When you order top shelf liquor at a bar, you expect the highest quality alcohol — the best of the best — which is usually stored on the highest shelf behind the bar.
That’s the idea behind Top Shelf Services, a Park City-based company that provides the highest-quality products and services around all-things alcohol. Which is ironic, in a way, since the one thing Top Shelf does not sell is booze.
Top Shelf Utah is the brainchild of Casey Metzger, a Maine native who relocated to Utah in the mid-‘90s. He got into the hospitality business by working as a barback at a Main Street club and would go on to anchor the bar at 350 Main, where yours truly was an occasional customer.
Casey began to see a hospitality market with needs that weren’t being met and created Top Shelf Utah to fill the gap. “A lot of what we do is in the private sector. We do a lot of single event permits with nonprofits around town. And also, during Sundance, I’d normally have 50 to 100 bartenders working parties and events all over town. But other than that, what we do is all private. We do a ton of weddings and corporate events, for example.”
Casey started Top Shelf out of his garage in 2008. Essentially, the company provides everything a client needs to throw a top-notch, high-quality event — minus the alcohol. “We’re a pop-up business,” he says. Top Shelf arrives with trucks and trailers and, depending on the customer’s needs, can supply everything from tables, chairs, and tents, to bartenders and glassware. The client supplies the alcohol, although Casey is happy to consult with them about different options.
“We specialize in the bartending services. We know how to open restaurants, bars, and coffee shops again, safely, when the numbers improved. The narrative I kept hearing over and over was that it was all about group size — small groups. Entertaining in smaller groups seemed to be the new normal.”
And that is precisely what he did. He turned a portion of his office into a cozy, quaint, and funky space that feels like a bar but operates like an event space.
The idea is that, for a fee, people can rent the space for small, private events like an anniversary or birthday party. “It’s a controlled environment where you choose the group you want to be with,” says Casey.
The space has a speakeasy vibe and is filled with lots of Casey’s personal bric-a-brac, including vintage posters and signs, a hockey jersey, antique skis, old bikes, and some stuff he found in a dumpster nearby. It’s the kind of joint where you want to hang out in with good friends while sipping a cocktail. They’ll provide the glassware, mixers, and bartending staff, but you’ll need to bring your own alcohol.
The pandemic also pushed Casey to start a second Top Shelf spinoff: The Bartenders Box. It’s basically a small-scale, retail version of what Top Shelf does for large-scale events. Each box — and there are different versions depending on your alcohol preference — contains everything you need to make world-class cocktails at home, including recipes and QR-coded videos. The Bartenders Box might include fresh citrus and juices, premium bitters, herbs, spices, and prepared garnishes — everything but the alcohol — and it’s delivered to your doorstep.
“We’ve done the hard work so you can explore, relax, and enjoy,” says Casey proudly. “We don’t make money on booze; we make money on service.”