Dicks Tea Bar, the iconic nightclub in Val d’Isère and Meribel for all ski bums, celebrities and royalty alike for over 30 years, and The Den restaurant and bar in Meribel, are under the new management of WhiteCap Ski for the 2011 ski season, now open and providing rights of passage to all and sundry who wish to partake in a dash of après-ski activity.
WhiteCap Ski is owned by 26-year-old entrepreneurs Seb Hall and Alex Fateh. Both regulars at the previous incarnation of Dicks, they noticed that although the venues were integral to their respective resorts, a new breed of “alpine nightclub bum” demanded more than the venues could offer. It was decided that a full upgrade was needed; by combining the necessities for après-ski, namely fun, service, drinks choice and good music, Dicks is aiming to take ski nightclubs into the 21st century.
Dicks Tea Bar was opened in 1979 by Dick Yates-Smith. Under his guidance the name became synonymous amongst the great and the not-so-good, the jet set and celebrities that would inhabit Dicks. Dick sold the group in 1997 to Brown Rock, who in time sold it to Mark Warner. Whitecap Ski is the first small ‘family’ organisation to hold the chain since Dick Yates-Smith.
Seb Hall says, “Although customers have remained loyal and still go to Dicks in their thousands, a new lease of life and a facelift was clearly needed. Improvements will see new lighting and sound systems installed as well as a complete new layout, new furniture and improved service across the board.”
Dicks has always been known as a “seasoaniare’s” second home. A large part of this is because of the drinks on offer. Whitecap Ski has will be introducing an improved table service that offers a range of premium vodkas and Champagne as well as the obvious beer, wine and spirits. Other new additions include ‘The Dicks Ice Tea’, a booze-packed blue alpine variation on its Long Island cousin. ‘The Ski Boot’, a 4-liter vodka-Champagne cocktail served in a ceramic boot-shaped vessel, is also now available, table service only. The procession received when ordering ‘The Ski Boot’ is worth it alone. Dry ice, sparklers, you get the gist.
An equally exciting prospect within the group is the creation of ‘The Den’, Meribel’s first gastro bar which is replacing Pizza Express above Dicks. Customers will now be able to enjoy a warm, comfy, wooden floored haven whilst listening to live music and sampling a reasonably priced menu that brings something different to Meribel. The diverse choice offers tapas-style dishes and sharer plates from across the globe. The ever-changing menu ranges from crispy duck pancakes to cottage pie, to a cheese board from the local fromagerie.