A Toast to the Duchin Lounge

If you are over 21 and have visited Sun Valley once or spent your whole life here, chances are, you have memories of time spent at the Sun Valley Lodge’s elegant watering hole, the Duchin Lounge, commonly known as the Duchin Room.

Come to the storied, elegant Duchin Lounge on Sunday and toast the watering hole's rich history

Come to the storied, elegant Duchin Lounge on Sunday and toast the watering hole’s rich history

With the fabulous, imminent renovation of the iconic Lodge, the Duchin Room will close its doors until next June this Sunday night, August 31. But the doors are not closing quietly! From 8:30 p.m. until midnight the Duchin Lounge will host a big party featuring some of the best live music anywhere. The legendary Joe Fos Trio will delight the audience with stylings that draw fans from all over the world. Favorites Paul Tillotson and Brooks Hartell will also keep the jazz going as drinks are poured and the new era of the Sun Valley Lodge is toasted.

When the Lodge was being built, much focus was on the novel exterior but the interior got a good deal of TLC from bandleader Eddy Duchin's wife Marjorie

When the Lodge was being built, much focus was on the novel exterior but the interior, including the bar off the main lobby,  got a good deal of TLC from bandleader Eddy Duchin’s wife Marjorie

Revel in the tradition that started when the Lodge was first built more than 75 years ago. When Sun Valley was just taking shape as the preeminent year-round resort in America, Marjorie Oelrichs Duchin was hard at work envisioning interiors to welcome the notable guests she knew would flock to rural Idaho once the resort was built. Wife of famed bandleader Eddy Duchin, Majorie created a colorful, simple and comfortable environment. Sun Valley visionary Averell Harriman was so pleased with her efforts, he honored her by naming the bar just off the main lobby in her honor. Bet you thought it was named for her husband. I know I did!

Friendly, knowledgeable bartenders are a big part of the Duchin experience and why people come back time and again

Friendly, knowledgeable bartenders are a big part of the Duchin experience and why people come back time and again

From that time on, the Duchin Room became a favorite gathering place for all the beautiful people – whether they were from Hollywood or just down the road. In the ensuing years, the lounge gone through numerous incarnations, sometimes incorporating a restaurant, other times acting primarily as a bar, but it was always a central part of the Sun Valley experience.

Dancing to the best live music has always been part of the Duchin experience

Dancing to the best live music has always been part of the Duchin experience

I have many fond memories of the Duchin Room. In the winter, it is the perfect place to gather with friends après ski to compare runs, enjoy a toe-warming coffee drink (Frangelico is my favorite) and listen to live music. In the summer, I have spent many a night sipping drinks like the signature “Stumbling Islander,” (described as “a Mai Tai on steroids) on the Duchin deck admiring the figure skaters and just taking in the beautiful environs. Many special birthday parties have started or ended in the Duchin Lounge as have celebrations of every stripe. If you want to go somewhere where you are just as welcome in ski boots as stilettos, this is the place. My particular favorite spot to survey the scene was the high booths in the back of the room. This perch offered a great view of the entire room and a lot of privacy

Don't miss the incomparable Paul Tillotson Sunday night

Don’t miss the incomparable Paul Tillotson Sunday night

Joe Fos' loyal fan base stretches around the world. He will play with his Trio Sunday night

Joe Fos’ loyal fan base stretches around the world. He will play with his Trio Sunday night

I am not certain what the “new” Duchin Room will look like when it reopens June 2015, but it is sure to be elegant, comfortable and true to its long history

Let’s raise a glass to the Duchin Room and all the memories that have been created there. But even grande dames occasionally benefit from a little facelit and I look forward to seeing how the Duchin Room emerges after the spring.

Raise a glass to the Duchin before it temporarily shuts its doors on Sunday. Thanks for the memories!

Raise a glass to the Duchin before it temporarily shuts its doors on Sunday. Thanks for the memories!

And don’t worry. The Ram Bar at the Sun Valley Inn will remain open and pouring the best libations all fall, winter and spring. This warm, comfortable room offers a different feel than the Duchin but it a wonderful place to sip and savor the Sun Valley experience.

Cheers!

–RES