Best of Utah 2009: Night Life | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City
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Best of Utah

Best of Utah 2009: Night Life



Page 3 of 4

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,

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,

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,
2. Twilight Lounge
3. Cheers to You

Club Vegas

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,

Basin Drive-In

“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,

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,

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,
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,
2. Habits
3. Green Street

The Trapp
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

Maggie McGee’s

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


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,