Justice Snow's, the new bar and eatery inside Aspen's Wheeler Opera House, is apparently the hot spot of the moment. Michele Kiley, Marco Chingolani and chef Jonathan Leichliter wanted to turn the former Bentley's space into a updated concept that still evoked the history of building. With the help of New York designer Matt Duncan, they did just that. They also enlisted bartender Joshua Smith, previously of TAG and Williams & Graham in Denver, to head the beverage program. The Justice Snow's team offers up what Kiley describes as a Colorado-inspired and ridiculously affordable menu (yes — affordable and Aspen in the same sentence). So what's the scoop on the place? It may be a little far for some of us to check out, but luckily some patrons have taken the time to share their observations. Here now, the early word on Justice Snow's.
Some Light Observations: A JetSet Report: The crowd is a great mix of Aspen locals and in-the-know visitors that stakeout a spot at the bar for artisan drinks whipped-up by what could be the area’s top mixologist and complemented by a menu of heavy bar snacks. [JetSet Report]
The Good News: A Foursquare user: Every time I've come to JS' its been great and you can't beat $4-5 glasses of wine. [Foursquare]
More Good News: A good encounter at the bar: “Give me a word: sweet, savory, tart, umami, earthy ?” says bartender Joshua Peter-Smith. He turns around, makes some magic happen and delivers a Prohibition-era style martini. And, it’s exactly the order: vodka and herbal liquids mix for a perfectly tart spirit. Don’t bypass the details, like recycled bottle light fixtures and vintage film footage played through peepholes near the bathrooms. Oh my! [Skollie Aspen]
The Great News: An eatAspen review: Just had lunch at this recently opened restaurant. Knew I was in the right place when I walked in the door and the owner's dog was sitting on his bed right inside the door. I had to stay! Had a very leisurely lunch and didn't feel rushed at all. Service was excellent (Etan) Tempura pickles were the best fried pickles I have ever had. Also had the pork sandwich which was very tasty! Decor is way cool. Loved the way the check is presented in a mason jar! Owner was on site and made me feel like an old friend. Can't wait to come back next year. A definite place to go! [eatAspen]
The Good AND Bad News: A Boulder Facebook blogger: I must admit, Justice Snow's does feel like an Aspen version of Oak at Fourteenth — food, bar program and all...I was disappointed that they didn't have a libations menu whatsoever yet. Again, I'm glad this place is open, and I think the owners have a great formula for success, but the half-ass opening is a bit off-putting along with the so-so service. [Jen Eat, Then Speak]