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Culture » Summer Guide

2002 Summer Guide: Peppermint Patio

Never underestimate the power of a summer 2002 bar-and-club patio revival!



Oh, to find the perfect wedding of the balmy outdoors and the convenience of a club; the conjugal bliss of a wild, starry night and a full bar with martini olives within easy reach; the joyful joining of a cool breeze straight from nature and a man-made pool table?

Welcome to the beautiful world of bar-and-club patios.

In order to initiate you fully into the world of bar-and-club patios, we here at City Weekly roamed the city for hours, gleaning the most sumptuous, personality-filled patios in Salt Lake City to grace the annals of this column. Or at least, the ones with the hottest people. And now, if you will, here they are:

Club Splash: We had heard many long stories about the swankness of Club Splash, but figured it was kind of a cheap, hotel-lobby kind of swank. But no, boys and girls, Club Splash is swank. It is dripping in swank. First evidence: the entryway, with a solid flood of water running over glass, giving you the impression of walking under a waterfall. Next, a room with diagonally-laid hardwood floors, a blue velvet “ring” sofa, fireplaces and mood lighting. Plants abound. Upstairs is a full dance floor, and don’t forget the optional shower-dance box on the balcony where you can dance in water (always good for avoiding heatstroke).

But the patio. Huge white Roman pillars rise out of the ground around a tropical blue pool (sorry, no swimming allowed) in certainly the largest outdoor club patio in Salt Lake City. Slick metal chairs and tables ring the periphery while two full-service bars duel it out at either end. A white-roofed gazebo stands off to the side where DJs perform and bands can play. Lately, Club Splash has been having free barbecues every Friday and Saturday and sometimes Tuesday and Wednesday night, “and pretty much whenever we want,” says Jason Bond, manager. When asked what they serve at the barbecues, Bond said, “Hot dogs.” “Just hot dogs?” we ask. “Just hot dogs,” he says. But hot dogs rule.

Also, rumor has it that Club Splash might be opening up a patio on their roof as soon as the plan’s approved. Pool tables are downstairs. And don’t miss the unveiling of St. Provo Girl’s new outfit on Friday, May 31! Tuesday: Club Neptune. Wednesday: College night, $1 drafts. Thursday: ’80s retro. Friday Top 40 dance mix, ladies’ night ($2 cover for women). Saturday: High energy dance mix.

Port O’ Call: If you’ve never been inside Port O’ Call and only seen the downstairs, and that only from having your snotty nose pressed against the glass at all those people partying inside like some wistful kid at a Christmas store display, you’re really missing out. The downstairs is cool, that’s true, but their upstairs will blow your mind. As soon as you walk onto their open-air patio, you feel like going, “Ahhhh!” It’s that purdy. Two dozen or so tables with chairs are arranged under a metal criss-cross arbor open to the stars and ringed on three sides by apartment buildings. Little white lights rim the arbor, creating an intimate, almost fairy-like glow. A full service bar boasts, among other things, 14 beers on draft, with a solid wall of windows behind it and three TVs throughout the space. “I really like the patio,” says Norm, one of the managers at Port O’ Call. “It’s good for quiet conversation, there are lots of places to sit, and it’s one of the last places to get busy.” The patio opens at 5 p.m. and closes at 2 a.m., and the kitchen’s open ’til 11 p.m.

Also, if you get tired of the quiet, you can always pop across the stairwell to Port O’ Call’s new spacious upstairs dance hall with two full-service bars, huge stage and hardwood floors, open on Friday and Saturday nights. Wednesday: College night, $2.50 special on 25-oz. domestic drafts. Friday: DJ Birdman upstairs. Saturday: Local and national bands upstairs and downstairs.

Green Street: Green Street, it has to be admitted, gets kind of a holier-than-thou bad rap, a reputation for catering to money (nothing to do with out Best of Utah this year, no way) and nonsense like that. Green Street is for everyone, not just the high-rollers.

Their brick patio, ringed by a low wrought-iron fence, is the perfect place for college kids to chill and smoke after dancing the night away on Friday, sip daquiris or nibble on massive plates of nachos. Heat lamps are spaced accordingly in case of a nip in the air flanked by flowerbeds with purple-and-white posies. Green (appropriately enough) wrought-iron chairs with ivy designs on the back gather around umbrellaed tables. The patio’s open from 11 a.m.-1 a.m. every night, weather permitting.

If the heat lamps can’t keep away the cold, or if it starts to hurricane or something, you can sit in front of their roaring fireplace downstairs. Or you can go upstairs on Friday and Saturday nights for DJ delights. A full-service bar is in the middle above Green Street’s stairwell, and on the right is a lounge area with lush, overstuffed leather chairs and three big-screen TVs. Downstairs off the entryway is a large poolroom. Yes, it’s posh, but they truly don’t check your income level at the door, peeps. Friday and Saturday: DJs.

OK, the last three club patios are perhaps not as highbrow as the three previous, but to each his own. Todd’s beer garden is legendary in its understatement. Mismatched chairs coagulate around uneven tables, all encircled by a tall red wooden fence, unless there’s a big show inside, in which case the chairs may all have been taken indoors. A couple dilapidated plants comprise the “garden,” and Christmas lights criss-cross jauntily overhead. But you know no one really gives a damn if Todd’s beer garden lacks “swagger.” The swagger of the beer garden is located all in its rock-&-roll attitude, and of that, it has plenty.

The Lazy Moon patio is a triangular, roped-off (or shall we say, chained-off), brick-lined affair in the heart of downtown Salt Lake, ringed by tall buildings on all sides. The sights and sounds of the city waft over the streets, but tucked away at a table with an umbrella on Exchange Place, you feel secluded and private. One may question the cleverness of naming dishes “Phat Beat” and then describing it “a grilled Philly-Beef with all the phixins”—but who cares when the food tastes good? Plus, you have a great show to look forward to inside after hanging on the patio for a few. Monday: Ladies’ night (free cover). Tuesday: $2 pints. Wednesday: $3 Cap’t & Coke. Thursday: Happyteizers Night. Saturday: Live Jams. Sunday: Free pool and hip-hop. Monday-Saturday: Live bands.

To enter the X-Wife’s Place patio, the ID-checker points you to the back of the bar, where there’s a sign with a huge red arrow pointing to a door that says “Exit” that seems like it should lead you to a dusty, beer-can-ridden back parking lot. But surprise, surprise, you step through the door and enter a completely secluded spot of intimacy 50 yards from the hub of Trolley Square. Quaint apartment buildings surround the courtyard on all sides and a huge, peeling painting of a tropical beach fools you into thinking you might be anywhere but in the middle of Salt Lake City—if you squint your eyes and dream real hard. Plastic chairs and tables are loosely arranged around a green-carpeted stage “for acoustic band sets in the summer,” says Rita Gafford, bartender at X-Wife’s. And don’t let the barbed wire on the north wall unnerve you. Wednesday: Open pool tournament, $5 to enter.

OK, so the Gallivan Center isn’t really a beer garden/bar patio per se, but it is virtually the backyard of downtown Salt Lake City. We have all our parties and outdoor food-and-drink fests there, after all. Something that must be mentioned is the Sundance Summer Film Series, taking place at the Gallivan Center every Monday night throughout the summer, starting July 8 (except July 22). The outdoor movies start at twilight, around 8:30 p.m., and they’re free and open to the public. You can spread a blanket out on the grass, bring the kids and fantasize about going to the Bull & Bear—located across the street—immediately afterwards. July 8: Shane. July 15: Cat Ballou. July 29: Red River. August 5: Westward the Women. August 12: Butch Cassidy.