“We serve high-end cocktails, but we’re not an upscale bar. We have cheap drinks, but we’re not a dive bar. We have sports on the TV, but we’re not a sports bar; and we have music, but we’re not a club.” This is how Brett Kirk describes Twist, the most recent addition to downtown Salt Lake’s bar and bistro scene. Brett has partnered with co-owners Phil Palmer and Kaci Tokumotu to create a welcoming drinking and dining atmosphere.
Twist occupies the Commercial Club Building annex, the early 20th-century boiler room that provided steam heat to surrounding downtown buildings. Brett shares that an 86-year-old local stopped by the club and shared memories of watching his father shovel coal into the boilers.The industrial apparatus from a bygone era–exposed clusters of parallel pipes, massive hatches and metal doors–remains in place. The interior stained glass art is an artistic reminder of the space’s previous incarnation as the Lazy Moon Pub.
The menu is coordinated by Rick Bruno. “He sets a high standard for the kitchen,” Brett says, noting that the menu will seasonally change as food is locally-sourced. Twist also serves local spirits and brews.
Brett has worked in Salt Lake’s bar industry for 27 years, and Twist’s staff is an amalgamation of seasoned local talent. “We have probably 300 combined years of experience here,” he jokes. Phil remarks that “People want to work here because it’s family.”
In addition to old-school pinball machines and a pool table in the bar’s lower level, the Twist’s sheltered outdoor patio offers space for live entertainment. Thursday nights, patio patrons are treated to live jazz.
The trio’s fusion of expertise and vision apparently is a jackpot hit because every weekend Twist reaches maximum capacity, and potential patrons must wait for the chance to gain entry. Though they’ve only just opened, Phil is already keen on imagining a rooftop space that would increase their overall capacity. “I hate to see people stand in line when they should be inside drinking,” he says with a smile.
32 Exchange Pl. Open Mon-Sun 11am-2am