Since it opened in 2009, the High West Distillery & Saloon has become a favorite watering hole and a cherished modern relic of Park City’s mining heritage. Founder David Perkins’ unconventional idea to open a whiskey distillery in the most unlikely of states is exactly the kind of candor that whiskey should come with. The last distillery to open in Utah was in 1870.
Perkins brought his vision to life in two historic buildings in the Old Town section of Park City at the base of the town ski lift. One was formerly a private residence and one of only a few remaining two-story Victorian style pyramid homes in Park City. The other was the National Garage, originally a livery stable for the workhorses that pulled heavy ore carts back and forth from silver mines. After four years and $3 million of renovating, the distillery and saloon opened for business at the end of 2009.
The bar area bodes a 19th century Western feel gently polished with an air of contemporary sophistication. A single piece of California Douglas Fir, persevered from a 100-mile long railway trestle that stretched over the Great Salt Lake in the early to mid 1900s, serves as the main bar top. Fascinating cowboy photographs by artist David Levinthal blazon the saloon walls. Even the Hammerton light fixtures incorporate materials that underscore the distillery’s mining heritage: Oat-hued burlap appropriately adorns the drum lights in the former livery stable for mine workhorses, Fixture lenses of honey calcite, mined exclusively in Utah, diffuses light in the stairwell, and antique iron finishes on multiple fixtures recapture the original ore carts.
Have you ‘whiskey’d’ and dined at the High West? Tell us what you thought!