Last night, while Rachelle was twirling around the Whitney Gala, I had the pleasure of getting an early look at the new Aspen Social Club in soft open mode, ahead of the full service starting on Tuesday. Fans of the downtown Aspen will find a lot of familiar elements (décor, menu, even some staff have transferred uptown) with some new, and those who haven’t made it downtown will be well-advised to check it out.
As you would expect from a place named after a mountain resort, there’s a lot of exposed rough wood paneling and other “rustic” touches, but the design is never beholden to that theme. The gilded set of antlers over the main bar, and the ceiling of the main dining area adorned with white antlers, are balanced by modern touches throughout. I found I liked the feel here even better than the downtown location (kudos to Steve Lewis, who designed both spaces) – some clever design choices, like the “infinity mirrors” that create a forest of birch trees in the main dining area, make the already spacious layout seem less crowded.
I also got a taste of the menu they are installing. Again, fans of the downtown location will be happy; favorites like bison sliders are still there alongside lamb ‘lollipops’ and other high-low menu choices (I went with corn fritters with ancho-maple, shrimp quesadillas, polenta fries with an amazing gorgonzola sauce, and of course, the slider). I think this amazing menu will get a fairer shake in the new space, with more floor area dedicated to the dining room, which can only help ASC accommodate their new neighborhood crowds of after-work and theatre diners, while it can still morph (with a few dining tables removed) into a comfortable lounge for the late-night crowd.