The New Bar-X 

click to enlarge ERIK DAENITZ
There are a couple things to know right off the bat about the “new” Bar-X. Yes, you can still get the infamous tankards full of Bud or Bud Light for cheap, but you can also get them filled with a selection of local microbrews for not much more. And yes, there is a menu of $9 specialty cocktails that will make hardheaded patrons of the old beer-only Bar-X cringe. But once you taste drinks like the Sazarac—rye whiskey, sugar, Peychaud’s bitters, served in an absinthe-coated glass—you realize those cocktails are totally worth the money.

Co-owner Jeff Barnard compares the handcrafted cocktails to buying something at Tulie Bakery versus a grocery-store bakery: “The time and care is different, as is the price. We put all this love into the cocktail.

“I’ve been working on this for four years,” Barnard said. “There’s starting to be a better restaurant scene in Salt Lake, but I didn’t think the bar scene was keeping up.”

Keeping the vibe of the old Bar-X—including those stylish wagon-wheel light fixtures—was important to the new owners, a group led by Barnard (owner of JMR Chalk Garden and the Lola Bella boutiques) that also includes Richard Noel (who works with Jeff at JMR), Duncan Burrell (who is married to Noel’s sister) and Ty Burrell (Duncan’s brother, who plays Phil Dunphy on ABC’s Modern Family and is married to a Utahn himself).

Get all that? Bar-X is again sort of a family business.

“It was a pretty easy sell to the rest of us because Jeff’s really committed to keeping the integrity of the bar intact,” Ty Burrell said a couple days before the soft opening. Bar-X is open now at 4 p.m. daily, and will host a grand opening party Jan. 26.

BAR-X
155 E. 200 South
801-355-2287

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