Some people spend their whole lives chasing their dreams. For Matt Lake, his life path became clear at the young age of 11. His parents took over a general store and began a small deli catering business, and Matt quickly dove into the family business. Whether helping run an event, putting together deli trays, or interacting with customers, Matt fell in love with the food industry. And he fell hard. So hard, in fact, that at the ripe age of 18 he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America. And he’s been on the food path ever since.
We’re incredibly proud of the growing food scene in Utah, and are constantly amazed by the innovators, dreamers, and eaters who are shaping the future of our state’s culinary landscape. We’re always excited to invite brand new restaurants onto the show to help you discover the hidden gems around the state.
Prior to 2010, if you mentioned Bar X to a Salt Lake City resident, a very particular image came to mind: dive bar, cheap beer, no women allowed (until 1986, that is). It wouldn’t necessarily be considered a downtown hot spot that locals and visitors flocked to. But when Bar X went up for sale, a very ambitious group had a vision for what Downtown Salt Lake City could be, and knew that a revamped Bar X was the starting point.
This new group of owners, with Richard Noel and Duncan Burrell at the forefront, were inspired by the craft beer and cocktail communities growing in New York City and Los Angeles, and wanted to bring the Portland feel to the growing Salt Lake City community. This marriage of ideas led to Bar X opening as one of the first hand crafted cocktail bars in Salt Lake City. Immediately locals flocked to the new bar, and word spread quickly. With a staff full of cocktail connoisseurs and a creative energy that flows throughout the entire space, Bar X threw down the gauntlet for all future development downtown.
After an incredibly successful launch and initial few years, Richard and Duncan’s love for craft brewing developed into Beer Bar, a beer centric bar that offers the widest beer selection in the state, perfectly paired with a sausage menu that is locally made and bursting with flavor. With very distinct vibes and different offerings, Bar X and Beer Bar work in tandem to provide a variety of experiences all within close proximity.
Six years later, Bar X and it’s attached sister, Beer Bar, have introduced a new vibe and quality of nightlife that was a first in Salt Lake City. With hand-crafted cocktails made of high-quality ingredients and fresh squeezed juice, these two downtown staples jumpstarted a revitalization for the cocktail and beer scene in Salt Lake City.
Join us as we sit down with Richard Noel, Duncan Burrell, and Jeff Barnard as they tell us the fascinating story behind these two popular destinations, and how their vision and passion led to the creation of these unique bars.