Top 5 après ski bars in Val d’Isère


Après ski is an opportunity to let your hair down and thoroughly enjoy yourself in the company of friends, loved ones and even complete strangers. It’s a time to unwind after all that physical and mental concentration on the slopes, to simply forget about everything else and experience the moment. Here are five venues in Val d’Isere where you can do just that.

La Folie Douce

“The La Folie Douce has been amazing (people) since 1980”, so they boast on their website. Hyperbole or fact? Well a little of both. I dare say they’ve had their off days, who hasn’t, but it is a fact that in Val d’Isere especially and in several other French ski resorts the La Folie Douce reputation is well earned.

The La Folie Douce mission statement and core values are for originality, freedom and an undying thirst to “keep it real” with the aim of communicating their message, giving maximum pleasure, developing a lifestyle and sharing the experience. I can vouch for some of that. The La Folie Douce restaurant and bar on the slopes in Val d’Isere has a living backdrop of dancers, divas, DJ’s and fun-seekers of all ages and I’ve been swept up more than once in the intoxicating ambience. It’s a heady mix of high-quality cuisine and high-altitude clubbing.

Well into their third decade the La Folie Douce brand is thriving and still going strong and now they plan to expand into the hotel industry. The first phase is well underway with an establishment in Chamonix that was opened in time for the start of the 2018/19 ski season.

Cocorico

Just beside the main lift in the town, Cocorico gets jammed packed very early and from start to finish its buzzing. Full to capacity with happy smiling people, young and old alike. The party is in the open air, so ski there and join the fun. Always a crush but always seems to be good spirited as people hassle for space. Dancing on tables seems to be essential and is encouraged. The legendary après sessions at Cocorico are not to be missed! They’ve got an even bigger and better outdoor terrace and bar for you to party on this winter, along with a huge sound system.

A mixture of live music and Dj’s with lots of classic anthems that has everybody joining in. It’s a bonus that you are already back in town and can stay much longer without worrying about having to ski home with wobbly legs. Cocorico is open from 2pm until 8pm every day.

Petit Danois

A lively bar with great live music and professional DJs that works for any age group!
You could find yourself going for one drink and ending up staying most of the night. I was there a couple of weeks ago when a great, if slightly inept duo were entertaining the crowd. Karen and Andreas had everyone dancing and singing along.

I suppose you have to be in the mood but then that’s what après ski is all about. You get a toffee vodka shot with every drink, for free, and 2 for 1 drinks from 4pm to 5pm. The food was very good and the bar and restaurant staff were very friendly and helpful. It seems a really well run venue with a good team. I hear it is very lively after 11 with the younger crowd. A great vibe. As in my past posts, Trip Advisor raises it’s ugly head again. This place has had some shocking reviews. Seemingly a lot of people have taken issue with the curry. I honestly couldn’t complain though, I had a good time there but I swerved the curry, just in case.

Bananas

Great location, right next to the main ski lifts and on the edge of the nursery slopes at Bellevarde. Run by the ever-welcoming and super-friendly Ricky who is born and bred in Val d’Isere and also one of the best skiers there. A small and cosy bar but with some super-sunny seats outside on a small terrace. Bananas is made up of two separate bars – one for beer and one for spirits. A clever incentive, if ever I saw one, not to mix your drinks!

There’s a great atmosphere inside, with a cocktail menu that champions pint-sized mixtures such as the Titanic, a lethal blend of curacao and vodka. Bananas is a massive hit with the locals and the ski bums, so book to avoid disappointment. It is also a great place for an après ski beer or an evening drink. The food is also a reason to stop by, with a fusion of Tex Mex and Indian dishes making up the mouthwatering menu. They also serve burgers and a range of other bar food and snacks. If you’re lucky enough to be in Val d’Isere, make sure you pop into Bananas. Bananas is one of the best places to come for an après-ski beer or three.

The Blue Note Bar

The Blue Note Bar is situated opposite the ESF Ski School on the snow front next to the Hotel Omelune. This hidden gem of a bar is a great place for après. Full of many seasonnaires and locals come down and enjoy The Blue Notes happy hour from 3pm – 6pm with beer and vin chaud on offer along with a delicious plate of homemade hummus, saucisson and olives, The Blue Notes’ famous nibbles!

Lou and Matt have ran The Blue Note for many years and have made this bar very welcoming for all customers be it locals, seassonnaires or holiday makers. Their warm and friendly personalities are what make the bar. They serve a variety of drinks from beers, new ales, a selection of wines and spirits. They also do amazing alcoholic hot chocolates that are perfect after a big day up the mountain. In the evening The Blue Note is a great place to meet friends and enjoy a few drinks whilst listening to their jazz and funk playlist. There is also a pool table, table football and live sports on the TV to keep you entertained throughout the night.

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

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Comments (11)

  1. Julia Harper says:

    I never would have thought of dancing, DJs and clubbing in ski bars that are actually on the snow and resort area. Seems kind of odd, but then again I’ve never been abroad for skiing so I wouldn’t know! I tend to think of chalets and beers and hot drinks with a peaceful atmosphere so it’s good there are places you can let your hair down and let loose if that’s your thing.

    I’m liking the sound of Bananas for being a little cosier with good food. Never been anywhere that split bars for beer and spirits, I guess if you want cocktails you go to spirits so you’re not holding up the beer queue. Shame about the Trip Advisor reviews for the Petit place. It’s hard to know how much stock to take in review sometimes so it’s probably best to give it a go to make up your own mind because as you say, you’ve not had any bad experiences. Sounds like a good time when you went recently, I always enjoy entertainment no matter how bad it may be!

    • Oscar says:

      I’ve got to admit that my reaction was fairly similar to yours Julia, it’s a skiing world that I know very little of.

      I always seem to have my business brainwaves about 3 years after the same idea has made someone else a millionaire but it makes me think if there’s scope for a ski website for resorts like Val d’Isere.

      A week’s skiing can be full on with hardly a moment to breathe. It’s probably good to get an idea of which places are hot before you go. Apres ski venues, restaurants, chalets etc could advertise and you could also have reviews on the website too.

    • Dan Frith says:

      Hi Julia, thanks for your comment. I share your attitude about Trip Advisor reviews.I just pile in with friends and go with the flow. Sometimes a place will disappoint and sometimes it won’t, simples! I’m usually that intent on having a good time I can overlook things that are less than ideal. Sometimes the entertainment can be that bad it’s good.

    • Dan Frith says:

      Oscar,

      You’re right about a weeks skiing being full on. If you want to make the most of your precious time you have to be on it. It can be a bit of a whirlwind but if you’re up for it, you’ll have the best time.

  2. Piers says:

    Dan – I think you’ve got to get your head around how much of a religion finding a great curry is for some people. Many of my mates travel many a mile In search of the ultimate curry. They take it so seriously, talking about heat and texture, that views are bound to creep onto TripAdvisor.

    • Dan Frith says:

      Hi Piers,

      Fair enough! I love a good curry too or even a less than good curry if I’m half way through a session of après ski. I have to say that in general ski resorts aren’t noted for the quality of the curries on offer.

  3. Joe says:

    Well, I certainly didn’t know anything about this ski area in this region of the world. So this article definitely taught me something. I have a few friends who would love this kind of thing. Everybody who works hard in their life deserves this kind of a trip, at least that’s how I felt while reading this. Sounds like a good time and a damn good getaway to relax, enjoy and have some fun.

    • Dan Frith says:

      Hi Joe,

      A spontaneous knees-up in an après ski bar has provided me some of the best times. It’s a great release after an exhilarating day on the slopes.

  4. Sue says:

    This is a really useful guide. From the writing it’s obvious that you’ve spent time at all the spots, thought about them and been honest too.

    And it is so, so good to see realistic criticism in travel writing. I’ve not seen the word “inept” in a review for such a long time. It’s obvious that so much travel writing is fed and controlled by the PR machines. A nice dollop of honesty is much appreciated.

    • Dan Frith says:

      Hi Sue,

      I was being kind when I used the term inept. I have to be honest, it’s in my DNA, i’m from up north and I’m a blunt Yorkshireman. Having said that, I’m more than happy to give credit where it’s due. Thanks for your comment Sue.

  5. Phoenix Robertson says:

    Wow, the other bars seem wild, rowdy, and fun, but Petit Danois and Bananas are more to my pace — and age. I’m all for wild parties but when you’re tired, you just want a comfortable seat and a drink in your hand with good conversations all around. Blue Notes for happy hour at three is certainly a good choice as well. I wouldn’t say no to their unique spiked hot chocolate too.

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