• Megan

The 40 Year Anniversary of Dick’s Tea Bar

Back in January BC (Before Covid), I was tasked with organising the 40th Anniversary Party of Dick’s Tea Bar in Val d’Isere. 

If you’ve ever been to Val, you’ve been to Dicks. The ‘World Famous’ nightclub has been named the Best Nightclub in the Alps multiple times and for good reason. In its’ 40 years, it has been the stomping ground of everyone from Seasonaires to Celebrities. There have been many a sore head on the piste the morning after the night before at DTB!

While the legendary founder, Dick Yates-Smith, no longer owns the club, we invited him back for the occasion. Over the weeks it took to prepare for the event, I heard many stories from Dick about how things used to be at the club. He DJ’ed at the party, just as he had done back in the 80s, but this time on CDJs (digitally) instead of on Vinyl- I was very impressed at how quickly he picked it up. His set started the night before a speech thanking everyone for attending and Pocket Sized Dave then took over the decks. Myself and the other Resident DJ kept the party going until the early hours.

One of the stories that he told was about the opening; apparently there were only a few people there and one of them was a dog! He also explained that the name was because he didn’t want to be seen as competing with the Hotel Bars in town, so he called it a ‘Tea Bar’ hoping to throw them off the scent that he was selling liquor. Tea Bar is obviously a play on words too as it is another name for the type of Drag Lift not favoured by Snowboarders. Another favourite story, that I’m sure he won’t mind me telling as it was mentioned in his Radio Interview and in the speech, is the infamous Ice Story. When the bar first opened, they didn’t have an ice machine but would get a few trays of it from the Restaurant next door each night. However, if they sold more drinks than they had ice for then they would go outside with a bucket to get some snow and squeeze fistfuls of it to make ‘ice’ for the drinks. The problem was that there were no toilets in the original bar, so people would go outside the back door when they were really desperate to… relieve themselves. This meant the Staff would have to be very careful about where they got the bucket of Snow from! Health and Safety regulations these days would never allow for that, but this was back in the day so they got away with a lot more then! Dick is much better at telling the story than me, as well as many other stories.


Preview of the Interview that Dick did with Radio TV Val d’Isere about the 40th Anniversary (in French)

Here’s a selection of some of the (hundreds) of photos that Dick has collected over the years and that were on display that night. It was hard to choose just a few as the Mullet, Moustache and Goggle Tan game was so strong in so many of the photos- you can clearly spot the Ski Instructors too as not much has changed in their style! The retro fashion is also notable and definitely seems to be coming back around in recent years, although the Blue Mascara is pretty questionable. Many of the Staff and Regulars travelled from all over the world to come back for the party and I recognised some of them from the photos.

This is my ‘Behind the Scenes’ Vlog of the event:


With Christmas Eve (always a big night), Christmas, New Years Eve and the Anniversary Party in just over a week, I was pretty exhausted by the time the party came around but it was such a great night and well worth the effort.

I’d love to interview Dick Yates-Smith for The Rise Guide to share some more of his stories, so watch out for that article soon!