Life returns to The Palace

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenDecember 21, 2010

Music and laughter have returned to the Crystal Palace.

The Palace on opening night.
The singing waiters are gone. Broadway show tunes are a thing of the past. But under the management of longtime Aspen bar and restaurant owner Greg Jurgensen, the joint is jumping once again.

The Palace, as it is now called, kicked off the winter last Thursday with Bobby Mason and Suzanne Paris belting out rock and roll, accompanied by Michael Jude and John Michel of the John Oates Band.

A lively crowd showed up for the event, celebrating the new venture with usual Aspen gusto.

The space on the corner of Hyman Avenue and South Monarch Street is still one of the most charming in town. Chandeliers and stained glass still dominate the interior. The room where Mead Metcalf and his crew once made the place famous as a satirical music revue is now equipped with a long bar and space for live bands, and Jurgensen has placed sofas in the room's upper deck for maximum lounging. The main lobby is still grand with tables and chairs for food and drinks, and an organ in the corner.

Patrons line up for drinks at The Palace.

Lunch and dinner are also served with a menu featuring house-made selections that Jergensen is still tweaking. Returning the town's former après-ski glory is one of Jergensen's missions. As a former bartender at the now defunct and legendary Tippler bar at the base of Aspen Mountain, he knows the magic that can be created when people from around the world are swilling beer in their ski boots.

In addition to The Palace, Jergensen is also the owner of the Mexican-themed Mustang on Hyman Avenue, formerly the home of Club Chelsea. That space, however, is now up for sale, he confirmed.

Of course before there was The Palace, there was the Crystal Palace — the famous dinner theater that Metcalf ran for over 50 years, staging more than 10,000 shows. It closed in 2008.

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