Cozy up to the marble bar to sip an exceptional Manhattan made with locally distilled bourbon and rye. Served in Luigi Bornioli glassware from Italy, it comes garnished with Luxardo cherries, and is best enjoyed with caviar, crème fraiche, and a few revered Bonilla a la Vista potato chips. Fresh from the slopes of nearby Killington Ski Resort and the Saskadena Six Ski Area (formerly known as Suicide 6), a mix of spiffed-up locals and skiers fill the Parisian-style café chairs to nibble on delectable cheeses and charcuterie. Owner Zoe Zilian, the consummate hostess, hops table-to-table to greet them all.

When she arrives back at the bar, she compliments my order. Manhattans are her favorite drink, she confides. To accompany, she’d searched tirelessly for the perfect chip to scoop caviar and ultimately discovered a Spanish brand that only uses cuttings from the center of the potato. Originally from Camden, Maine, Zilian has been wanderlust-struck since first skiing as a child in Europe with her family. She travels regularly to Europe and modeled Au Comptoir (French for “at the bar”) after some of her favorite cafes and bars, sourcing décor from flea markets and antique shops.

The bar is Zilian’s second act. For more than a decade, she ran cult Woodstock ceramics studio, Farmhouse Pottery, but as the business grew her passion faded. In 2020, she sold her share and set her sights on re-imagining the former auto shop of Laurence S. Rockefeller into her dream drinking den. A year of renovating the 1915 building brought it back to life with vintage veneer brick flooring and reclaimed Vermont barnwood. Dutch doors spill out onto a patio with firepits, and taxidermy and Old-World oil paintings hang from the walls of the 30-seat bar area.

Au Comptoir transports us straight to a buzzy après bar in Cortina or Zermatt with a mellow jazz soundtrack and cocktails crafted from fresh ingredients. The team makes juices daily, boils down syrups, and even makes orgeat and orange bitters in-house. A half-dozen signature cocktails are complemented by seasonal recipes, like a smoked old fashioned, and mocktails such as the Sapling, made with Vermont apple cider, house-made cinnamon syrup, and fresh lemon. There’s also a selection of organic and biodynamic wines.

Zilian loves eating at bars and while there is no kitchen, she’s curated a menu of small bites that could easily add up to a meal. Marcona almonds and buttery Castelvetrano olives arrive in Farmhouse Pottery ramekins, and pickled mussels and mackerel filets from Island Creek are served Spanish-style, straight from the tin. One of few spots open until 10 p.m. in Woodstock, Au Comptoir offers a nightcap menu of amaros and ports that Zilian suggests pairing with a Tavernier chocolate bar. And yes, if you want your Heady Topper, you can get that here, too.