Earlier this summer, bartender Jayson Wilde teamed up with barber Anthony Giannotti to open Bottle & Barlow, Sacramento’s first bar and barbershop under one roof. Wilde grew up near Natomas and learned the cocktail business as a bartender’s assistant at Shady Lady Saloon before going to work at San Francisco’s famed Bourbon & Branch. SF Weekly named him one of San Francisco’s new generation of bar stars when he was 28. Now 33, he’s back in his hometown, planting his craft-cocktail flag on the city’s white-hot R Street Corridor.
MEANT TO BE
Back in 2009, Wilde was working at an insurance company when he walked into the newly opened Shady Lady, Sacramento’s original craft-cocktail bar. “It completely floored me,” says Wilde, who quit his desk job and joined Shady Lady as a barback. (A barback assists the bartenders by restocking bottles, tapping kegs, hauling ice and making garnishes.) “The first night I stepped behind the bar, I knew it was what I wanted to do the rest of my life.”
A FORTUITOUS MEETING
At Shady Lady, he met celebrity bartender Eric Castro, who recruited him to work at faux speakeasy Bourbon & Branch. “I wanted to learn from the best,” says Wilde. After six months as a bartender, he was promoted to bar manager; within a year, he was GM.
AN OFFER HE COULDN’T REFUSE
A couple of years ago, his pal Giannotti suggested they join forces. “A bar and a barbershop—it’s the perfect match,” says Wilde. “They’re both American traditions.” Partnering with Hook & Ladder owners Kimio Bazett and Jon Modrow, they took over a long, shoebox-shaped space on the ground floor of the Warehouse Artist Lofts development on R Street. The bar sits at one end, the barbershop at the other, with a “viewing lounge” in between where drinkers can watch the goings-on in the barbershop through a one-way mirror.
Bottle & Barlow was designed by Whitney Johnson, the It Girl of Sacramento restaurant interiors. The look is disco crossed with deco: brass light fixtures, silver foil wallpaper, buttery leather high-backed banquettes. “It’s ‘American Hustle’ meets ‘The Great Gatsby,’” says Wilde. “My mom cries every time she comes in here. She says it’s so beautiful.”
WHAT’S ON TAP
You can’t get food at Bottle & Barlow—just drinks. Wilde created a small menu of modern cocktails and twists on the classics, all with an emphasis on tasting good. “I’m a flavor junkie,” he explains. Over on the barbershop side, customers get a cocktail or draft beer included with their haircut or straight-razor shave. Says Wilde, “There is nothing like this in Sacramento.”