As an après ski destination Verbier packs a punch: loved by Swiss bankers, royalty, entrepreneurs and Joe Public alike, the après scene offers both ends of the scale. The more down-to-earth establishments offer reasonable prices, good music, and a cracking atmosphere, while at the see-and-be-seen venues, diamonds sparkle, Primark is replaced by Prada, and a bottle of champers can cost as much as a brand new car.
Whatever your preference you’ll need deep pockets, because this is Verbier, one of a very expensive country’s most prestigious resorts.
If you are looking for a drink before you come off the mountain, The Ice Cube is a good place to start. You’ll find it tucked behind the Ruinettes lift, handy if you’ve had one too many and want to avoid skiing under the influence. The panoramic views are stunning, a DJ spins out some dance tunes, and the service is friendly.
If you do decide to ski back to base camp, pop into 1936 at the bottom of the Mayentzet chair, a popular last halt before continuing on down to Verbier. Bigger than it initially looks from the outside, a very smiley DJ plays the tunes, you can take a load off and sun yourself in deck chairs or, if you’re a little chilly, warm yourself by the stove inside.
From there, you’re but a short ski away from the resort. You’ll know you’re there when you see the newly-opened W Hotel Off Piste bar, decked out in twinkly pink lights, tempting you in from a day on the slopes. Clearly one of the hot places in town, it packs a steady crowd and is a popular spot offering outdoor drinks at hotel prices.
However the best spot is found at the end of the Le Rouge run. This restaurant/bar (of the same name) is a great spot from about 4pm onwards, there is often a DJ on the roof bar, and the atmosphere gets good word-of-mouth.
From there, many head over to Fer a Cheval. While not strictly a bar, this lively joint doesn’t just do price-conscious pizzas; it’s also a well-known and much-loved après spot.
Pub Mont Fort, known around town simply as ‘The Pub’, is always a good spot when you come off the slopes. It doesn’t have any airs or graces and they often run promotions and parties. Happy hour runs for an hour from 4pm and they show sports on the big screen. It is at its busiest for around two hours to just after 6pm, after which punters slope off to the Farinet for the live music.
Early Evening Après
Popular with the Brits, there are two sides to Farinet – the après bit with live music from 6pm-9pm and the lounge next door which takes centre stage after dinner. The après side is a popular spot and is usually packed throughout with a raucous and mixed crowd. Expect a live band rocking out on the tables, a DJ that will keep you dancing, and a retractable roof that opens when it gets too hot regardless of whether it is snowing or not. Nudity is not unheard of.
After Dinner Après
Once the après side of the Farinet closes the sleek lounge next door opens, a hit when it comes to the cocktails. Try the Espresso Martini or the Porn Star Martini but don’t expect much change from a round! The DJ keeps things going till 2am but be warned the place gets busy and the doorman can be picky about who he lets in, so get your glad rags on if you want to be guaranteed entry.
The Loft offers up relaxed surroundings and caters to a younger (seasonal worker) crowd but the prices won’t break the bank.
The new spot in town is Twin Peaks (formally Coup d’etat) which is styled as a rock bar; it fills up around 1am with the post/pre/during Casbah crowd.
The ultimate end destination for those seeking a party is the infamous Farm Club. Jammed with an in-crowd that oozes wealth and sophistication, it’s kind of like Mahiki in the snow. Royalties, celebrities and locals (to include the odd seasonaire who’s been dragged in by their guests or vice versa) have partied here since 1971. You know you’ve made it into the ‘it’ crowd when you have a vodka bottle with your name on it added to the wall after you’ve partied until dawn.
If the glitz and glamour of the Farm Club is a bit rich for you head over to the North-African style of the Casbah instead. Formerly called Public, this is the main club in town for season workers and is a popular spot for guests staying in the resort. It is best to head this way around midnight; don’t expect to re-appear again until 4am.
The Ice Cube, www.lesruinettes.ch/verbier-restaurant/ice-cube.html
W Verbier, www.wverbier.com
Le Rouge, http://lerouge-verbier.com
Pub Mont Fort, www.pubmontfort.com
Farinet Après, www.hotelfarinet.com/en/apres.htm
Farinet Lounge, www.hotelfarinet.com/en/lounge.htm
Farm Club, www.hotelnevai.com/farm-club
A shout out to Kate at Ski Verbier for taking us out for cocktails and providing us with her insider tips – www.skiverbier.co.uk