September 23, 2023

ponyboy bar

Posing collectively within the new Ponyboy bar house situated within the W Aspen lodge is Ponyboy co-owner and Beverage Director Christopher Reyes (left), Ponyboy co-owner James Dorje and W Aspen Normal Supervisor Chris Jaycock. In a partnership with the W Aspen, the New York-based cocktail bar will formally open on Thursday for its winter residency, operating by mid-April, with nightly working hours set to be 5 p.m.-2 a.m. 

With ski season kicking into full gear, a brand new nightlife spot makes its approach onto the Aspen map this winter. New Yorkers will possible acknowledge the identify Ponyboy — now, the Brooklyn bar has partnered with the W Aspen for a four-month residency on the lodge. 

Formally opening to the general public on Thursday, Ponyboy will function seven days per week from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. by mid-April. The New York bar took over the speakeasy-style membership house situated on the primary flooring of the W Aspen. 

The windowless room — carpeted and curvy, with velvet cubicles and a low-stretching bar — has not been totally activated as a relentless membership house because the W model took over the previous Sky Resort in 2019. 

Ponyboy co-owner James Dorje mentioned that when he first noticed the house, he thought, “If that’s not Ponyboy, I don’t know what’s.” 


Native DJ Bridger Haas (“Haasy”) performs on the new Ponyboy nightclub on Thursday throughout one of many membership’s pre-opening occasions. Ponyboy seems to be to welcome Aspen-based DJs and different native expertise for disco-inspired music programming all through its winter outpost on the W Aspen.  


And for the membership’s winter outpost, Dorje defined how he’s been capable of put the Ponyboy visible stamp on it — commissioning paintings, constructing out the brand new again bar and amping the room’s disco-like aesthetic to match that of the New York location, in addition to re-energize the house with among the previous Sky Resort vibes, he mentioned. 

“The plan is to carry among the Sky Resort power again, which I’ve heard has been missing within the house ever because it left,” Dorje mentioned. “We are also bold to carry a distinct sound to Aspen; after chatting with numerous the native DJs, they might like to get extra experimental and play extra disco — so we’re simply bringing the disco again.”

Throughout its residency, Ponyboy goals to be a spot the place locals and guests can get “a world-class cocktail” and “dance their tails off” in the identical room, Dorje mentioned. 

“It’s actually this cool mixture that you just don’t typically see … it’s like Cheers meets Studio 54,” Dorje mentioned. “Individuals typically go to at least one place for his or her informal beer and one other place for his or her social social gathering — however we discovered an attractive equilibrium, the place individuals do each in the identical house.”

This nightlife equilibrium was one thing that Dorje and his enterprise companion, Christopher Reyes, supposed to create after they initially opened Ponyboy in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood in 2018. 

Reyes — who additionally owns a Central Mexico-inspired restaurant in Brooklyn, named Aldama — spearheads the cocktail program for each his restaurant and Ponyboy. The beverage director mentioned that in curating the Ponyboy Aspen cocktail menu, whereas he determined to function just a few staples from the membership’s New York choice and from his Aldama restaurant, the vast majority of the drinks have been created particularly for Aspen. 

After spending the previous two weeks in Aspen, Reyes is headed again residence to take care of the Ponyboy in Brooklyn, whereas his companion is right here to remain — Dorje will reside in Aspen all through the length of this winter residency. 

Dorje mentioned that he understands Aspen is a city by which neighborhood members respect assembly and having a pleasant relationship with the proprietor of an institution. 

“And we’re simply not the sort to mail it in — we’re gonna see it by,” Dorje mentioned. “We additionally actually wish to have interaction the locals as a result of numerous locations have closed within the final yr, and we do not wish to be the brand new place that’s open and you may’t afford to go to or get in as a result of it is too busy with vacationers. We’re attempting to have that steadiness the place we get ourselves on the map however not an excessive amount of in order that it is simply inaccessible.” 

From the start, the 2 membership homeowners had ambitions to develop their idea past New York, Dorje mentioned. He went on to clarify that when the pandemic hit, Ponyboy had gained recognition from throughout the Brooklyn neighborhood and was establishing its identify within the bigger NYC nightlife scene, about to enter a part of growth and profitability, Dorje mentioned. 

During the last yr, Ponyboy has been doing weekend pop-ups and different short-term occasions in numerous cities throughout the globe, from Barcelona and London to Los Angeles and Miami. 

The W — being a global lodge model below the Marriott umbrella — caught onto the Ponyboy vibe. And the W Aspen, particularly, was looking out for an outpost membership idea that might assist reactivate its speakeasy-style bar house. 

W Aspen Normal Supervisor Chris Jaycock mentioned that after researching and talking with a handful of nightclub and bar ideas, Ponyboy match completely into the bigger path of the place the lodge is headed over the subsequent yr. 

“I believe what offered us on them is the power and pleasure that they delivered to the chance,” Jaycock mentioned. “It wasn’t nearly, ‘Oh yeah, a enterprise alternative in Aspen — nice, thumbs up’ — it was about really seeing a emptiness and void available in the market and seeing there was alternative for that high quality but still-fun product.”

Jaycock — who stepped into his common supervisor function on the W Aspen final summer season — mentioned that there’s numerous “taking itself too critically in Aspen.” He continued to clarify that in a market “step by step shedding its enjoyable, reasonably priced locations,” he’s working to program the whole W Aspen property with the notion that the area people can afford to spend time on the institution. 

Although bringing again the Sky Resort idea solely is inconceivable — contemplating how the economic system and city has modified previously three years, Jaycock defined — the overall supervisor mentioned he believes that the W could be the glad medium between what the Sky was and what Aspen is now. And having Dorje’s and Reyes’ Ponyboy this winter is a powerful begin, Jaycock mentioned. 

“They’re cocktail specialists, bringing a brand new complexity to Aspen that hasn’t been extensively explored whereas additionally being actually accessible and never taking themselves too critically,” Jaycock mentioned. “I could not consider two higher individuals and a greater model to form of be the primary actual, like, brick within the wall of bringing the previous Sky Resort mantra again slightly to W Aspen.” 

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