From Local Dive to Classy Vibes: Tinwell Bar Showcases Classic Cocktails and Modern Atmosphere
The building is one you might have passed a dozen times without a second thought. And if you’re not sure, let me paint a picture. Back in 1945, the space was originally a bank. The building was purchased in the ’70s and opened as Uncle Bart’s. Envision a tall, unassuming building, one with no windows—you couldn’t see in and no one could see out. If you happened to enter Uncle Bart’s, you would find stained, beat-up carpet, a latchkey jukebox, low ceilings and layers upon layers of poorly constructed, blackened walls. You’d run into some regulars and an owner with a drink in hand, regaling tall tales—a quintessential dive, scattered with the same faces daily. If you weren’t a regular, you were out of place, and you knew it.
Enter local bartender and go-getter, Caleb Cannon (and partners, Tuscon-based JAM Culinary Concepts), who purchased the building in 2015. I am sure it took a bit (or a lot) of imagination to see the potential that Uncle Bart’s actually had—but when you enter this building today, almost none of its former life seems apparent. However, with the bank’s original vault still intact, this centrally located component became a springboard for what is now a beautiful and elegant design. After a quick first opening, Cannon and team got the building ready for service, but then later closed the doors for 45 days to finish creating the beautiful space you see today.
Tinwell is something pretty special. It’s open and airy, with dark and beautiful undertones. Huge, illuminating windows create a magical natural light in the early evening. It’s a classic collision of modern and Old World, and it feels good to be in the space. Tinwell is also contributing to an up-and-coming community in the central 9th area that’s become a new hot spot. With Blue Copper Coffee and Proper Brewing/Burger already finding success in the area, as well as A. Fisher Brewing Co. and Water Witch Bar, Tinwell is contributing another great establishment to the mix. Tinwell is a bar where it doesn’t matter if you are a regular or there for the first time—you’re going to get a talented bartender greeting you with a smile, and a beverage of your choice, made the right way (they specialize in the old classics).
Caleb Cannon isn’t a stranger to the local cocktail community. He started his bar career like most do, as a barback. He worked his way up and found he was hooked on the complexity and intricate layers of craft cocktails. After college, he started doing menu consultation in addition to bartending and found himself creating cocktail menus for some of the best bars in Salt Lake City. Along the way, he met his wife—industry and cocktail expert Amy Eldredge, who is a managing partner at Under Current Bar. So, you could say much of Caleb’s professional and personal success has been found in the cocktail community, which is why it makes sense that he is passionate about supporting and contributing to it. And to top it off, he has some of the best bartenders in the city working for him: Tristen Loughlin, Alejandro Olivares, Katy Willis and Zade Womack to name a few.
So, the space is amazing and the passion behind it is contagious—but what about the cocktails? By any measure, they’re the most important component.
Of course, the cocktails (and bartenders) are my favorite part. Tinwell bartenders and I think alike when it comes to the idea of balance. A great craft cocktail doesn’t mean more ingredients—it means a balanced cocktail that uses fresh ingredients.
On Tinwell’s menu, you’ll find a variety of old-school classics. Last time I was in, Tinwell was featuring the gimlet, negroni, daiquiri, old fashioned, and Toronto. Dear readers, these are the cocktails that make other cocktails possible. You hope that every bartender you meet knows these classics, which then can be built on in fun and interesting ways.
At Tinwell, you’ll also find creative house-crafted sips like the Dead Ringer (rye, bourbon, Amaro Averna, sugar cube and barrel-aged whiskey bitters) or the Cold Roses (gin, Pimm’s, Campari and lemon). I also really love the tiki cocktail they call the Red Rover (two aged rums, orange juice, lime and raspberry).
Tinwell bartenders are creating some wonderful cocktails—but not before they show you they can nail the classics and technique. Tinwell also showcases a great selection of beer, cider, and wine —all bases are covered!
Let this interesting and fun new cocktail joint wow you with service, drinks, decor and passion. You’ll be glad you did.