O.P. Rockwell | Park City Lux Redux
In a Wild West chock-full of outrageous and controversial characters, Utah pioneer Orrin Porter Rockwell stood nationally notorious in equal parts for his zealotry, the ready and (some would say indiscriminate) draw of his sawed-off Colt revolver, and his magnificently shaggy mien. An exceedingly devout early convert to the Mormon faith, Rockwell quickly became a leader of, ahem, protection-slash-enforcement for his personal friend, Joseph Smith. On Christmas day, 1843, Smith prophesized that if Rockwell remained unswervingly loyal to his faith and stop with the personal grooming, he’d become literally bullet-proof: “Cut not thy hair and no bullet or blade can harm thee!” Thus began Rockwell’s long career known as “The Mormon Samson”: a fearless frontiersman, scout, and famously hirsute gun-for-hire. Well, at least on behalf of Smith and later Brigham Young, at whose direction he reputedly killed dozens of people as part of Utah’s legendary legion of Danites, a group Mark Twain described as “Latter-Day Saints who are set apart by the Church to conduct permanent disappearances of obnoxious citizens.”
It seems fantastically fitting, then, that owners, Chris Mautz (The State Room), and Park City local entertainment guru, Scott “Scooter” Thomson, would name their speakeasy of a hoppin’ gin joint and lively music venue after such an edgy and irascible assassin. Just steps from the old City Jail (affectionately known by locals as “The Dungeon” and now part of the Park City Museum), and a few doors up from the historic Egyptian Theatre, O.P. Rockwell shakes up all the preconceived notions for a live music venue. And they’re getting this Steampunk meets Victorian lux mixed with modern audiophile hedonism done right, and in most captivating ways.
The guys cleverly divided up the club’s seating areas with thick swags of black velvet curtains, which in addition to being gawdamn dead sexy with the old-time theatrical vibe, also allow for quick changes in the venue’s flow according to each show’s needs. An ideal method to ensure primo guest access to the club’s multi-level floors and two full bars, to boot. It’s an almost burlesque atmosphere, as we’ve come to COLLECTIVELY appreciate. Additionally, the savvy O.P. Rockwell management allocates some ridiculously swanky VIP seating on a badass half-mezzanine for select performances (contact them directly via their website well in advance of the show to nab these packages). From 400+ grooving dancers at big-ticket gigs, to private VIP boutique booze education events, to cozy drinks with friends at the main bar during the shoulder season on a cozy snowy night, O.P. Rockwell is nailing the shit out of the details, in the best possible way.
Understatement of the century, friends, and we mean that especially for the over-the-top, kickass dranks program. ‘Cause there’s some definite shaker sorcery going on at this spot below grade-level in Park City, led by drinks alchemist and living encyclopedia of classic cocktail technique Christopher Panarelli, bar manager Jacob Hall, and their cohort of juice junkies at O.P. Rockwell. Descend into their heady domain, and (trust us) just order off the daily menu choices posted at the bar. These gents are making some of the sexiest original cocktails in the state, again reminding us this joint is all about “quality,” from the raw materials like flawless ice, to the superlatively-stirred elixir that ends up in your frosty glass. Order winter favorites like Manhattans, a citrus and gin-forward Corpse Reviver No. 2, or the best classic Daiquiri we’ve had in ages (For real. Panarelli makes it with three kinds of rum and–we assume–the tears of unicorns). It’s all magically delicious.
And they’re attracting some serious talent to the Independent Republic of Park City, year round. Look for a truly kick-ass New Years Eve extravaganza that will include the talented likes of Emancipator (tickets here), and Mickey & the Motorcars on January 1st (tickets here). They’ll also bring amazing acts, comedy shows, and private events during Sundance, as well as big draws like Badfeather, The Brothers Comatose, and Poor Man’s Whiskey. Performers, having had great experiences with The State Room’s management in SLC, have been thrilled to receive the same top-notch attention to detail at this luxurious venue in Park City, says Scooter Thomson. “Artists know that they’re always taken care of at The State Room, so we’re glad to provide a great experience at O.P.Rockwell, too. They love that they can count on that same level of quality here.” Quality, character, and all the sexy details. O.P. Rockwell’s concept is legit bullet-proof (although we highly recommend keeping on top of the personal grooming). We took to our northerly neighbor a few weeks back and sidled up to the upper-level bar to chat with Scooter and watch Mr. Panarelli make his brand of magic. Then we drank up. Because yum.
O.P. Rockwell (Bar, Drinks, Music Hall) | 268 Main Street. Park City | 435.615.7000