Barwest Burgers & Wings, Sacramento


How many times have you uttered that storied incantation: “I wish this speakeasy was more like a beach bar.”

Probably more than you can count.

Well, Prohibition-era Surfer, the wait is over.

Barwest Burgers & Wings is gearing up for a grand opening this Thursday, August 18. I had the chance to check out the venue’s hopping friends-and-family night last week and wanted to give you a taste of what to expect from the latest hotspot to throw its hat in the ring at 28th and J Streets.

The vision of co-owners Trevor Shults and Todd Zancaner, Barwest is carving out a decidedly “West-Coast” vibe in this spirited pocket of midtown.  Think: high-top booths, a bamboo wood bar, exposed industro-chic brick and a singular eastern wall set ablaze in tufted red velvet.

Also: sports!  The space touts 15 massive flat-screen TVs broadcasting all manner of athletic entertainment. Couple that with 15 draft beers (including Ommegang Belgian Pale Ale and Speak Easy Big Daddy)and nearly 30 bottled brews (Moylan’s Kilt Lifter, Stone Cali-Belgique), and it’s easy to see Barwest going for the gold as midtown’s next great sports bar.

Though Shults is confident the location will ultimately appeal to a wide swath of patrons: “I think the whole beauty of Barwest is that it appeals to everyone. Whether you want to come and enjoy a great burger and watch the game, a casual business lunch, dinner with the family or a fun night out with friends.”

A former events and promotions manager with the Paragary Restaurant Group, and, most recently, the well-regarded GM of Social Nightclub, Shults certainly knows how to draw a crowd.

Case in point: When I breezed into the spacious digs for a preview last week, I was impressed with the turnout—especially for a soft opening. Bubbly and tanned twentysomethings mingled with an energetic mix of young professionals, families, Jäger-toasting brosephs and quite a few of Sacramento’s more adventurous entrepreneurial set.

As for the food, the menu’s California roots run deep.

Six different burgers beckon with 100% natural Angus beef, locally sourced ingredients, and buns baked daily in the Paragary’s Bakery, just blocks away. The burgers definitely exuded a grab-n-go SoCal feel (like In-N-Out, but bigger), while other fare gave a nostalgic nod to midway classics by way of corn dogs and even the surprisingly popular hot dog sliders.

Though from what I hear, you’d be well-advised to simply wing it.

Barwest has its sights set on having the best wings in town, with eight—yes, eight—different flavors, ranging from Barwest Original and Sweet BBQ, to Lemon Pepper, Garlic Parmesan and Sweet & Sour.

Heat levels range from mild to “inferno” to the skull-and-crossbones detailed “death sauce.” Let me know how that last one goes.

Which leads me of course to the drinks.

When life gives you lemons (or death sauce), opt for the eatery’s other homage to beach-inspired beverages with a tempting lineup of frozen lemonades. On hot August nights, a mixture of Finlandia vodka, Chambord, Bols Peach Schnapps, club soda and frozen lemonade has my name written all over it. And it’s spelled: Southern Berry Lemonade.

All in all, I’m feeling what Shults and Zancaner have got cooking. There’s definitely something refreshing about a no-frills, back-to-basics concept with charisma, character and West Coast charm.

At the very least, you’ve got to give it up for any place that touts deep-fried Oreos, Twinkies and Ding Dongs without an ounce of irony. Toss in a retractable glass garage door, large patio, TouchTunes jukebox and the upcoming NFL season (yay, no lockout!), and Barwest stands poised to score big in the coming months.

Did I mention the soon-to-debut weekend brunch with—yes, I’ll go there—breakfast burgers?

Game on!

Barwest Burgers & Wings
2724 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 476-4550

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