words and photos by: Andrea Peterson
An old Vietnamese Proverb says: “Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet.” But on Salt Lake City’s Main Street—business siblings are even closer. They share a wall. White Horse: Spirits and Kitchen—just opened its doors at 325 Main, the younger sister in the Bourbon House and Whiskey Street family. Apparently, the owners of the three don’t fear sibling rivalry as their newest offspring has a few competitive tricks up her sleeve.
One might ask, why press your luck with another bar? Bourbon House and Whiskey Street are packed most nights. But Manager Anna Thorn says White Horse is headed in another direction. They wanted to expand their cocktail knowledge and branding to “give Salt Lake City another bar vibe.” Where the other two sibs focus on bourbon or whiskey, as their names suggest, White Horse’s piece de resistance is wine and ciders. Fun fact: Cider is monitored by the Utah DABC like wine, which means you can find 6 percent to 8 percent ciders on tap. And that is exactly what White Horse provides. Aside from the large wine selection, White Horse has 10 full strength ciders on draft. You heard me. I’ll raise my glass to that!
Even though Whiskey Street and White Horse share the same brick-and-mortar wall, as well as parent company—they have vastly different personalities. If you’re looking for a classier night out, one without bros yelling at televised sporting events, White Horse would be your option. It’s a bit smaller and more intimate. You will most likely find a 20- and 30-something crowd who want to enjoy a cocktail or two without losing their voices by nights end from yelling across the table.
White Horse’s alcohol selection plays to taste. It’s not about quantity, but quality. They have four different fernets, an aromatic Italian spirit, on the menu and 15 different amaros, aperitifs and digestifs that you can order as shots. “We want to provide more than cocktails,” says Thorn. “We want to engage drinkers to try aperitifs. Or find out what wine or beer would taste best with their meal.” And local products, including Beehive bitters, Madam Pattirini gin and Beehive gin, are on the menu.
Another thing. You’ll not only be drinking well, but walking away with your savories satisfied by Executive Chef Matt Crandall who oversees both White Horse and Whiskey Street.
White Horse isn’t a meat-and-potatoes pub or tiny tapas-style cantina. It’s a place to take you tastebuds for a culinary adventure through some French-inspired dishes. You’ll find on the menu confit duck wings, steak tartare or PB&J Berkshire pork belly. And though we live in a land-locked desert, one of the favorites on the menu is oysters. The delectable bivalves are flown in from the east or west coast—sea to plate within 24 hours. That’s about as fresh as anyone can ask for in the Mountain West.
Another one of my favorite things about this joint is the cheekiness behind it’s name White Horse. No, it’s not a dark nod to heroin or cocaine. The name comes from Mormon cultural history. The religion’s so-called White Horse Prophecy warns the United States Constitution will one day “hang like a thread” and will be saved “by the efforts of a white horse,” which some say is a reference to a Mormon leader. (Read the full prophecy on the first page of the menu and think about Mitt Romney.) Regardless of your political leanings, a White Horse intervention probably doesn’t sound like a bad idea right now.
“I love the local cocktail scene in Utah,” says Thorn. ” Its fun to see a new cocktail bar popping up in Salt Lake City every couple of months.” Her recommendation for the best cocktail on their list is Anna’s Frisbee Camp, which she admits is hers, so she might be biased. For what it’s worth, I tried it and I’ll order another round the next time I grab a seat at the Horse.
325 South Main S. Salt Lake City, Utah