Last year, I became Snowsbest’s sacrificial lamb on a food and drinks tour of Thredbo.
We kicked off with boozy hot chocolates in the morning and carried on through to cocktails in the evening, consuming about four million calories and every possible alcoholic beverage in the process. All for you, our loyal readers, in the name of research.
The result? The ultimate guide to the best après spots in the Aussie resort known for on-mountain good times. But now, thanks to COVID-19 we’ve had to amend those recommendations and update the guide to be Covid Safe and socially distanced friendly to ensure we have a healthy ski season.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the best food and wine on offer responsibly.
You can still eat, you can still drink, you just do it in a room with less people. Thredbo venues are subject to New South Wales Government restrictions and all guests must be seated, so maybe save the dancing on tables for 2021.
We’ll all need to let loose by then. In the meantime, try these.
You’ll need a lift ticket to get to this one, but there’s something more noble about a drink when you feel like you’ve earned it with a chairlift ride, especially if it happens to be at 9:30am. Perched high above Thredbo Village at 1937m, Eagles Nest is officially Australia’s Highest Restaurant, so there’s something exciting to add to the Instagram caption of your delicious beverage.
To get there, strap on your board or click into your skis and ride the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift to the top. Then it’s time to order your hot-chocolate-inspired poison of choice – jaffa (featuring Grand Marnier), mint slice (peppermint schnapps), Nutella (with Frangelico), bounty (coconut rum) or a spicy hot chocolate (spicy and hot schnapps).
Drink up your hot chocolates and cut your skis on corduroy for a hot lap down to Kareela Hutte. This is the best possible place to be in 2020, the year of no international travel, because it’s Australian styled Switzerland on steroids. Think luxe, ski-in, ski-out in the Australian ski fields, and a major fan favourite which has been getting people rowdy since 1959.
In 2019 it was the kind of place you can kick off with a shot ski, in 2020 order a stein of bier seated at your table and channel Oktoberfest, because, well, when in Europe right? Then move onto the schnitzels, the giant baked pretzels, the mushroom spatzle, the housemade apple strudel and best of all the champagne cheese fondue of your dreams.
It’s tough to get a booking this season due to capacity requirements. Our tip? Drop in to the Hutte on day one of your trip to enquire about seatings available that week.
Merritts Mountain House
Feeling merry after the Euro vibes? Keep them going at Merritts, easily accessible from the new Merritts Gondola, or from the bottom of the Cruiser chair.
At this point, you’ll likely find yourself drawn towards what they like to call ‘schnappy hour’, which is exactly what it sounds like… a lot of cheap schnapps, generally from local distillery and favourite Wild Brumby. Again, stay seated. If you must dance then do it with your arms.
House of Ullr
If you’re here then you’ve made it down to the village! It’s time to move on from your tour of Europe and venture onto Central America by testing the fare at The Mad Mexican, located at House of Ullr in the heart of Thredbo village.
Think bulk tacos in taco shells handmade by the chefs, along with tostadas, chargrilled street corn and churros to finish. And in the interest of rounding out the experience, you might also enjoy a jug of frozen après margaritas while you’re there.
The Après Bar
The Après Bar at The Denman is the late-night haunt to beat them all. Ski boots have always been welcome and encouraged here, and you’ll likely leave with a story or two that you’ve enjoyed over a cocktail (or a champagne-themed headband that you’ve talked a bartender into giving you, ahem). In 2020 there’s no dancing on tables but there is drinking at them. Try the Amaretto Sour and go all old school.
All up, there are still over 30 places to relax, sip and dine in Thredbo in 2020. Check out the full list here and keep in mind that bookings are generally essential across the board for COVID times.
*Natalia was hosted by Thredbo Resort and House of Ullr
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