Situated at the base of Aspen Mountain in The Little Nell hotel, Ajax Tavern has been a famous après ski destination since opening in 1989. This recent refresh follows an initial renovation by R+B in 2007. It is one of over 20 projects R+B has collaborated on with owner Aspen Skiing Company in the last 10 years.
Addressing present and long-term requirements, primary goals of the renovation include improving the overall circulation of the restaurant and ensuring maximum flexibility within the space. A new corner entry allows for better flow into the interior and improves the restaurant’s presence from the gondola plaza. The new entry leads directly into the bar area, further enhancing the tavern feel and community atmosphere. The previous entry remains for service access between the patio and dining room.
Inside, enhancing the seating flexibility Rowland+Broughton kept existing booths and banquettes but added a new central, divisible banquette set on casters that may be reconfigured or moved away to accommodate private functions and groups.
With the goal of brightening the interior, the color palette was lightened and existing wainscoting painted. New caramel-colored leather Sling Bar Stools by Industry West complement natural light oak tabletops, and a custom mirror hung by leather straps reflects exterior light and activity of guests entering the space. A higher banquette overlooking the main dining area was also added along a rear wall for some of the best seats in the house.
Throughout the restaurant, handcrafted details reflect the ethos of Colorado and enhance the overall effect of the new décor. Banquettes feature new custom design, fabricated by Aspen Upholstery that transitions from leather to fabric. Pendant lights were updated with matte black “Allied Maker” fixtures with brass interiors and leather accents. The rear dining room wall and back wall of the semi-open kitchen was refinished with handcrafted Industrial Glass tiles from Decorative Materials.
Additional interior details include new black leather Sling Barstools by Industry West at the blackened steel bar and the community table, and sustainable Interface carpet that softens acoustics and discourages slipping for those in ski boots. Updates on the patio include new Tuuci dual cantilever umbrellas and Outdoor Euro dining chairs.