Letters from Melissa: The Brass Tag Bar
Thank you for being such a gracious host when I visited your bar at The Brass Tag in The Lodges at Deer Valley. It was one of my first solo outings as a newcomer to Park City.
The twinkling lights are a charming welcome to the entrance of The Lodges. Climbing the stairs to The Brass Tag, your hostess presented me with my reserved spot front and center at the bar. You did a great job introducing yourself and making me feel comfortable. What a move you made from Hawaiian surfer to a skier at Deer Valley!
As a newcomer myself to Park City in 2013, I had not been to The Brass Tag and was both excited to try a new place, as well as a bit apprehensive. Young people can go to bars and have drinks and meet people, but when one is on the other side of 50 it can be a bit daunting. When I turned 50 this past September, I set a goal to force myself to go outside of my comfort zone and experience new adventures. I encourage others to do the same.
I usually prefer a glass of wine but I decided to set the mood with a cocktail. You suggested the Evangline, (I realized that the drink is spelled wrong . Thank you for explaining that this was not a spelling mistake, but representative as to how the mining claimed was once spelled.) the 2015 Park City cocktail contest winner, mixed with Beehive Jack Rabbit Gin, Cassis Shrub, basil-infused Utah honey and rose lemonade. With more than 70 bars and restaurants in the Park City area, the Brass Tag’s Evangline should be on everyone’s bucket list.
And, yes, alcohol IS served in Utah and made here like this Beehive Gin and along with a diversity of Utah IPA beers that are not served on tap. State law allows beer and wine to be poured for guests, but drinks need to be mixed behind the scenes behind what is called a Zion’s Curtain, a partition that is unique to Utah that allows bartenders to make drinks separate from the customers. Dan, you were like the mad scientist mixing my drink.
Your recommendation was spot on! The Evangline was the perfect drink to sip as I decided what to order. Our Beehive State surprised me with its tasty gin. The intriguing flavors of juniper, fresh sage and rose petals infused my drink with a slight fizz and a pastel pink lemonade topped with The Brass Tag’s homemade bitters (which take over three weeks to age) and lemon zest made it perfect.
Thankfully the bar started to fill and we had our own party going as the television screens displayed breaking news: the results of the New Hampshire primary on one screen, while on a second television screen our local Utah Jazz played the Dallas Mavericks in overtime.
While I was chatting with the couple from DC, I learned the husband had skied at the same mountain as I did in Connecticut, a tiny knoll called Sundown with total vertical of about 600 feet. What a small world!
What was especially fun for me was to learn some of the history of Park City, which was incorporated in 1884. The height of the mining industry peaked with the Silver King Mine in the early 1890s. The bar counter displayed maps of the multitude of Park City mining claims including Thor, Zeus, Agathos, Queen Esther and Mountain Neff. Miners would leave their brass tags on the outside of the mine and at the end of the day would retrieve their tags, much like the soldiers’ dog tags. An original brass tag was prominently displayed on the wall of the bar.
One of your guests of Irish descent explained to me that Irish seamen recognize whom they might have lost in the sea by the design of their sweaters. I am a perpetual Googler of information and went home that night and learned that Aran Sweaters are used to identify bodies of fisherman washed up on the beach following an accident at sea.
You waited patiently while I decided what to order. The choices from the Chef’s Favorites were captivating. Should I order the roasted cauliflower, cheddar, and potato dill soup, the brick oven shrimp skillet or the Mediterranean lamb burger? I decided to go on the lighter side and ordered the house cured duck flatbread with Parmesan and prosciutto and the beet and goat cheese Napoleon salad.
New guests settled in to my left and right, and I became more at ease as the single woman at the bar. As the evening continued, I became newfound friends with a couple from Baton Rouge and another from New Zealand. Two and a half hours later we were trading email addresses. Come visit us in New Zealand! Come visit us in Louisiana! I can only imagine the miners gathering after a hard day of work and sharing stories.
Dan, it must be so fun for you to witness these blossoming friendships on a daily basis! Thank you for making my night at The Brass Tag so memorable. I have told my local friends about the hidden gem. “Go to The Brass Tag and meet Dan and have an Evangline!”
Melissa C. Marsted is the author of six children’s books and the founder of Lucky Penny Press, launched with insurance proceeds after her house and most of her possessions burned in the 2008 Santa Barbara Tea Fire. Today, Lucky Penny Publishing, LLC, has grown to incorporate two imprints—Lucky Penny Press, publishing books for children; and Silver Dollar Press, publishing autobiographies, memoirs, and nonfiction. A skier and an endurance athlete, Marsted has completed three 50K races and 12 marathons, including one along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru, where she was inspired to write the children’s book Pablito and the Speckled Bear.
A graduate of Harvard University, with an M.A. in organizational management from Antioch University, Marsted now lives in Park City, Utah, where she serves on the Summit County Library Board and is a member of Leadership Park City and the entrepreneurship incubator, Pando Labs. Marsted has two college-aged sons, two cats, and a Jack Russell terrier, Aro.
I love this story and will make a point of ordering the Evangline on my next visit!
[…] time around we shot photos for the new menu items for their low-key bar and restaurant The Brass Tag. But where does that name come from? Back in the day aka around 1890, the silver boom was huge in […]