Citizens Cocktails & Kitchen joins the Avenues’ culinary community 

Salt Lake’s bright-eyed bar community has long outgrown the boundaries of Downtown, and now some of the most sought-after bars have found homes in the Central Ninth district and Sugarhouse neighborhood. Joining the roster of elevated cocktail lounges in SLC, Citizens Cocktails and Kitchen is breaking new ground in the Avenues area, and providing its residents with a fresh and modern sipping experience.  

Opened in October of 2023, Citizens is the brainchild of Bryan Wrigley, CEO of Lotus Hospitality, who enlisted the help of long-time industry professionals Dave Morris and Jason Stucki to bring his vision to fruition. Their goal was to create a laid-back space where guests could spark conversation with knowledgeable bartenders, or simply sit back with a local brew and enjoy the skyline views on the patio. “We want everyone to feel included at Citizens, and consider it a true third place,” says general manager Casey Bright. The space exudes a sort of neighborly warmth, but the interiors are still filled with thoughtful decor and upscale character—as ensured by interior designer Michael Hennessy. Imported Indian marble, reclaimed Burmese teak wood and a swath of mid-century details add to Citizen’s overall trendy but timeless vibe. 

The arrival of Citizens also marks a new era for the Capitol Hill/Avenues community, who typically must venture South in search of their nightcaps. In the six months since they’ve been open, the bar has already gotten a lot of feedback from imbibers who are happy to find a place serving up quality cocktails in the Avenues. “We really wanted to enhance that area of Salt Lake,” Morris says, referring to the neighborhood that houses culinary powerhouses like Oquirrh, Current and Gourmandise. Now, the area has an approachable cocktail bar serving up house-made creations from their bartenders and plenty of booze-forward classics. 

Salt Lake Bars
Photo credit Elizabeth Hoggan

Citizen’s extensive cocktail menu focuses on local ingredients and seasonal flavors, while catering to a wide variety of tastes. A house-favorite, the Ponderosa features a spirited mix of Gin, Genepy and Vermouth, rounded out by rosemary thyme syrup and lime juice. Other favorites include the Citizens Old Fashion and Lavender Espresso Martini. I expect the ‘Cool Kids Spicy Margarita’ to gain favor this summer, which puts a spin on the classic marg with hot honey, cucumber and jalapeno. Citizens also offers an assortment of shareables and Pinsa’s (Roman-style flatbread), including a roasted beet salad, whipped brie and a charcuterie platter. The menu is expected to fluctuate with the seasons, and for the summer Citizens is also serving brunch on the weekend from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

While Citizens might be one of few in the Avenues area, they have put in the effort to be a part of the larger bar scene here in Salt Lake. In late 2023, Citizens hosted their first pop-up in collaboration with Caviar Club, a vinyl listening party, and local Chef Manny L. Acero, which featured Latin dishes and wine pairings from Libations. More recently Citizens welcomed Bitter Lovers, the amaro-loving bartender Jordan Strang and food wizard Jozef Ezra. “We love pop-ups because of how many different groups they bring together,” marketing manager Cameron Egan says. “We’ll try and host them at least once a month.” 

Keep an eye out for the next pop-up or event at Citizens by following them on Instagram @slcitizens, and stop by for all the summer patio vibes!   

If You Go…

Citizens Cocktails & Kitchen
33 S. 300 East, SLC 
Instagram @slcitizens

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Avrey Evans
Avrey Evans
Avrey Evans is the Digital and the Nightlife Editor of Salt Lake Magazine. She has been writing for city publications for six years and enjoys covering the faces and places of our salty city, especially when a boozy libation is concerned.

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