“We felt there was a need for a more cocktail- and whiskey-oriented bar in Spearfish—a non-sports, non-themed bar that was a nice, comfortable place to come hang out and have a good cocktail or a glass of whiskey,” said Spearfish Public House owner and operator Josh Fritz.
Fritz owns the bar with two of his buddies who are also in, as Tim Smith lovingly refers to it, the “booze business.”
“Between the three of us, we have a pretty extensive beer knowledge and background,” said Fritz.
Co-owners Justin Henrichsen and Smith also each have their own businesses, including Independent Ale House and Smith’s Liquor Gallery in Rapid City, as well as Monks Ale House in Sioux Falls.
“The biggest difference between those bars, Independent and Monks Ale House and this one, is that we have a full liquor license, so we’re able to offer those cocktails and liquor,” said Fritz.
July 2 // JASON GUTHMILLER
July 9 // JACK DANIELS
July 16 // LUCAS OLSON
July 23 // LANG TERMES
July 29 // HEATH JOHNSON
Two of the most popular drinks are the Barrel Aged Old Fashioned and the Whiskey Sour.
The Old Fashioned is made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Angostura Aromatic Bitters, and simple syrup, topped with an orange peel and cherry garnish.
“It’s a simple cocktail, but it’s very good and by far our most popular drink,” explained Fritz.
Another classic, the Whiskey Sour, is made with Mellow Corn Whiskey, egg white, simple syrup, and fresh lemon juice.
Some of the other cocktail options include a Manhattan, Margarita, and Sidecar.
“When we first opened, about a third of our sales were beer, but now it’s closer to 20-25 percent of sales are beer,” he said.
“The building is an old house, so it still has that tavern feel.” -JOshua Fritz
While Monks and Independent Ale House both have closer to 50 tap lines, Spearfish Public House offers about half that with the addition of a full bar.
“It’s the only place in town where you can come and hang out in a relaxed atmosphere that is adult oriented,” said Fritz. “We don’t really have that restaurant aspect where there are kids everywhere.”
“We have great outdoor spaces in the front yard & backyard; probably the best outdoor seating in spearfish.” -Joshua Fritz
When the owners acquired the building, they began to renovate, incorporating mahogany ceilings and warm lighting to encourage jovial conversations.
“It’s that cozy, comfortable atmosphere where you can come hang out with your friends and hopefully learn something about cocktails or the whiskey you’re drinking.”
A new draft system also came with the renovations.
The quaint bar hosts a handful of events, including open mic night on Mondays and trivia on Tuesdays. But due to the ample seating in the spacious back and front yards, music is one of their more popular events.
“We do quite a bit of music most weekends,” said Fritz.
Performances at Spearfish Public House include a mix of local, regional, and other artists.
Fritz once owned Crow Peak Brewing Company in Spearfish.
“If we hear about a band traveling through that we know will do well here, we’ll book them,” said Fritz.
One of the biggest bands they’ve hosted was Pert Near Sandstone from Minneapolis, which they did a ticketed event for. The show quickly sold out.
“We have plans to redo the backyard, and we’re going to build a stage out back to make music a little bit more of a focus,” said Fritz.