The long-awaited spin-off of Bar-X focusing on craft beers and bratwursts, simply named Beer Bar, is finally open in downtown Salt Lake City. Located right next door to its cocktail-shaking sibling, the brew-based bar is quite a contrast from the dark bar on 200 South.
The first thing you’ll notice about Beer Bar is that it’s much bigger and brighter than Bar-X. Large windows line the front, letting natural light fill the space to create a more casual atmosphere. Continuing with the laid-back theme, communal picnic tables run the length of the interior with a few smaller tables in the corner. The main bar is at the back, where ordering food and drinks take place.
Beer Bar pours nearly 30 brews on tap—conveniently aimed toward the customer so you can see what they have—along with another 140 in bottles, beer cocktails and a handful of wines. The staff is primed with beer knowledge and can answer questions or recommend a drink if you can’t decide what to order, which might be a common problem with such a massive selection. I also noted that beers are served in the correct glasses (like wine, certain beers deserve specific glasses).
The other main feature of Beer Bar is the food, a collaboration between Viet Pham, co-owner and former chef of Forage, and Chef Frody Volgger, formerly of Vienna Bistro and now manning the butcher chop at Caputo’s Market. The menu is mostly sausages and bratwursts, all made with local ingredients especially for Beer Bar.
There are a handful of options, like the Swiss Bratwurst ($7.50) and Lamb and Herb Sausage ($8.50), and those made with chicken, buffalo and elk. All come on freshly baked bread from Eva’s Bakery in Salt Lake City. Each comes with a choice of two toppings (sauerkraut, chimichurri, spicy peppers, sweet peppers and/or caramelized onions) and can be personalized to your liking with house-made mustards made by Viet Pham that line the tables.
Side options are salads (side size, $2.50 or $9 for entree size) or double dipped Belgian Fries ($4.50 for small, $5.50 for large). There are a wide range of dipping sauces for the fries, like roasted jalapeno aioli and curry ketchup (small fries get one free, large get two or 75¢ each), also made by Viet Pham.
And fear not, non-beer drinkers :: Beer Bar and Bar X will interconnect with each other, not just be next door neighbors. Beer Bar also has TVs (which were playing sports when I was there), so I predict it will be a great place for game day. Anyone for beers, brats and baseball? Count me in.
Go to Beer Bar for :: beers and brats, what else? Notes :: Open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m.-2 a.m. and Sundays 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Beer Bar is located 161 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City.
A special thanks to Visit Salt Lake for inviting me to the media preview of Beer Bar last week. As always, all opinions are my own.