Custom design/build neighborhood bar with a post-war machine shop vibe. Water Witch makes drinking fun again. Located at 163 W. Harvey Milk Blvd. (900 S), Salt Lake City, Utah
Water Witch is the vision of three giants of the Salt Lake City bar and culture scene - Sean Neves, Scott Gardener and Matt Pfohl. I was lucky enough to be asked to design their 800 sq foot bar, Water Witch in the up-and-coming Central 9th neighborhood.
The Water Witch was a sailboat Brigham Young owned on the Great Salt Lake in the 19th Century that shuttled his secret booze from a wildcat mining town up north to the south end. Obviously it also refers to water divining and refreshment.
Upon our first meeting with the guys I gleaned from them that this was to be their workspace, not precious, not pretentious but a workshop as well as a neighborhood bar where they would almost never have to turn their backs on their valued customers.
Water Witch is a post-war machine shop producing blue collar cocktails and community. It is an undecorated space fitted out with woodworkers benches and bar tops, our custom "air scoop" lights, and cement floors. The only decoration is this 14 foot reproduction of a 19th century Lambourne "seascape" of the Great Salt Lake. Local artist David Brothers faithfully copied it in oil brush stroke by bush stroke.
Sean Neves and I share a passion for the bizarre and mostly unknown history of early Utah. Brigham Young is the reason this state exists and is in a way the dark father of all of those who call this place home. A notorious racist and scold, we loved the idea that he is a dark cloud over our modernity, watching us disapprovingly even in our most intimate moments. So in the 14 foot tall, narrow bathrooms I placed his giant, judgmental eye spying on the toilets below.
A typical evening at Water Witch bar.
Sean and Scott plying their trade at Water Witch bar.