With the luscious growth of Salt Lake City comes the entrepreneurial buzz from ambitious and unrestrained self-starters. Within this valuable group of people are locals—and business owners—Jacob Hall, Chase Worthen, Fernando Lazalde and Michael Askerlund. On the weekend of Sept. 4–6, these gentlemen kicked off their journey opening Downtown Salt Lake City’s latest watering hole, Alibi Bar and Place.
Attending on the Sunday of that weekend, I was able to take part in the fruit of their labor. Located on the corner Main Street and Fourth South in a classic Downtown brick-and-mortar within the New Grand Hotel, the presence of classic metropolitan characteristics—such as exposed brick walls and large windows providing a backdrop of a bustling Main Street—enrich the aesthetic of Alibi. It doesn’t overwhelm the space, setting it apart from being “just another Downtown bar.” The branding is clear. The main theme in the driver’s seat of Alibi’s branding is a bright aqua color present in all of their social media and the physical bar. Alibi’s logo, design and overall branding (designed by The Young Jerks) is a combination of an Art Deco temperament, cool-colored tones, a regal mural/wall hangings with an overall oasis-like feel.
After standing in an electric cloud of people clustering in front of the bar, I was able to finally order a refreshing beverage. Concocted by the creative bartenders/owners is a limited list of craft cocktails such as “Roller Derby” (gin, lime, raspberry and sugar) and more of a traditional cocktail like the “Paloma” (tequila, lime, grapefruit, sugar, spicy salt rim and Grapefruit Jarritos). Almost anyone can find what they are looking for with—in addition to house cocktails—Alibi’s satisfying collection of red and white wines, canned house sparkling rosé, bottled and draft beers and a small selection of bar snacks. And of course, they are environmentally conscious by providing compostable straws.
The bar is low enough that you can see all the materials the bartenders use to build your drink, creating a source of entertainment. Behind the group of bartenders whipping around their arms as they make drinks is an appealing, soft, baby blue tile backing to the bar in a rhombus shape. The seating opportunities for patrons seems like a challenge Alibi will overcome. Some people took turns sitting down, and others were animated about saving the seats they could find for their friends. Considering that it was the opening weekend, it’s very possible to imagine that on a less busy night, the bar would be a comfortable place to linger in conversation with friends with enough seating for all.
The social aspect and overall “vibe” of the space was welcoming and unassuming—it doesn’t feel like you had to be categorized as a particular type of person to fit in. With the small list, drinks cover a large spectrum of flavors (it is about quality not quantity), and one does not feel overwhelmed by too many options. It is a simple, open space ready to provide a service for customers wanting to treat themselves to a nice cocktail. It is a place where you can meet with friends to start off your night, with the option of a quick walk to places such as Quarters Arcade Bar or Green Pig Pub.
Down a dimly lit, deep-sapphire hallway at the east end of the bar are two doors. Each of them lead to an important aspect of every bar—the bathroom. Y’all know that’s a trendy, social media–driven responsibility to take cute-ass selfies in the bathroom with all your friends. Alibi gives patrons a lot to work with for the self-sponsored photoshoot. The contrast between the dark hallway and the well-lit, red-floral wall-papered restroom will knock you back. It’s like a door from Hollister leading to Target. Beneath the wall paper about halfway down the wall lies a powder-blue tile, each tile different sizes of rectangles, adding to the eye candy of the bathroom. It’s clever and well planned move on Alibi’s part.
Every element of Alibi brings patrons into a lush boozy nook in the heart of Downtown. Yes, there are a lot of bars popping up all over the city, which I see as a sign of a growing and thriving city excited to cater to the ever growing Salt Lake City nightlife. Alibi provides a different world within that and is worth adding to your Main Street bar-hopping list. You can follow Alibi’s spirited expedition through their Instagram at @alibislc and their Facebook page www.facebook.com/alibislc.
Click images for captions