There’s no better way to celebrate a great day on the slopes than with a few well earned après-ski drinks amongst friends. Whether you prefer to soak up the last of the afternoon sun with a quiet beer or dance on the tables in your ski boots, Courchevel has no shortage of great spots where you can amuse yourself when the lifts shut for the day. Here are a few suggestions:
Courchevel (formerly 1850)
The glitziest, and most expensive village in Courchevel, it will come as little surprise that the nightlife scene here comes at a price. Not only are drinks prices scarily high in many establishments but the rising costs in resort have negatively impacted on the bar scene with many places shutting down in recent years to make way for expensive shops, chalets and restaurants. What remains are some seriously over-priced French clubs filled with Russian Oligarchs quaffing magnums of champagne and only a handful of bars worthy of a mention:
Le Refuge - This intimate French bar in the centre of town is the place to be in 1850. With a chilled atmosphere, live music and reasonably priced drinks, it attracts holiday makers and locals alike.
Ku-de-ta/Kalikos - Following a brief name change last year, Ku-de-ta is rumoured to be regaining its former title and hoping to take back its crown as the hub of the 1850 party scene. To be run by an English couple, who formerly ran the Milk Bar, Ku-de-ta/Kalikos in the place you always end up. You're never sure why, but invariably it's a good night.
Courchevel Moriond (formerly 1650)
With an ever shrinking selection of bars in 1850, Courchevel Moriond is the unofficial hub of Courchevel after dark. With a wide array of bars to suit every taste there are après bands, rustic French bars and DJs filling the dance floor til the early hours. Here's our pick of the best:
La Boulotte - Following the unrefuted success of Katie's Thursday night après offerings in recent years, this year the Boulotte will be hosting après bands four nights a week - and we can't wait! In a rustic Savoyard setting, this place really earned its reputation as the place not to miss and come Thursday every man, his dog and seemingly half the resort piles into this small bar, raising the roof and the temperature to near boiling point. Not unlike an Austrian après bar this place really goes off, and its not uncommon to see people dance on the tables or crowd-surf by. This isn't for the fainthearted but it is a lot of fun so make an early evening visit a priority on your next trip. This is also possibly the best lunch spot in 1650 for home-cooked hearty fare that won't break the bank.
Funky Fox - Knows how to throw a party! But following a revamp the Fox is expanding its offering this winter, serving food and sharing platters as its ventures into the early evening scene. Every Tuesday they'll be hosting their usual DJ sets and to add some variety they'll be showcasing an array of musical talent each Friday night with everything from Blues and Saxophone, to Beat Boxing and Drum and Bass. So every good night in 1650 will not only end in the Fox but may well start there too!
Le Bubble - This English-owned bar serves reasonably priced drinks and its famous paninis. Frequent live music and friendly staff make this a popular hang out around the clock.
Le Cabane - Super-small French bar in the centre of town its friendly staff serves wine and beers and oddly seafood, with a mini bar outside as well.
Le Schuss - This atmospheric typically Savoyard French bar is a good option if you need reminding you've left England. But be prepared to pay for the privilege with higher than average drink prices and less than friendly staff.
Rockys - A somewhat clean slate, Rockys has a decent happy hour and shows sport if you want to catch the match, but we wouldn't rush here to soak up the atmosphere.
Courchevel Village (formerly 1550)
Like in 1850, the bar scene in Courchevel Village has taken a hit this season with only two bars surviving the cull:
Chanrossa - Formerly run by an English company, this will be French run this year so watch this space for what to expect....
Le Caterail - Formerly Baroeuf this new French-run bar is promising live music every Thursday from 10pm and describes itself as a Vodka bar....a little tasting and exploration might be in order.
Courchevel Le Praz
The most French of the Courchevel villages, Le Praz oodles character. No truer example of that can be found than the presence of the first drinking hole recommended and our top tip for your holiday:
Le Cave des Lys - This adorable French wine bar is set in a traditional French cave, with low, domed ceilings and atmospheric lighting. With varied seating from intimate corners to high stalls it's perfect for romantic evenings or drinks with friends. What really sets this place apart from the rest though is its extensive wine selection at reasonable prices. You simply select your tipple from the list or from the stacks on the shelves which line the room and make sure you sample some of their incredible nibbles and charcuterie. With super-friendly service to boot this local secret won't stay so for long so make this wine bar a must on your next visit.
L'escourchevel (AKA the Pizzeria) - Weekly live music, pool tables and decent comfort food make this place a popular haunt however the service leaves a lot to be desired sending many customers elsewhere.
Drop Inn - This relatively new bar to the Le Praz scene is proving a hit. The drinks are cheap and staff friendly and there's pool to keep you entertained. Don't miss Wine Wednesday with all glasses only €3 all day (except their house which is only €2) and free nibbles to boot. They have a fantastic selection of wines from around the world so this is a deal not to be sniffed at.
Although renowned as a family-friendly resort La Tania has plenty to keep you entertained long into the evening:
Ski Lodge - The heart of LaT's nightlife scene, the Ski Lodge is always a good night out with friends. They serve reasonable and tasty lunches at the foot of the piste on a bustling terrace, and a popular happy hour. Frequent live bands and ski raffles keep the place pumping most nights of the week so keep your eyes peeled for the events kicking off during your stay.
La Taiga - The Ski Lodge's more sophisticated sister bar, the Taiga serves cocktails in a relaxed setting with a roaring fire. Live music on a Sunday night, and great food keeps this place popular with a slightly older clientele.
Chrome Bar - Right at the food of the piste, the Chrome bar does possibly the cheapest burgers in resort, and they're decent too so a great choice for an affordable lunch. Drinks are reasonable and there's live music to keep drinkers entertained.
Telemark - Relaxed bar in heart of La Tania's chalets which serves great pizzas and occasional live music of a more relaxed nature.
So, when you dust off the powder and hang up your skis or board after a long day on the hill there's plenty to keep you entertained long into the night. And if you follow our tips it needn't require you to start auctioning off body parts. Although after a night on the popular super-strength lager, Mutzig (6.9%), you may just wish you could. The saying goes: "Mutzig made me do it.....". You have been warned!