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  • Writer's picturePaulina Burnside

Finca Pintxos Bar: Going Where the Gin Flows

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

This article was originally published in SLUG Magazine.


A new watering hole has opened up in downtown Salt Lake: a Basque-style bar featuring classic and seasonal gin cocktails. Finca Pintxos Bar is Scott Evans’ latest project in what has become a career of bringing authentic, Spanish food to Utah. Evans is the operator, founder and sommelier of Pago Restaurant Group, which has opened Pago, Finca, Casot, Emigration Cafe and the latest Finca Pintxos Bar (pronounced peen-chos).


Evans’ interest in Spain began from a young age, since he grew up with Spanish-speaking relatives and learned the language in high school. During his early travels backpacking, skateboarding and snowboarding around Europe (working construction in London when money ran low), Evans grew to love Spanish food and drink. The then-lack of authentic Spanish food in Utah is how Evans was able to pair his passions to the start of his career in the restaurant industry. “I want to expose Utah and Salt Lake to what the world has that we don't have,” says Evans.


Along with becoming a sommelier and embarking on annual trips to Spain for wine tours, Evans is knowledgeable on ciders, spirits and beer. Evans also pushed the cider program at East Liberty Tap House and managed Squatters Pub Brewery. While his efforts are primarily dedicated to curating wines, Evans sees gin as the next drink to bring to Utah. Partly leading his relationship to gin are the winemakers that Evans has met across the Atlantic.


“Every time I would go to Spain for a wine trip, there would be a gin component,” Evans says. “Every winemaker would make a gin and tonic—they call it gin tonic, or gin tonica.” Over time, Evans noticed Spain’s ubiquity of gin tonics. Furthermore, while many Spanish drinkers may feel at home ordering a classic gin tonic, Evans thinks that the drink is fit for Utahns as well, given that the main botanicals in gin—juniper and sage—are native to our state.


Evans enjoyed gin tonics for years before the ideal opportunity for opening a pintxos bar came to him. While attending a wine fair at Solitude Mountain Resort in early April of this year, Evans learned that an ideal location for a Basque-style bar was available during a conversation with the previous owner of the space.


Evans had the space painted and updated and the signs changed, and now he is the owner of a bar that’s not much different from the gin tonic bars that he frequented in Spain. Small plates called pintxos (essentially Basque tapas) are served hot or cold on the narrow bar and are priced from two to fourteen dollars. Included on the pintxos menu are classic foods such as croquetas and tortilla española alongside dishes such as datil with bacon wrapped dates, blue cheese, almond and spiced honey. Traditional Spanish tapas—which are portioned for sharing—are priced between nine and thirty-five dollars and include foods such as patatas bravas, pulpo and gambas. Don’t forget dessert: the choices are churros with chocolate dipping sauce or flourless chocolate cake.


To pair with the food and more importantly, to give gin a space on the counter, a menu was crafted and a specialty tonic was conceptualized. Evans reached out to Alan Scott, co-owner and lead distiller at Waterpocket Distillery, with the idea for a collaborative gin tonic at Finca Pintxos Bar. “He's been working on a special recipe to pair with his Waterpocket gin, just for us to celebrate gin tonics,” says Evans. While the special drink is still in the works, Pintxos carries over 15 gins and even a few vermouths. The drink menu carries several gin and tonic pairings that are carefully proportioned and garnished—these are for the purists. More playful drinks include orange wine sangria and cocktails such as gin with grapefruit puree and tonic.


To learn more about Finca Pintxos Bar, including exclusive information on upcoming events, visit fincaslc.com and subscribe to their email list.

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