimate wake-up for locals and the first coffee shop to open in town at 6:30am. Grab your paper; everything is delicious. The drip coffee or the bulletproof coffee are my personal favorites."

Favorite lunch spot:Pyramid Bistro

"My favorite lunch spot is definitely Pyramid Bistro; it feels off the beaten path, though it's only on Main Street above Explore Books. the menu is very healthy and delicious (low-glycemic index foods), and depending on the season, it's beautiful to sit on the porch outside or watch the snowfall in the winter."

Favorite dinner spot:Clark's Aspen

"It's just always so good. The aesthetic is so well done, the food is fantastic—my favorites include the crudo plate, steak tartare, mussels, and the grilled octopus. Paired with a glass of prosecco or the Agua de Fuego, you're good to go."

Favorite cocktail spot:Jimmy's Aspen & Meat & Cheese Restaurant and Farm Shop

"The dulce caliente has been my favorite drink for years, but this is converting ownership to be an upscale mezcal bar. So, my second pick is the spicy margarita from Meat & Cheese. Both. So. Good."

Brooke Ely Danielson

Wellness and editorial consultant

Aspen local for two years

Favorite coffee spot:Bear Den Aspen & Felix Roasting Co.

"Bear Den has a phenomenal latte with homemade lavender or cardamom syrup that is like 'cozy in a cup.' It makes me feel so comforted as the temperatures drop in Aspen.

"Felix, a new addition to Aspen [in addition to their two NYC locations], is housed in the beautiful Hotel Jerome. They have some incredible coffee cocktails, and it doesn't hurt that Ken Fulk did the interior."

Favorite lunch spot:Mawa's Kitchen

"Mawa is an incredibly talented chef who takes health and sustainability seriously in her cooking. I can always rely on Mawa and her team to deliver fresh and healthy vegan dishes full of nutrients."

Favorite dinner spot: The Wild Fig & Cache Cache

"I would have to say it is a tie between Wild Fig and Cache Cache. They both offer up fantastic vegan food. My go-to at Cache Cache? The cauliflower rice entree."

Favorite cocktail spot:The Hotel Jerome Library Bar

"The Hotel Jerome Library bar is my go-to spot in the winter. It's dark, comfortable and there's nothing better than ordering a cocktail by the fireplace. They have a secret negroni menu you have to ask for—trust me; it will be worth your while."

Barbara Glass Mullen

Owner of Barbara Glass, Inc. Interior Design

Aspen local for 20 years, come January

Favorite coffee spot:Mawa's Kitchen

"I get a coffee at Mawa's every morning. It's right next to my office. It's nice to see friendly faces every morning. I helped Mawa and Daniel redesign the space, so it's always fun to sit and drink coffee when I have time."

Favorite lunch spot:Clark's Aspen

"It's a fun place to meet friends for lunch, and I love the menu. The space is also great during the day because of the skylights. I love the colors and the art—great good and not trying to be too serious."

Favorite dinner spot: Betula

"I love the food and atmosphere. It's open and light but still feels cozy at night because they have the lighting down perfectly."

Favorite cocktail spot:The Wine Bar at The Little Nell

"The Little Nell bar is my favorite (if it's not too crowded). I love the design. They have a wonderful Sancerre by the glass, and they allow dogs."

Xanthe Demas

Director of marketing and communications of Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club

Aspen local for six years

Favorite coffee spot: Local Coffee House

"Not only do they have great coffee and breakfast options, including donuts from Sweet Coloradough and the best avocado toast in town, but they are located one block from the Aspen Mountain Gondola, making it an easy pit stop on a powder morning on your way to take some turns."

Favorite lunch spot: Big Wrap, Sundeck, & Spring Café Aspen

"If you're like me and love wraps and bowls, Big Wrap is the obvious favorite. Located right across from the Aspen Mountain Gondola, they make for a quick, easy, affordable, and delicious lunch option.

"If grease is your thing, then the Sundeck, atop Aspen Mountain, has the best chicken fingers and tuna melts in the valley (or the world).

"If you're in the mood for a salad or vegan option, then Spring Cafe is your spot, featuring delicious, locally sourced vegan options."

Favorite dinner spot:Ellina

"Ellina is my go-to dinner spot. In the summer, they have a sprawling outdoor patio, and in the winter, they have a cozy indoor dining room. They feature everything from incredible homemade pasta dishes to weekly taco specials and delicious wine and cocktails."

Favorite cocktail spot:Clark's Aspen & Aspen Tap House

"Clark's Oyster Bar is always my first choice. Their happy hour is delightful, featuring half-off martinis and a $10 burger.

"A cozier, more laid back favorite is the Aspen Tap House with locally brewed beer and delicious pizza."

Maureen Poschman

President of Promo Communications

Aspen local for 30 years

Favorite coffee spot:Gorsuch Ski Café

"They have delicious Illy coffee (and also good matcha) served in beautiful china mugs. A combo ski shop and café located on the gondola plaza, it's bright and beautiful with blonde wood and oversized red chandeliers with a friendly and efficient staff. The crowd is a mix of old-time Aspenites and in-the-know visitors. On ski mornings, there's palpable energy as people get ready for their ski day. They have a great outdoor patio with a fire pit for cool mornings or afternoons."

Favorite lunch spot:Clark's Aspen

"Clark's Aspen has been a wonderful addition to the Aspen dining scene, with a seafood-driven menu. Lunch is great there, and they have light options like ceviche or crudo selection or more hearty options like a delicious crab cake sandwich. Everything is super fresh, and the service is efficient yet friendly."

Favorite dinner spot:Bosq & Casa D'Angelo

"There are so many, but one of my favorites is Bosq, owned by chef and restaurateur Barclay Dodge and his wife, Molly. Chef Barclay works with local farmers—and his own garden—for produce, and he forages in the mountains and rivers for porcini, wild watercress, spruce tips, and more. The food is innovative and delicious, and the simply designed intimate space (and patio) enhances the food.

"A new favorite is Casa D'Angelo, which opened in late July. The chef and owner Angelo and his wife Denise are so welcoming, and the Italian cuisine is wonderful. The second-floor space is bright with stunning views of Aspen Mountain and the town of Aspen."

Favorite cocktail spot:The Living Room at The Hotel Jerome

"In the colder months especially, I love the Living Room at the Hotel Jerome, which has a wonderfully cozy ambiance and great nooks for a couple or seating areas that expand for groups of friends gathering. They have great wines-by-the-glass, including a great Burgundy and an Italian Barbera. They also have great classic cocktails and specialty cocktails."

Jaclyn Carr

Director of Development at the Aspen Art Museum

Aspen local since May 2021

aspen city guide

Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@jaclynacarr

Favorite coffee spot:Ink! Coffee & Gorsuch Ski Café

"Ink Coffee has been around forever and is consistently great coffee.

"At Gorsuch Ski Café, there is never too long of a wait, and they also have delicious fresh-squeezed OJ. And I've heard they do a dash of schnapps in your coffee in the winter."

Favorite lunch spot:Clark's Aspen

"If time allows, a Clark's burger for lunch is a wonderful midday treat, and, if even more time allows, they also have a 3 to 5pm happy hour."

Favorite dinner spot:The Bar at L'Hostaria Ristorante

"I always enjoy a meal at the bar here, especially when Lance makes my martini. Plus, they're across the street from the museum."

Favorite cocktail spot:The Living Room at The Hotel Jerome

"Sipping on a negroni in one of their cozy armchairs is a perfect way to end the week."

Part of the series:

City Guide

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