Alpina Hütte and Café Hauser (St. Moritz, Switzerland)
In St. Moritz, skiing takes a backseat to the social scene. Bogner-clad blue bloods down caviar and jeroboams of champagne at lunch, polo is played on the frozen lake, and Russian oligarchs touch down in G-Vs while their Ferraris and escorts are shipped in by train. It’s only fitting, then, that the world’s glitziest ski destination (sorry, Aspen) boasts equally extravagant nightlife. But donning a blazer and tie to swill Bellinis at Mario’s Bar in Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, or rubbing shoulders with Liz Hurley on the dance floor at the Dracula Club – a chalet-cum-late-night disco – will always feel more urbane than alpine.
So where’s the actual après-ski scene? Rest assured, fearless drinker, it exists, just on a smaller scale than you’d expect from a resort with such a reputation. And that’s probably a good thing. Between all the indulgent lunches and late-night clubbing, the jet set tends to take a break between skiing and dinner, leaving the post-ski partying to the locals.
For a good time, follow the ski instructors, who end their days in the slope-side cabanas at Alpina Hütte, a stone and timber cabin with a beach-like outdoor bar perched at 8,000 feet. Grab a stein of Calanda from the snow bar or split a Café Grischa, a liqueur-infused coffee that’s so strong you might need to leave via helicopter evacuation rather than skis. Temper the booze with a plate of Bündnerfleisch (thinly sliced beef that’s a local specialty) and thank us later.
Next up is Hotel Hauser. After a quick ski into town, you’ll stumble (literally) onto this hotel’s popular terrace – just look for all the red ski school uniforms swarming the tables. Set amid the luxury boutiques littering St. Moritz’s congested center, Hauser’s outdoor bar is an ode to its owner’s Australian wife. Beer, Jagermeister, and Red Bull flow liberally, while the kitchen whips up slider-sized Kangaroo Burgers (believe us, their tastiness outweighs any guilt you’ll feel for eating something so cute). Thanks to heat lamps and a friendly crowd, things stay lively until 7 p.m., when drunk ski instructors are forced to go home and change out of their uniforms or risk a 400 Swiss Franc fine from their employers.
As for you, it’s time to retire, too. That ascot you packed isn’t going to iron itself, good sir.
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