Zermatt’s top 5 après ski bars


After an exhilarating day on the mountain many feel the need to celebrate their efforts by letting their hair down and slaking their thirst with a cheeky beer or three, hence the popularity of apres-ski. A perfect day’s skiing should include a spot of apres-ski. Zermatt has many fine apres-ski bars where you can do just that. Let’s paaaartay!!!

Hennu Stall

While skiing down the lower section of the Furi-Zermatt slope you’ll probably hear the pumping house beats or the Hennu Stall house band giving it some. Like wasps round a jam jar, you’ll next see the happy throng bobbing up and down on the terrace. This is party central and one of Zermatt’s liveliest and some would say craziest apres-ski bars. Dancing on the tables is par for the course and many a ski suit has been cast skyward as some over enthusiastic crazy has decided to strip down to his Calvin Kleins and beyond. Fancy dress is often seen here, with anything from Captain Chaos to Buzz Lightyear throwing shapes on the dance floor. You don’t have to join in, of course, you can just watch from a distance and enjoy the shenanigans, albeit wearing a face splitting grin. The fun is infectious, aided of course by the consumption of a beer, gluwein or a cheeky Jägermeister.

A novelty here is an old ski made into a drinks tray, usually lined up with Jägermeister shots. Jägermeister’s ingredients include 56 herbs, fruits, roots, and spices, including citrus peel, licorice, anise, poppy seeds, saffron, ginger, juniper berries and ginseng. These ingredients are ground, then steeped in water and alcohol for 2–3 days. Afterwards, this mixture is filtered and stored in oak barrels for about a year. When a year has passed, the liqueur is filtered again, then mixed with sugar, caramel, alcohol and water. It is filtered one last time and then bottled. Contrary to an urban legend, Jägermeister doesn’t contain deer or elk blood but it is bottled rocket fuel and at 35% proof you’ll soon be flying after you’ve necked a couple of these bad boys.

Hennu Stall can be reached easily on foot from Zermatt in 30 minutes, or you can take the Klein bubble up to Furi and then ski or walk down. It is virtually impossible to spend a skiing holiday in Zermatt without getting to know about Hennu Stall and it’s legendary status.

Cervo

If you’re coming down the mountain on the Sunnegga side your first port of call should be the Cervo. This is a stunning venue set amongst the snow dusted pines. The Cervo is a hotel first and foremost which boasts a large outside terrace for a spot of apres-ski. The Cervo is situated in a delightful spot, on the side of the piste and après-ski is part of the Cervo lifestyle and concept which they boast is the most sophisticated in the Alps.

With different bands and DJ’s the entertainment is varied and lively and the setting couldn’t be better. If you want a more refined apres-ski experience the Cervo, with it’s cigar room and selection of local beers is the place for you. Less raucous than the Henna Stall, the Cervo offers a more dignified experience. Being a hotel, the apres-ski winds up early but you can summon an electric taxi or ask for the code to the private lift that will deposit you in town so you can party on.

Snowboat

And you’ll want to continue the party in the Snowboat, which is actually in town. This enchanting and unique boat-shaped building by the river is home to the Snowboat Bar and Yacht Club Restaurant. The venue was designed by local legend, Heinz Julen. His projects are talked about in reverential tones and attract a lot of interest worldwide. The Snowboat is a lively venue serving après-ski drinks and wholesome à la carte as well as exquisite cocktails made with premium spirits, fresh ingredients and lots of love.

The Snowboat is legendary in Zermatt and a favourite haunt of the locals, who obviously have insider knowledge and know all the best places. The Snowboat is a more sophisticated apres-ski venue, a virtue it shares with the Cervo. Gee, the owner has another place in town, The Cuckoo Club, that stays open well into the early hours, 4 O’Clock in fact. Getting up the next morning to catch the early lifts might be tricky but you’re guaranteed a great vibe and a hospitality that makes both the Snowboat and the Cuckoo popular and packed most nights.

Harry’s Bar

In 1902, Harry’s grandad, Alois Biner, built a chicken shack and well into the 1960s, it was used to keep grandma’s chickens. I must say grandma surely had a lot of chickens, although not a big place for an apres ski bar it’s a huge space for chickens, in fact the space was occasionally lived in. Now, over a century later, it has been rebuilt and refurbished as a genuine skiers’ bar by Harry Lauber and his son Fabian. I don’t think the chickens are very happy about this turn of events. Being chickens they don’t even get squatters rights.

Harry’s is a quaint little bar in centre of Zermatt, right beside ski bus stop. Whether you’re dancing, singing, partying, flirting or listening to pop songs of questionable taste, Harry’s Bar is the hotspot for snow sports enthusiasts, hikers and bikers alike. There’s a good atmosphere day and night. The staff are friendly staff, the music might be a bit dodgy, that’s subjective of course but don’t let it put you off, after a couple of shots I guess you’ll be past caring anyway. You don’t have to be a skier or snow boarder to enjoy the vibe in this delightful little bar. Visited on a week-night, the bar can be pretty empty but it’s buzzing and gets really packed in late afternoons and early evenings. There’s a heated patio outside for the overspill from the inside. This is a good place to people watch and enjoy the shenanigans of the happy, shiny people who frequent Harry’s.

Paperla Pub

Open 365 days a year, you know the place is popular by the amount of ski’s propped up outside the bar. Live music, DJs, a cosmopolitan crowd and a crew that encourages a great atmosphere and a spontaneous party mood are all the ingredients you want for an apres-ski party. In winter, après-ski starts daily around 4 pm. Those who like hot drinks can celebrate with Jägertee and mulled wine on the terrace. Or settle into the warm interior of the Irish pub style bar and catch the vibe.

Stu and Ronnie are the bars resident fire starters. They never seem to get tired of whipping the crowd into a frenzy with jolly japes and drinking games. They can often be seen cavorting atop the bar egging each other on to even more outrageous dares. It’s a lot of fun and as cabaret goes, it’s certainly original. Stu and Ronnie have become good friends of mine and they never stop with the fun, even on their rare nights off they are party starters. They are a couple of naturals and the Paperla Pub owes it’s legendary status to their never ending good humour.

Danny Frith is Director at SkiBoutique. SkiBoutique is a luxury ski chalet agency based in Switzerland.

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Comments (15)

  1. Chris Donaldson says:

    After a day’s ski, I am usually too exhausted to do too much in the way of apres ski! I do like the sound of the Snowboat, though.

  2. Ed says:

    I like the look of Paperla. How did that name originate?

    By 4pm I’m definitely ready for some liquid refreshment, preferably hot to begin with. I’d be up for trying a Jägertee or two or three.

    • Dan Frith says:

      Hi Ed, I am not actually sure but I will ask the Julen family (owners) and let you know. It’s one of their many Zermatt business’s. A bit of interesting history on them below:

      TIME FOR YOU. SINCE 1910.
      The history of the Tradition Julen began 1910 – when Andreas and Pauline Julen opened their first guesthouse. After Andreas died early, the small Meinrad waited for hours every day at the train station, hoping for travelers which he could bring to his mothers pension. People who helped him, his mother Pauline and his siblings make ends meet.

      It was clear early on that Meinrad had inherited his father’s head for business. When he was 26 years old, he purchased a plot of land and built the Hotel Julen in 1937. It was completely renovated in 1981 under the direction of Meinrad and son Paul. Paul and his wife Daniela took over the management of the hotel in the same year. Additionally, they opened the restaurant Julen and the Schäferstube. Their happiness was completed by the birth of their children Paul-Marc, Sophia and Rebecca.

      Today, Paul and Daniela Julen run their business together with son Paul-Marc and daughter-in-law Cindy. Rebecca Julen is the hostess of the Hotel Daniela, which has been a sister hotel to the Julen establishments for many years. Just like the sheep breeding – which is with 300 traditional Valais black nose sheep Paul Julen’s pride and joy.

      Since the third generation has become active in the Julen establishments, they have added the après-ski bar Papperla Pub. In fall 2014 the Hotel Alpenhof, which was run for 31 years by Paul-Marc’s uncle Hans Peter Julen and his wife Annelise, was integrated into Tradition Julen.

      Paul-Marc and Cindy’s children Jarno-Meinrad and Rajan-Pierre are the beginning of the fifth generation of hoteliers.

  3. Jack says:

    Yes, a useful reminder that the skiing season is on us. I’m hoping to get to Zermatt late January or early February. Looking forward to trying out some of these bars. Thanks for the heads-up.

    • Dan Frith says:

      You’re welcome Jack. I am sure you’ll have a great time sampling all the apres and if you’re in the snowboat and I bump into you and I’ll buy you a shot of Jager….. Cheers

  4. Craig says:

    I’ve got to admit that a lot of glasses of Jägermeister have passed through my hands and through my lips too.

    Though I’d never stopped to look at the bottle to check on ingredients. It’s amazing how much stuff goes into it. It makes you think about how it was invented. Did someone know exactly what taste they were looking for? Or did they just keep experimenting until they thought that they had got it right? Whatever the technique Jägermeister has been very, very successful.

    • Dan Frith says:

      Hi Craig,
      yes me too, and many other Alpine skiers. It really is an Alpine institution.
      I am not sure how long they experimented for but I hope it wasn’t too long as I am not sure they would be able to stand up straight ;-)
      Cheers, Dan

  5. Rajeshwari Prem says:

    56 HERBS besides other numerous fruits, roots and spices?? Woah!!!! That’s too many ingredients. And from what I conclude is that it takes more than a year to prepare Jägermeister. This much of time and effort isn’t even required to prepare a King’s food also. Doesn’t it get tiring for the bartender and alcohol chefs to prepare the drink?

    • Susan N says:

      You just spoke my heart out!!! I wonder how the drink would taste?. It would be difficult for me to travel all the way to Switzerland anytime soon, but is there any company that exports the drink? Any leads would be appreciated!

    • Dan Frith says:

      Hi Rajesh,
      The drink is already prepared and in a bottle so all the bartender has to do is pour the drink. It’s even quicker to drink it :-)

      Hi Susan,
      Jagermeister is a word wide company. Just go on their website, there are multiple distributors all over the World.
      Cheers,
      Dan

  6. Darnell Collier says:

    Wow, look at the crowd at Hennu Stall! I guess they do serve something special if people flock over. Or it just knows how to throw fun in the air that’s why people can’t keep away. After all, when you’re on a holiday, you would want FUN and relaxation to be at the centre of it all.

    • Dan Frith says:

      Hi Darnell,
      They certainly do know how to throw a party. Just don’t drink too much as the ski home might prove to be difficult.
      Cheers,
      Dan

  7. Jenny Fisher says:

    I do like a Jägermeister shot every now and then! ‘Jägerbombs’ were quite popular when I was in my late teens. There’s something really appealing about people gathering together in colder climates over a few drinks, with music and happy vibes and everyone wrapped up warm. Harry’s Bar is an interesting one, I bet Harry’s grandma never thought her little chicken shack would one day become a popular skiers’ bar!

    • Dan Frith says:

      Hi Jenny,
      It certainly is appealing, especially after a days skiing. Iam not sure Harry’s grandma would be best pleased, however that’s the story of Zermatt. Sleepy farming village in the middle of the mountains, to world famous International ski resort. It’s certainly come a long way.
      Cheers,
      Dan

  8. Dan Frith says:

    Hi Chris, I know what you mean, however it’s always nice to save yourself for one or two afternoons of apres ski. Apres, dinner, then bed. Then you’re fresh for an early start the next morning. First lifts :-)
    Snowboat is my local bar, love it.

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