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July 22, 2005
It was hard to find a parking space along the road in the canyon where the tiny hamlet of Woody Creek is located, at about 1pm on a sweltering Sunday. It was obvious we weren’t going to eat anytime soon by the size of the crowd milling about the covered patio area. The trick was to find the hostess (a sign told you her name and what she was wearing) to get on the list. Once that was accomplished, you were invited to get a drink and find a bench until your name was called. They were lined up three deep at the bar, with many people and servers trying to get through in all directions. Complete chaos. We were finally able to procure our beers and waited on the patio. We had our first Aspen celebrity sighting, although they were celebrities that only my Canadian husband would have known--a bunch of retired hockey players and a broadcaster from the CBC were hanging out, drinking Canadian beer, of course!
When our name was called, we were offered two seats at the bar. It was actually a very fun location to sit. We chatted with other people and the bartender, a relative newcomer who had been working there for only 10 years! The coolers were covered with the funniest collection of bumper stickers – my husband would keep pointing out another one to me and howling! There were also the requisite photos of the late Dr. Thompson and his illustrator, Ralph Steadman. How I wish I could have been around to have a drink with them, although I can imagine it would have been difficult to actually remember what went on given the legendary amounts of alcohol consumed on these premises!
The menu was surprisingly upscale for the locale. Hamburgers were made with "limousine beef," organic salads, vegetarian soy chorizo... I was expecting crappy bar food! The food was good; a hamburger for my husband, crispy chicken flautas for me. We were starving by then, so there wouldn’t have been much that wouldn’t have hit the spot!
I guess it’s hard when a cool place becomes popular, as is the case with the Woody Creek Tavern. Everyone hopes no one else will discover it after they do! It’s not that it’s a bad place to go; it’s just too damn bad everybody knows about it!
From journal Aspen Summertime Weekend
by John Lamb
Colorado Springs, Colorado
April 28, 2004
The inside is covered and papered with photographs. There are lost of photos of the bar's famous patron, including one he has drawn a moustache and devil horns on. It feels like a dive bar, but is clean and friendly. There is a nice mix of locals and tourists. The waitstaff is friendly and helpful.
The menu is mainly Mexican food and steaks. We had the nachos, which were piled with beans, meat, sour cream, etc. They are also famous for their real key lime pie. They also have a good selection of beers on tap, including the local Flying Dog Ales. Flying Dog even has a beer devoted and supported by Thompson called Road Dog. It is a dark Scottish ale and lives up to Thompson's personal slogan: "Good people drink good beer." The Flying Dog labels are designed and drawn by Ralph Steadmen, famous for his illustrations in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
There is the Woody Creek Store and Gallery next door, which offers a selection of Thompson's books and merchandise. There is even a T-shirt with the gonzo emblem. Since the ‘70s, Thompson has run for sheriff of Pitkin County, using this emblem for his campaign posters.
From journal Literary Colorado