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Home Christmas The Most Magical Winter Bars and Taverns

The Most Magical Winter Bars and Taverns

by Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande

At a time when almost everyone is in the festive spirit, some places stand out as the very best places to raise a glass or two, whether for their beautiful setting, superb drinks list, or simply the warm welcome that they provide.

For drinking in a winter wonderland, Meribel is a wonderful resort to start. The Den Bar has a sleek modern interior that is nevertheless inviting and convivial. The wine list was compiled by Tim Johnston, whose track record includes the celebrated Parisian wine bar Juveniles. Helpfully for those wanting to retreat to their chalets and sip wine around the Christmas tree, the bar also offers a take away service. Le Grand Café des Pistes offers a sumptuous interior where everything from coffee to cocktails can be enjoyed next to a cosy real log fire. The Barometer bar is one of Meribel’s liveliest options, and it’s a perfect place to enjoy watching a game, shooting some pool, or indulging in one of their famous grilled sandwiches. Landmark holiday property Chalet Chopine is an airy, stunning five bedroom residence with wonderful features including a hammam, sauna, Jacuzzi and home cinema, perfect after the five minute stroll back from the bars of Meribel.

Le Grand Cafe des Pistes

Le Grand Cafe des Pistes

Morzine is another classic French ski resort with a great après scene. For those who want to make the most of the mountains, the Cookie Café Bar is the highest altitude bar in the Portes de Soleil. It has a relaxed atmosphere and serves both warming wine and cold beer. Le Barbylone bar is tiny and relatively new but offers fun DJ battles and delicious Savoyard dishes to soak up the cocktails. Bar La Taverne offers the quintessential French chalet décor serve dup with tasty tapas. Chalet Jejalp, one of Morzine’s most luxurious properties, is the perfect bolthole from which to savour the nightlife on offer. With its stunning double height communal living space, cinema room and two storey glass wine cellar, the impetus is always there to stay in, but fortunately Morzine has enough temptations to ensure regular nights out too.

Cookie Cafe Morzine

Cookie Cafe Morzine

The Italian Dolomites host a very special array of nightlife options. Val Gardena has some of the best, including Yello’s Lounge Bar, with chill out music, quirky décor and affable waiting staff. For wine connoisseurs, Vinotheque La Cërcia offers a comprehensive range of vintages and friendly, expert advice. Three storey property Cesa Selva is a classic, picture postcard Alpine chalet with a hammam and attractive, well-designed living space indoor and out.

Vinoteque La Cercia

Vinoteque La Cercia

San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge in the South Tyrol is an exceptionally well-appointed and stylist property, once a haunt of the Italian nobility on hunting trips. Its dreamy views and serene relaxation spaces are complemented by some lively bar options in nearby Brunico. Rienzbräu is one charming spot with great beer and tasty grilled meats. Fashionable Sennibar is light and attractive with some good mixed drinks.

Bär’s Café Bistro Lounge at Piz Buin

Bär’s Café Bistro Lounge at Piz Buin

It is no real surprise that glitzy Klosters in Switzerland has some fantastic drinking spots, with plenty of celebrity-spotting opportunities. Perfectly situated at the foot of the slopes, Gaudy’s is a perennial favourite, with weekly live music. Many people choose it for their first aperitif after a day’s skiing Likewise, Bär’s Café Bistro Lounge at Piz Buin is enduringly popular. It offers the winning combination of a snug interior and a terrace which forms a wonderful sun trap.

Chesa Grischuna

Chesa Grischuna

For live music, Klosters village has the delightful Chesa Grischuna which features live piano performances. Casa Antica is the ultimate Klosters go-to destination. Situated in a pretty barn conversion, it combines a cocktail bar, piano bar and nightclub, and is the first stop for anyone making the scene. Luxury Chalet Klosters is the perfect place to stay. It wholly delivers on its name, providing seven beautiful bedrooms, outdoor whirlpool and sauna and a balcony which allows guests to make the most of its peerless location.

After any drinking session in these renowned resorts, stepping out into the twinkling lights and powdery snow afterwards is an unforgettable experience.

Santé, cin cin and broscht!

By Phileas French, Travel Writer