Where to ring in 2015 in Eagle County
The early days of late nights
Staying up to socialize is a tradition that goes back to Vail’s very start. Back in the late ’60s, Vail Village had fewer bars, but just as many shenanigans.
“Young people are still having the same fun that we did when we were young,” Sheika Gramshammer said. “(But) what we called wild at that time is now very subdued.”
Where to celebrate the start of 2015
Gramshammer moved to Vail in 1965 and opened the Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer with her husband, Pepi. Pepi’s Bar is one of the oldest bars in Vail, in more ways than one. Gramshammer said back in the early days, people would call Pepi’s “Wrinkles,” due to its more sophisticated and gentlemanly patrons. To offset this, Gramshammer opened a nightclub called Sheika’s in the late 1970s. It was the era of disco, and many people would show up to the clubs in their ski clothes, said Ann Writer, tour guide at the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum who started coming to Vail in the mid-1960s. Writer remembers a place called the New Gnu, which was located under the Gorsuch clothing store.
“There would be lines outside waiting to get in,” Writer said. “There were no windows, and back in those days people smoked, particularly the Europeans. You kind of took your life in your hands when you went down there.”
While Donovan’s Copper Bar was the place everyone went after skiing (beers were 25 cents back then), the Casino Vail is where people would really boogie down.
“It put Vail on the map for nightlife and dancing,” said Susie Tjossem, executive director of the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum who also came to Vail in the mid-1960s. “Dance instructors would be brought in to teach the ski instructors so that they could teach the latest dances to their ski clientele. It was a lively, fun, ‘everybody has to go there’ place. On Sunday mornings, they would have church there, after the club closed at 2 a.m.”
It looks like the church-club combo went out of style along with bell bottoms, but Vail’s lively nighttime scene continues on.
If you haven’t made up your mind as to where you’d like to be celebrating come midnight, there are plenty of places in Eagle County from which to choose. Here’s a rundown of local nightlife options and New Year’s Eve offerings where you can get your groove on well into next year:
Bridge Street is the hub of bars and clubs in Vail Village. You can begin and end the night without having to walk more than a few feet between each venue.
◆ The Red Lion is one of Vail’s oldest establishments that hasn’t changed much since it first opened, and most like it that way. There’s live music every night starting at 9 p.m., and for New Year’s Eve they’ll have Brendan McKinney and friends play from 8 p.m. onward, with light appetizers for the first hour and a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets (which went on sale Tuesday) are $100 each. Call 970-476-7676 to see if any remain.
◆ If you’re looking for a dance floor, head to Samana Lounge, where the DJs play everything from EDM to Top 40. For New Year’s Eve, Samana will have DJ Koncept start spinning at 9 p.m. with craft beers, cocktails and appetizers until 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 and include the happy hour and a champagne toast at midnight. Visit http://www.samanalounge.com to purchase tickets.
◆ Like its name suggests, Shakedown Bar wants to get you rockin’ and shakin’ to the live bands they have every night starting at 10 p.m. For New Year’s Eve, local rockers Town Cavalry Big Band plan on jamming until 1:30 a.m. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at http://www.shakedownbarvail.com.
◆ Located near Solaris, Bol is a classy bowling alley and dance club in one. For New Year’s Eve, Bol is going big with mash-up master Z-Trip, a DJ and producer who’s collaborated with everyone from Bassnectar to Public Enemy and performed at the 2013 Grammy Awards.
“We’re lucky to have him here,” said Caitlin Pauls, event manager at Bol. “Because he’s such a world-renowned act, you usually don’t get to see (Z-Trip) in such a small setting. He usually plays big stadiums, so this doesn’t happen very often with him playing an intimate (venue).”
Tickets for Bol’s New Year’s Eve bash start at $250 for entry and include two complimentary cocktails and a champagne toast. To purchase, visit http://www.bolvail.com.
◆ For a fancy and festive New Year’s Eve, head to Four Seasons Vail for its Rendezvous to Resolution party, a Parisian-themed event held in their ballroom. This is an all-inclusive evening that is meant to be family-friendly.
“We want families to feel that they can enjoy an elegant atmosphere with an incredibly fun party,” said Geena Urbina, director of catering at the Four Seasons. Tables for up to 10 people are $3,200. General admission with no guaranteed seating is $185 per person. To purchase, contact the concierge at 970-477-8600.
◆ There’s a new nightclub on the top of Vail Mountain you might not have heard about yet. Held at The 10th at the top of Gondola One, Decimo debuted last winter season with one night of entertainment and is expanding to six nights this year. For New Year’s Eve, Decimo is featuring the EC Twins, a duo of DJs and producers who have a worldwide reputation for putting on a good party. Tickets start at $300 (for the New Year’s Eve event) and VIP tickets begin at $2,800. Visit http://www.vail.com.
◆ Also on New Year’s Eve, Vail Mountain’s Torchlight Parade and fireworks start at 6:15 p.m. at Golden Peak. This annual tradition is a visual spectacle that all ages can enjoy.
◆ Garfinkel’s is known for its great view out on the deck, but at night it becomes a place both locals and tourists have come to love. For New Year’s Eve, Garf’s will have DJ P Rock starting at 9 p.m. There will be $3 drinks and appetizers until 11 p.m. Entry is $30 and can be purchased in advance, as tickets might sell out that night. General manager Lucy Canestorp said their New Year’s Eve party is an affordable alternative for those looking to have fun on limited funds.
“Not everyone wants to spend $100 just to get in the door,” Canestorp said. “(Our New Year’s) is cheaper and a good party.”
◆ Tavern on the Square offers a quieter, more serene New Year’s Eve celebration with live music during dinner from 6 to 11 p.m. and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. There is no cover charge and is for those 21 and older starting at 9 p.m. For reservations, call 970-754-7704.
◆ Located along North Frontage Road West, the Vail Ale House has a host of live music and DJs throughout the winter season. For New Year’s Eve, Denver-based rock and electronic band Yamn will take the stage at 10:30 p.m. and keep the crowd on their feet until at least 2015.
“New Year’s is the most fun gig of the year,” said David “Dewey” Duart, bass player for Yamn. “We’ve been playing the Vail Valley since 2007, so we have a lot of fans there that we call our ‘Yamily’. Whoever hasn’t heard of us can expect to have a really good time.”
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online in advance at http://www.in ticketing.com.
◆ The Minturn Saloon once again hosts its New Year’s Eve dance party with music from Min’urn Express and Turntable Review starting around 10 p.m. The cover is $15. Call 970-827-5954 for more information.
◆ Route 6 Cafe in Eagle-Vail is hosting a New Year’s Eve party featuring entertainment by Sol Pride And DJ Weez. The cover is $25 at the door and gets you a Champagne toast and party favors. The restaurant will be open for business as usual, serving the regular menu.
◆ Agave hosts CGE (pronounced siege), Santa Barbara’s noise violation experts, on New Year’s Eve. The band will take the stage at 10 p.m. and play rock, pop, hip-hop and electronic fusions. There’s no cover charge before 11 p.m., and it’s $20 after 11 p.m. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. Enjoy $1.50 Bud drafts from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. Agave’s Cactus Cruizer shuttle bus will be driving between Edwards and Vail. Talk to the people at the front door or call 970-748-8666 to book your ride home.
◆ Coffee shop by day and bar hangout by night, Loaded Joe’s starts the weekend early with Reggae Night every Thursday, followed by karaoke on Friday and a DJ on Saturday nights. For New Year’s Eve, Loaded Joe’s will host a Black and White Party with DJ Droid starting around 10 p.m. No cover charge. For more information, call 970-748-1480.
◆ Beaver Creek’s New Year’s Eve Family Bash starts at 6:45 p.m. with village fireworks at the base of the mountain. The party will continue at Powder 8 Kitchen & Tap with a DJ, dancing, two balloon drops as well as games and activities for kids and teens from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. There is a $40 cover charge. Kids ages 5 and younger get in free. To purchase tickets in advance, visit http://www.beavercreek.com.
◆ Miller Lewis, co-owner of e|Town, describes their New Year’s Eve party as “the right amount of people with the right amount of fun.”
This could describe most nights at e|Town, with its laid back atmosphere making it the perfect place to socialize after the day is done. E|Town’s New Year’s Eve starts at 10 p.m. with a DJ and includes unlimited drinks with the $60 entry ticket. Lewis said tickets tend to sell out, so get them in advance on-site or by calling 970-926-4080.
◆ Thumper, a band made up of Vail Valley locals, will play rock and roll from the ’70s to today’s tunes at Main St. Grill in Edwards starting at 9:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. There’s no cover charge.
With the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships coming to Vail in February, many are already looking forward to the future. It’s only fair to say goodbye to 2014 with a champagne toast, a midnight kiss and a tone-deaf sing-along to “Auld Lang Syne.” Happy New Year’s.