A Bar Named Sue
The club itself isn’t much to look at: a basement space adorned with posters and TV screens, a couple of pool tables—pretty simple. But take a look behind the bar: 50 different whiskeys—who knew you could even get 50 different whiskeys in Utah? If your taste extends beyond Jack and Jim (and it should), it’s better than 48 trips to the liquor store—A Bar Named Sue also offers 42 beers on tap, a tasty menu of pub grub and a free jukebox and pool.
3928 Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-274-5578, MySpace.com/BarNamedSue
Fat’s Grill & Pool
A classic college hangout, Fat’s Grill & Pool has pleasures that reside in its honest commitment to delivering the goods. The pool tables are a very reasonable $9 per hour. The evenings quickly see them fill with students stretching out over the green baize when they’re not sucking down suds. The unexpected delight of this venue, though, is its focus on quality food. Tasty thin-crust pizza and a Reuben sandwich with grilled bread and fresh sauerkraut that City Weekly food critic Ted Scheffler raved about in one of his columns reflect Fat’s concern for standards and culinary pleasure. When you next get the urge to try out a little English on a cue ball, enjoy well-cooked comfort food or hustle your friends for a few bucks, give Fat’s a whirl. You won’t be disappointed.
2182 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-484-9467
2. Johnny’s on Second
3. X-Wife’s Place
BEST STYLISH NIGHTCLUB
We’re not licensed to prescribe cures for libido issues, but if you’re looking to give yours a second opinion, Habits is the place to give it to you. In a city with lots of options, Habits sets the standard for great-looking people wearing the styles to match. Maybe that’s due to a strict dress code that keeps the standards sky-high. Or maybe they’re attracted by the appetizers and sushi—but we doubt it. Habits has always prided itself on presenting a class atmosphere, and their work pays off. This is a place where both guys and gals come to faint.
832 E. 3900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-268-2228, ClubHabits.com
No matter your age or attitude problem, it’s frankly impossible not to have fun at Fat Cats. Besides tenpins, there are arcade games galore, pool and The Pizza Factory. The lanes include automatic scoring, and gutter bumpers are available for little bowlers. In the evenings, Fat Cats turns into Thunder Alley. The black lights and music come up and the light show and fog machines are switched to the “on” position. What’s not fun about that? If you don’t have a smile on your face after a visit to Fat Cats, it’s time to take a serious look at where you made that wrong turn in life.
Multiple locations, FatCatsFun.com
2. Bonwood Bowl
3. Olympus Hills
BEST VENUE FOR BEER & SUNDANCE
Rose Wagner Center
Park City may be where the stars come out in January, but there are plenty of good reasons to take in a Sundance show in downtown Salt Lake City. The crowds aren’t as crazy, the snow isn’t as deep, and—if you’re taking in your show at the Rose Wagner Center—you’ll have a unique refreshment option. Yep, the Rose serves beer, allowing patrons to sit down to their dose of indie cinema just like they were at Brewvies. It sure could make those post-screening Q&A sessions a little livelier.
138 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-2787
BEST OUTDOOR CONCERTS
Twilight Concert Series
Who knew the Salt Lake City Arts Council would follow up 2007’s stellar Twilight Concert Series with an equally impressive lineup? We did—how could anybody lack faith in a group of trailblazing organizers who work ‘round the clock to ensure local audiences have free access to some of today’s top musical performers? Artists featured in 2008 included Broken Social Scene, Neko Case, Tim Fite, Crooked Fingers, Nada Surf, The Roots, De La Soul, Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams and Josh Ritter. Twilight is becoming less of a welcome surprise, and more of a valued institution. Coming up this year: The Black Keys, Sonic Youth and more!
239 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-596-5000, SLCgov.com/arts/twilight
Red Door doesn’t stop at “shaken or stirred?” The classy downtown drinkery supplies a mostly hip, stylish clientele with seemingly endless variations on the classic cocktail, from sweet neon-hued drinks to the traditional gin giblet and dirty martini—straight up, no olives. A hot night spot with live jazz and DJs performing on weekends, the downtown bar is also a quiet haven after work. Stop by and ask for the bar’s best whiskey. Sip slowly. Feel classy.
57 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-6030
3. Wine Cellar, Ogden
BEST INDIE DANCE CLUB
It ain’t big, and that’s the way they like it: The W Lounge is the specialty-boutique answer to big-box clubs, a place where dancers with discerning ears come to enjoy quality electronic beats, not endure a generic Top 40 thud crowded by the sweaty masses who wouldn’t know Ibiza from IHOP. The W pulsates seven nights a week with electro, new wave, Britpop, garage, house, break beats and more; mostly spun by the best local DJs, sometimes international talent, never wrong for the room.
358 S. West Temple Salt Lake City, 801-359-0637, MySpace.com/WLounge
BEST MUSIC TO DINE BY
Ryan Miller Epic Casual Dining
Listening to music while dining out can be distracting. It’s either too loud and disruptive or too soft and liable to get lost in the din of the meal service. Ryan Miller’s live music offers a perfect blend of acoustic guitar and vocals to accompany the meal. He tastefully chooses songs that fit the mood of the room, at a comfortable volume. His voice is impressive, with a wide range that normally would take two singers to cover. A good meal begins with the visual presentation, then an appetizing aroma, and of course, a wonderful taste. Miller supplies diners with a stimulus for their fourth sense, and it sounds delicious!
707 Fort Union Blvd., Midvale, 801-748-1300, EpicCasualDining.com
BEST COWBOY THURSDAYS
Today’s country & western bars, much like modern country music, have little sense of tradition—they consider Keith Urban a real cowboy and “Boot Scoot Boogie” a “classic.” On the first and third Thursday of the month at The Woodshed, local alt-country bucks Band of Annuals remedy this sad situation with “Cowboy Ramble,” a full night of real country classics performed with a rotating cast of guest vocalists and players—they even encourage the audience to arrive gussied up in their best western wear. The intimate environ of The Woodshed lends itself well to the twang—and the cheap drinks don’t hurt, either.
60 E. 800 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0805, MySpace.com/TheWoodshedSLC
Cheers to You
It ain’t easy getting drunk in a recession. Even the occasional after-work cocktail seems like a luxury in these trying economic times. That’s why we can’t give enough gratitude to Cheers to You for providing so many worried souls such needed relief. With generous steins of domestic brews ranging from Bud to Killian’s costing only $2.50, and microbrews from Cutthroat to Blue Moon only $3.50, it is possible to drown your troubles without significantly adding to them—monetarily, that is. For the really hard up, it’s hard to beat this drink special: Wednesday nights, any cocktail for two bones. That’s right: just $2. For the money saved, it sure is a classier alternative to drinking from a plastic fifth of Kamchatka vodka in the alley behind the liquor store.
315 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-575-6400
2. Burt’s Tiki Lounge
3. A Bar Named Sue
Poplar Street Pub
This bar goes deep—as in, it’s nowhere near as small as it looks from the front. The Poplar Street Pub is as warm and roomy inside (and out on the patio) as the emphasis is straight and simple: A handful of munchies on the menu, a whole lotta beers on tap, and enough games and TVs to keep you occupied in between. This should be—and obviously is—your new favorite hangout.
242 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-891-1162, MySpace.com/PoplarStreetPub
2. The Jam
3. A Bar Named Sue
BEST ROCK & TATS ONE-STOP
Bar Deluxe/Big Deluxe Tattoo
Bar Deluxe has cemented its rep as a diverse State Street rock & roll club, regularly hosting shows ranging from the mighty Supersuckers and Hell’s Belles to comic Doug Stanhope and house burlesque babes Slippery Kittens—but, apparently, something was missing. A tattoo shop right next door? Problem solved: Sister company Big Deluxe Tattoo opened a second location on State just a block away from the original shop last year, because all rock clubs should have an adjacent ink joint. It’s just good badass business.
Bar Deluxe, 666 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-521-5255, BarDeluxe666.com; Big Deluxe Tattoo: 662 S. State, Salt Lake City; BigDeluxeTattoo.com
BEST TIME ON 25TH STREET
If Salt Lake City had something, anything, like Ogden’s 25th Street—a vibrant strip of clubs, restaurants, shops and galleries—you’d never hear a gripe about Utah’s nightlife again. Of all the attractions, the prime party spot on 25th Street is Brewskis, a 15-year-old club raging all week with live music, pool and shuffleboard, TV screens, excellent pub food, mile-long bars and enough neon to potentially shut down the northern Utah power grid. If you visit O-Town without hitting Brewskis, you’ve missed half the fun.
244 25th Street Ogden, 801-394-1713, BrewskisOnline.net
BEST LIVE SURVIVOR
When the ambitious Depot opened three years ago, it was easy to be skeptical: How in the hell is Salt Lake City going to sustain a world-class nightclub like this? The phrase “we’re not worthy” never applied better, but a few hundred shows later, it’s obvious that The Depot is committed for the long haul—maybe Salt Lake City really does deserve its own House of Blues! More of a concert hall that happens to have a couple of bars than a “nightclub,” The Depot’s bookings are as consistently high-quality as the venue itself. Yes, even ’80s metalers Queensryche seem to have taken up residence.
400 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-355-5522, DepotSLC.com
BEST LUNCH & STRIPPER COMBOS
What’s better than hitting the strip club for lunch? Actually having lunch while you’re at the strip club instead of just giving the boss a line. Duces Wild makes it simple with daily specials like “Titillating Tuesday” (beer-battered cod, $4.25), “Wet Wednesday” (beer brats and fries, $3.25), “Frisky Friday” (burrito, $4) and three others, as well as a “Seductive Sunday” all-day breakfast special (rib-eye steak, potatoes and eggs, $6) that’s too good to pass up. Oh, and the dancers are even hotter than the food.
2750 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-467-4600, DucesWildSLC.com
New dance clubs arrive with much hype and bluster every year, but the decade-old Area 51 is still the space to beat—so much for that “location, location, location” mantra. With two floors of thumping music (in drastic contrast to the rest, none of it Top 40 or hip-hop) and a solid rep for defining trends rather than following them, Area 51 proves that you don’t have to force your patrons into a beer commercial to show them a good time. The club also claims to have “the largest ’80s night in the U.S. every Thursday,” and with this many disciples of Depeche Mode on hand, who can argue?
451 S. 400 West Salt Lake City, 801-534-0819, Area51SLC.com
2. The Hotel & Elevate
3. W Lounge
BEST ROCK-SOLID ROCK
All of your favorite clubs from those hazy, just-turned-21 days? Gone. Well, all but one: Liquid Joe’s is still here, and still as packed as ever with the newly legal. Nearly as impressive as Joe’s longevity in Salt Lake City’s notoriously fluid rock-bar scene is the club’s ridiculously successful one-two Thursday/Saturday punch of The Metal Gods and The Spazmatics, the former being the envy of cover/tribute nationwide: They’ve played to capacity crowds every Thursday for 6 1/2 years, which is longer than the real hair-metal era lasted … whoa, deep.
1249 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-5637, LiquidJoes.net
This downtown fixture is a neighborhood hangout where regulars frequently enjoy performances by local favorites and popular touring artists including past headliners Stephen Malkmus, Silver Jews, Dead Prez, RZA, Peaches, Girl Talk, Liars, The Black Angels, Jolie Holland and Zion I. On Sunday, the club hosts Time To Talk ‘Tween Tunes, a weekly acoustic night well suited for quietly catching up with friends. The drinks are cheap, the bartenders friendly and the sound man is a pro. What more do you need?
241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-746-0557, MySpace.com/TheUrbanLounge
2. The Depot
3. Club Vegas
BEST SUGAR BOWL TEAM
Lumpys & Fiddler’s Elbow
No sooner was it announced that the University of Utah would be playing in the Sugar Bowl than two of Utah’s best Ute sports bars—Lumpys on Highland Drive and Fiddler’s Elbow in Sugar House—teamed up and took their show of support on the road. Literally. The two Utah private clubs gave fans a place to party on New Orleans’ Bourbon Street by taking over Bourbon Cowboy nightclub and making it Ute central. Redone in Utah red (including Utah Sugar Bowl neon signs) with banners and beer flowing equally, Utah fans were made to feel at home at the Bourbon Cowboy—with one major exception: Nobody was asked for a club membership. No wonder everyone was in a good mood. Thanks, guys.
Lumpys, 3000 S. Highland Drive, 801-484-5597, LumpysBar.com; Fiddler’s Elbow, 1063 E. 2100 South, 801-463-9393, FiddlersElbowSLC.com
This midtown establishment has long been a favorite destination of Salt Lake City Erinophiles, but even if fiddle music isn’t your thing, you can still find a way to get your groove on in these mellow environs. Traditional pub fare, a good beer selection and full liquor service keep the crowd happy; live acts include soul, alt-country and reggae; and the occasional underground comedy troupe has even been known to take over the mic. Monday and Tuesday poker nights bring out the card sharks, while “Kerry O’Kee” idols get pitchy with it on Wednesdays and Sundays. There’s a little something for everybody—but leave the diva attitude at the door; this is a place for people who like to have fun.
1492 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-468-1492, PiperDownPub.com
2. Cheers to You
3. The Tavernacle
Capitol Theatre intermission
When you stretch your legs midway through a Utah Opera divafest or a Ballet West bunhead extravaganza, you quickly realize that the intermission is the true star of the night. In the Capitol Theatre foyer, it’s as if the great and the good of Salt Lake City have wheeled themselves out of their mansions to display their waxwork-museum fashion sense. Along with the ostentatious jewelry on display, there’s the best in dusted-off 1960s haute couture and big-bird hairstyles to boggle the mind and send you back to your seat smiling.
50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-2787
BEST OUT-OF-UTAH EXPERIENCE
It already seems too posh, glam and fab (as well as several other adjectives) to even exist east of Hollywood; as soon as the private-club law goes out the window, The Hotel and its adjacent sister club Elevate might existentially transcend Utah altogether. The four-level, five-room downtown party magnet hosts everything from international DJs to ultimate fighting nights. You can just as easily get lost in an ocean of dancers on the main floor as duck out and chill in one of the intimate lounges upstairs and down. Check out The Hotel & Elevate before it declares its own statehood.
155 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-478-4310, HotelElevate.com
||BEST ASSORTED CLIENTELE
The Twilite Lounge
While the average dive bar overflows with listless drunks, flies circling around them, somehow the Twilite Lounge has managed to break the literal and figurative dive-bar mold—with a corner-bar crowd that runs the gamut of traditional barflies to young, urban hipsters. On any given night, the pickled regulars might be sharing dirty jokes and rambling stories about their cats with college kids drinking a post-finals pint. Working professionals, from off-the-clock lawyers to waiters, might be sharing a pitcher over a game of pool while the after-concert crowd of hipsters trickles in for shots of Jager and whiskey. Like a happy boozer’s commune, the Twilite provides comfort and refreshment to a whole smattering of drinkers’ demographics.
347 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-9400, TwiliteLounge.com
BEST POOL & PIZZA
Johnny’s on Second
Part neighborhood pub, part sports bar, part dance club and part live-music venue, Johnny’s on Second is a lot of clubs in one modest space—we like to think of it as the joint with the killer pizza and open pool tables (seven and five, respectively). Pies like the Minnesota Fats (a meaty monster), the Sneaky Pete (fajita chicken and barbecue sauce) and the Fast Eddie (vegetarian) go perfectly with a game of 8-ball. At lunchtime, Johnny’s will even throw in a free hour of pool with your order. But, like so many things, it’s better at night.
165 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-746-3334, JohnnysOnSecond.com
Burt’s Tiki Lounge
Long recognized as one of America’s best dive bars, Burt’s feels a little less seedy with the smoking ban in effect. Don’t worry. The bathrooms are still very punk rock, as are the bartenders who aren’t paid to coddle your ass. Leave the fancy-pants attitude at home and join the eclectic crowds that vary from night to night depending on which band takes the stage—usually someone loud, from metal to ska, hip-hop and alt-country acts. It all pairs well with one of Scotty’s Famous Pickled Eggs.
726 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-521-0572, MySpace.com/BurtsTikiLounge
2. Twilight Lounge
3. Cheers to You
BEST METAL HEAVEN
Sure, Club Vegas switches it up a bit with the occasional blues and swing night, but the real meat of the joint is metal—or, to phrase it more accurately, meeeaaatttaaalll!!! No club rocks harder and more consistently that Club Vegas, giving heavy local and national bands a stage to slay on when few other local venues would even consider letting ’em in the front door to explode the sound system.
445 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-364-8347, MySpace.com/ClubVegasRocks
BEST DRIVE-IN DRAMA
“Redneck graffiti,” as locals in Mount Pleasant have it, is another term for “bullet holes.” One example of this is the many perforations in Basin Drive-In’s movie screens, which allow the fading sunlight to leak through. The drive-in meets all the basic needs of the outdoor movie fanatic, and then some. It has a cinderblock café that does a pretty good cheeseburger for a couple of bucks and a solid sound system. But the real treat of this drive-in is a gift from nature. As night advances, spectacular orange and pink clouds in the biggest of skies appear as if on cue. When it comes to “cinematic,” the adjective might well apply as much to what’s beyond the screen as on it.
680 N. State, Mount Pleasant, 435-462-2712, SanPeteMovies.com
BEST INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY SERIES
New Faces of Africa
While the genocide of Africa may seem a world away to us here in Utah, SLC Film Center programmer Rebecca Burton has gone to great lengths to bring thought-provoking films to Salt Lake City that showcase the humanity and courage of people in desperate situations. The films have considered such topics as the slaughter in Darfur and the legacy of Rwandan genocide. The events are not just screenings, either, having hosted panel discussions with guests such as writer Terry Tempest Williams and even filmmakers from war-torn Burundi. The New Faces of Africa film series shows that the solutions to these seemingly impossible crises can be close to home—and finding their solutions begins with educating ourselves.
Salt Lake Film Center, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-746-7000, SLCFilmCenter.org
Trails & Trails II
The better-known Trails Gentleman’s Club is the long-standing original 300 West location, but let’s take a moment and praise the simplicity of Trails II on State Street: One room, one stage, no cover, same lineup (just fewer) of Trails’ heralded dancers—it’s more intimate, which is never a bad thing. For hot girls and a cold beer (Trails II is a tavern, FYI) after work, the satellite club is a seductive option.
Trails, 921 S. 300 West, 801-363-2871; Trails II, 3055 S. State, 801-484-4846, Salt Lake City, TrailsMensClubs.com
2. Southern Xposure
3. American Bush
Huka Bar & Grill
If you can’t meet someone here, you’re just not trying—or you’re homely, in which case you have no business being in Murray’s infamously sexy Huka Bar & Grill anyway. Since the club is packed practically every night of the week, sheer numbers are on your side, merging the old fish-in-a-barrel/fish-in-the-sea analogies with the sweet, pervasive aroma of hookahs and quesadillas. Get in and get it on, already.
151 E. 6100 South, Murray, 801-281-4852, MySpace.com/TheHukaBar
3. Green Street
Still Salt Lake City’s gay bar par excellence, Joe Redburn’s club remains the place where, sooner or later, everybody shows up. It’s two bars back and front, with a newly renovated dance floor in between and a spacious outdoor patio out back. As for hook-ups, there’s plenty of room to find yourself a little something-something, although we must say the odds are in your favor if you’ve got outdoor plumbing (perhaps City Weekly should split this category next year?). Still, we’ve witnessed many diverse kinds of love connections transpire there over the years—and, now that the dance club/music venue next door has gone officially “straight,” it’s hard to calculate the number of steamy permutations and combinations that might ensue.
102 S. 600 West, Salt Lake City, 801-531-8727
2. Babylon @ Bliss
3. The Paper Moon
BEST SUBURBAN CROONING
All you downtown scenesters better take a walk on the wild ... er, mild side. Here, in a strip mall in the ’burbs, is an unpretentious joint that bills itself as a sports and karaoke club. It’s really a neighborhood bar that attracts sporty crooners, seven nights a week. The place fills up with a fair number of groovy mulletheads belting out ballads from the ’80s and ’90s. It’s not intimidating, and sometimes patrons even sing the chorus parts for you. It’s lively and congenial—a great place to shoot pool, eat pub food and yak with your friends. There must be a song about that, right?
6253 S. Highland Drive, Cottonwood Heights, 801-273-9899
BEST PRICELESS CINEMA
As if we needed more incentive to hang at Brewvies—Salt Lake City’s favorite cinema pub goes above and beyond on Mondays with free late-night screenings of classic movies plus wild-and-crazy specials on select appetizers. So, while the economy might be tanking, for one night a week you can afford to toss back a pitcher, feed the beast and enjoy a cult film such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Strange Brew. Rick Moranis never looked so good.
677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-355-5500, Brewvies.com
||BEST MULTIMEDIA NIGHTCLUB
At some nightspots, you’re happy enough to be entertained by music. Orange owner Lance Edwards kicks up the atmosphere another notch. A talented artist as well as an entrepreneur, Edwards adorns the walls with his own drawings, including renderings of Gandhi and Barack Obama. And if you hit Orange on Thursday nights in the fall, you also get a full theatrical stage show, including bebop jazz, poetry readings and a dramatic dance performance. We’ll drink to that.
533 S. 500 West, 801-433-3398
BEST LITTLE PICTURE SHOW
Main Street Theatre
In July 2008, Scott and Jennifer Fotheringham re-opened Beaver’s Main Street Cinema. It’s a beautifully restored theater which mixes the original 1930s fixtures with their own touches—like a sofa in the last row for those who want to cuddle. Their eldest son texts his friends on Fridays to see who wants to attend a midnight screening of whatever’s showing. While the community is almost completely LDS, Jennifer squeezes in the odd R-rated movie. Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino ran because her deceased father, a big Eastwood fan, “would have kicked my butt if I hadn’t.”
55 N. Main, Beaver, 435-438-1234
The Wine Cellar
This little club has everything hip going for it: It’s a jazz club; it’s a wine bar; it’s located in the basement of a historical Ogden building. It’s an unexpected refuge of “cool.” Here, people can gather and listen to live jazz and blues regularly performed by the likes of Daniel Weldon, The Legendary Porch Pounders, Joe McQueen, Kenji Aihara, Angela Bingham, Blues on First and The Jake Dreier Trio. And, every other Sunday, there’s a jam session, where you can get down with your own bad self—just bring your own instrument. It’s a club Salt Lake City should envy. Time to board the FrontRunner for Ogden.
2550 Washington Blvd. Ogden, 801-399-3600, WineCellarOgden.com
BEST PARTY CLUB
From the day their doors opened 25 years ago, Club 90 has been throwing parties. Sometimes the parties are in raucous celebration of a holiday, like, uh, New Year’s Eve or St. Patrick’s Day. Sometimes they’re sedate like simple party buffets for Mother’s Day. On other occasions, parties become legendary (but not always annual), like its famous golf tournament parties and buffets, the Elvis parties, the Nuts and Bolts parties, Sumo Wrestling nights or live professional wrestling. Can’t beat that one, says our own Bill Frost, himself a former member of the WWE. There’s always something going on at Club 90. Join Bill at partytown.
150 W. 9065 South, Sandy, 801-566-3254, Club90SLC.com
Why save the glitz for the Sundance Film Festival? Harry O’s doesn’t let up when the celebrities leave Park City; the expansive Main Street venue rages year-round with a party intensity that few clubs in “metropolitan” Salt Lake City can match. From national hip-hop and live rock shows to a never-ending array of themed dance nights, Harry O’s feels more like an eastward extension of the Las Vegas Strip than anything that belongs in Utah—in the best possible way, of course.
427 Main, Park City, 435-655-7579, HarryOs-PC.com
2. The Star Bar
3. No Name Saloon
BEST FREE STUFF ON SUNDAYS
“Never on a Sunday” is ne’er spoken here where Vern and his staff ensure that good times roll seven days a week. On Sundays, there’s always free pool and a free-food special of the day served from 2-7 p.m. The rest of the week is similarly geared for fun, including killer karaoke (Wednesdays through Sundays), free steel darts and U of U football on eight TVs. Good Spirits is that neighborhood bar with Sunday freebies that you always yearned for—a truly spirit-lifting experience.
999 W. 3300 South, West Valley City, 801-263-0411
BEST FIREWORKS & COCKTAILS
While the views of the city skyscape are always great from the Skybar (located on the lucky 13th floor of the Red Lion Hotel), one of the most relaxing times to enjoy a libation or two along with the scenery is the Fourth of July. Celebrate America the lush-patriot way, by avoiding traffic jams and overcrowded parks in favor of comfortable booths and tables, with cocktail service. Whether you take in a nice steak dinner at the Skybar’s Charcoal Room restaurant or just sip a martini at the bar, you can watch the fireworks go off from Liberty Park to Franklin Covey field—all from the comfort of your bar stool.
161 W. 600 South, 801-530-1313, SkyBarSLC.com
It’s a first for Utah in many respects: A truly classy gay club, beautifully apportioned (honey, don’t get us started on those bamboo floors!). The Jam was nonsmoking before nonsmoking was cool/mandatory and, smack in the heart of the Marmalade District, it really is the first concrete evidence that Salt Lake City’s up-and-coming gayborhood is more than a developer’s pipedream—it’s really happening, right here and now. In a word, and if you’ll pardon the expression: fabulous!
751 N. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-328-4055, JamSLC.com
2. The Trapp
3. The Paper Moon
BEST DRINKS AFTER WORK
Kristauf’s Martini Bar
This gem on Market Street just off Main has become a favorite spot for City Weekly’s after-work tipples—it’s nice and quiet around 5:30 p.m. until things start to rock later on, so we can hear ourselves talk; it’s right next door to Takashi, so we can order in delicious rolls and sashimi; and the service at Kristauf’s never falls short of excellent. So, at the risk of ruining our little after-work secret, we wanted to let you in on it. We’ll be the ones listening raptly to ourselves hold forth on the benefits of the classic gin martini vs. “all those newfangled fruity drinks”—even after we get started on Kristauf’s signature “crisp pear,” which is absolutely delicious.
16 W. Market St., 801-366-9490
The sports-bar experience takes many shapes. Sometimes, you want to be where everyone in town is watching the big game on the biggest possible screen; sometimes you and a couple of buddies have a particular event you want to watch. Lumpys Downtown offers ideal environs for either option, from the giant screens for communal viewing to the booth tables with their own private HDTV and remote. Order a beer and some stick-to-the-ribs pub food, and take control of your viewing, or let the roar of a crowd take you away.
145 W. Pierpont, Salt Lake City, 801-938-3070, LumpysDowntown.com
2. Iggy’s Sports Grill
3. Lumpys Highland
BEST PROOF MAIN
STREET AIN’T DEAD
Keys on Main
All of the doom-and-gloom news about Salt Lake City’s downtown Main Street has overlooked a very big, very bright (and very melodious) spot: Keys on Main. The year-old nightclub is bucking the downtrends, packing in patrons six nights a week with live jazz (Monday), karaoke (Tuesday) and, of course, dueling pianos (Wednesday-Saturday), the local phenomenon you have to experience to understand. Two singer-pianists banging the 88s completely at the behest of the audience and their tip money? It’s a beautiful convergence of capitalism and art. If you have no use for art, however, Keys on Main is just a classy place to grab a drink after work—especially if you still have a job on Main Street.
242 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-363-3638, KeysOnMain.com
BEST DAMN-GOOD EVERYTHING
Hog Wallow Location
Yeah, their neighbors (who came into the area with big houses long after the bar was there) are known to look askance, but, hey, if it weren’t a good location, they wouldn’t live there. Patio: If there’s a cooler place to be on a hot summer night in Salt Lake City, we don’t know where it is. Music—always a great selection of great local bands. Food: Can’t go wrong. Price: Won’t bust you out of a night on the town. Warm: Perfect place to relax after a day on the nearby slopes. Just a damn good place, day in, day out. Period.
3200 Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, 801-733-5567
Most days and nights, this venerable Trolley Square club has a slightly different clientele than it does come Friday. By the weekend, the switch is on, and the white collars are traded for the hip and fashionable attire of a younger patron. With some of the most fair beer prices around on special nights (plus a range of $3 cocktails on Fridays), it’s easy to understand why college-age patrons flock to Green Street. But they stay for everything else, including hip DJs, fast games of pool and TV sports—focused on University of Utah, natch. Then again, why watch TV when there are others sights to behold, male and female?
Trolley Square, Salt Lake City, 801-532-4200
BEST WATERING HOLE IN THE WALL
Junior’s Tavern is kind of like the infamously-friendly bar Cheers—except far more hole-in-the-wall than basement dwelling. It’s dark, jazzy, bluesy and boozy. On first glance it would also seem like the place where one could go to drink one’s sorrows away, unnoticed. Not particularly the case. Junior’s attracts all sorts of different types of people from all walks of life, possibly even your mom. And according to the local library crowd, it’s not only the place to get the best and cheapest Long Island iced tea, it’s also the watering hole Mr. Barack Obama would likely wet his whistle at when in town.
30 E. 300 South, 801-322-0318, JuniorsTavern.com
BEST SINGING SPORTS FANS
Everything and everyone is bipolar these days, even bars. Oscar’s in Midvale is no exception, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. At once a sports bar with heavy leanings to the University of Utah football and NBA basketball, Oscars becomes American Idol central on Tuesday and Thursday nights as yodelers of all stripes step up to the karaoke microphone. Winners advance to the finals at month’s end for cash prizes. No word if the losers have to sing their high school fight songs.
8136 So. State, Midvale, 801-566-3222