Best of Utah 2013: Nightlife | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City
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Best of Utah

Best of Utah 2013: Nightlife



Best New Club
Zest Kitchen & Bar
When W Lounge closed its doors in August 2012, late-night electronic-music revelers wondered if they’d have to look elsewhere to find some beats. But the close was temporary; owner Casey Staker wanted to rebrand and focus on his passion for the culinary arts. Zest Kitchen & Bar was born, offering up vegan and vegetarian food inspired by contemporary American traditions. Menu items include stuffed mushrooms, raw zucchini noodles and eggplant Parmesan, plus a bevy of inventive, fresh cocktails and a beer list that focuses on local and craft brews. And devoted W Loungers can still find the same late-night, beat-heavy theme nights that thrived before.
275 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City,  801-433-0589,
2. One
3. Maxwell’s


Best Boardwalk  Empire Lounge
The Speakeasy at the Avenues Bistro on Third

No password needed, though it feels like you might want to invent one as you descend to The Speakeasy at the Avenues Bistro on Third. Enter via the stairwell at the back of the restaurant or through the kitchen and down the steps. There, in the dim light, you’ll see rows of wine and beer bottles hanging from the walls, a tiny L-shaped bar and a couple of tables. Order a martini and a nosh, and expect the unexpected.
564 E. Third Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-831-5409,

Best Out-West Rooftop Patio
The Puck

Despite the exquisite Wasatch Mountain scenery and some of the best star visibility of any metropolitan area, there is a severe lack of rooftop patios in the Salt Lake Valley. But this West Valley City three-level sports bar has all that, plus it’s within a slapshot’s range of the Maverik Center for post- and pre-game/concert drinks and eats. If you must come down from the patio because of inclement weather, the big screen above the bar and the weekend DJ spinning on the dance floor make for an enjoyable transition.
3396 Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City, 801-975-7825,

Best Cocktails
We all need to feel like we’re mysterious and alluring once in a while, and nothing will earn you the reaction of “Who is that beguiling person?” better than sipping one of the classic Prohibition-era cocktails at Bar-X. The speakeasy-style bar’s dark wood paneling and candles in red glass votive holders will make you feel like a film noir character—sit at a dimly lit corner table for maximum effect. The cocktails are as authentic as the ambiance, handmade with premium liquor, real juices and fresh garnishes. As you contemplate your dark, tangled past (or just get up the courage to chat with an attractive stranger), sip an Old Pal, made with rye whiskey, dry vermouth, Campari and an orange twist.
155 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City,  801-355-2287,
2. The Red Door
3. Finca

Best Throwback Spot
Atomic Arcade

Today’s generation doesn’t know of the glory that was once the classic arcade, or even convenience stores with a copy of Street Fighter II in the corner. But those glory days can be relived with the Atomic Arcade on Highland Drive. A stone’s throw from two bars and several restaurants, Atomic has become the place for old-school gamers and kids looking to hone their retro skills to play legendary titles from Pac-Man and Donkey Kong to Tron and Warlords. Just remember to bring the quarters!
3939 Highland Drive, Holladay,  801-634-1130


Best Gay Bar For Cowboys
The Trapp

If you’re looking for the oldest LGBT saloon this side of the Wasatch, look no further than The Trapp. For over 22 years, this gay-friendly hangout has been a cornerstone of Salt Lake City’s LGBT community and a welcoming spot for anyone who loves cold beers served in Mason jars, good company and novelty-size disco-ball cowboy boots. Here’s to 22 more years!
102 S. 600 West, Salt Lake City, 801-531-8727,

Best Classic Club
Club 90
Nightclubs come and go. But, thankfully, some don’t fade with time. Now in its 34th year at the same location, Club 90 has come by its classic status honestly. From its massive dance floor, live music on weekends, Thursday-night poker and weekend brunch to big screens for game day, outdoor patio, game room and a menu overflowing with tasty pub grub, Club 90 is just the friendliest place to gather in the south end of the valley.
9065 S. Monroe St. (150 West), Sandy, 801-566-3254,
2. City Club
3. The Westerner

Best Magna Biker Bar
The Filling Station

The Filling Station is not your average biker hangout. It’s still a regular stop for Harley riders, but the new owner, Christine Gyllenskog, has remodeled it and turned it into a spacious roadhouse-style bar with cheap drinks and great food. On Mondays, enjoy a full steak dinner for $8. Or, if you want to get tipsy, knock back the signature Green Cream shot, made with Hpnotiq and peach schnapps.
8987 W. 2700 South, Magna, 801-981-8937

Best Northern Lights
The Garage

Downtown snobs refuse to go past 2100 South, but if there are rules about going north of 600 North, they were made to be broken by The Garage, Salt Lake City’s one-size-fits-all hangout. Its Beck Street location (with its refinery backdrop) technically makes The Garage a roadhouse bar, but it’s more complex than that, offering live music, Southern comfort food, quiet corners for chatting and a huge patio—with its own dedicated bar—that’s big enough to accommodate both rowdy horseshoe players and solitude-seeking smokers.
1199 N. Beck St., Salt Lake City,  801-521-3904,

Best Spot for Burners

Though not necessarily designed with fans of the annual Burning Man festival in mind, Club Mixx is still an ideal candidate for anyone who likes things a little different. On any given night of the week, party-goers can expect scantily clad cabaret dancers, high-flying acrobats and steampunk unicyclists, while a minimal house DJ holds down the soundtrack. The weekly Plush Saturdays are the marquee event, hosted by a rotating roster of local and traveling EDM DJs.
615 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City,  801-575-6499,

Best Ogden Club
This bar just keeps going and going—literally (it’s huge) and figuratively, dominating the competition in this category every year. Settle in at the massive wooden bar in the front room, check out a band in the cave-like center room, or watch or play a game in the appropriately named game room. There’s a huge selection of beer on tap and by the bottle, and this unpretentious joint is usually packed with down-to-earth Ogdenites of all ages and stripes. Brewskis itself says it best: “If Salt Lake City is the heart of Utah, Ogden is the liver.”
244 25th St., Ogden, 801-394-1713,
2. The City Club
3. Copper Club

Best Dancing to ’80s Classics
Liquid Joe's

We all know you’re “Working for the Weekend,” and if you haven’t yet checked out The Spazmatics, who play Liquid Joe’s every Saturday, you’re blowin’ it. This ’80s cover band fills up one of the best dance floors by dressing like Revenge of the Nerds, cracking corny jokes and full-on shredding all of your favorite ’80s classics.
1249 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City,  801-467-5637,

Best Tooele Pub Grub
J&J Lounge

This neighborhood hangout has been around since 1976 and might as well be a Tooele historical landmark. On the surface, it looks like any run-of-the-mill Tooele watering hole. For instance, there are always cheap drinks, pool and a game on the tube. But the real highlight here is the food. Your best bet is the daily specials, which consist of hearty homestyle dinners that will run you about $7. Try the famous—yes, famous—chicken-noodle-topped mashed potatoes.
46 N. Broadway, Tooele, 435-882-7605

Best Gay Club
Club Jam

Club Jam joins the Best of Utah five-timers club this year, continuing its fabulous streak of being voted Best Gay Club. Owners Noni Blake, Todd Crofts and Brian Morris have perfected the art of throwing fiercely gay dance parties Tuesday through Sunday. This LGBT-friendly spot in the Marmalade district also offers up themed parties throughout the week, like Sunday Karaoke, Hip-Hop Thursdays and Five-dollar Fridays.
751 N. 300 West, Salt Lake City,  801-891-1162,
2. The Trapp
3. The Paper Moon


Best No-Judgment Zone
Johnny's On Second

No judgments here, just good old-fashioned drinkin’. Johnny’s on Second is buzzing all day, with college kids taking a break from studying to play pool, worker bees trying to forget the day with some suds out on the patio, and late-night revelers chowing down on pizza and guzzling $1 cans of Busch while keeping an eye out for new friends or maybe more.
165 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-746-3334,

Best Horseshoein’ Around
Club Rendezvous

The triangle-shaped entrance of Club Rendezvous should have been shaped like another geometrical object. No, not a rhombus; a horseshoe. OK, we might not be good at geometry, but we sure can throw a ringer or two. The patio in the back is home to several fine horseshoe pits, where bar patrons sip cheap drinks and toss for free. You’ll often hear the clang of metal outside, but if you hear it inside, get excited: It means someone rang the bell above the antique-looking beer-cooler doors—so drinks are on that poor sucker.
1900 W. 4100 South, Taylorsville,  801-972-4264

Best Musical Epicenter
Velour Live Music Gallery

It wouldn’t surprise us if Provo’s 100 Block is a nationally known term in a decade—or even five years. The 100 Block is the hip enclave between 100 and 200 North on University Avenue in Provo, and it’s usually referenced in the same breath as successful, ambitious music. Velour owner Corey Fox is mostly responsible for this, as he’s crafted an exciting all-ages venue, where Utah County bands aspire to play in front of supportive audiences. Velour was the starting place for Utah County bands now signed to major record labels such as Neon Trees, Imagine Dragons and Fictionist. It’s a hotbed for an unexpectedly vibrant and robust music scene. Bands play on the weekends, but you might catch Provo’s next big thing at the Tuesday open-mic nights.
135 N. University Ave., Provo,  801-818-2263,

Best Striptease Shuttle
Southern X-posure International

This State Street strip club has a reputation for offering an abundance of scantily clad dancers, but it’s also a place where you can party on the cheap. Every day of the week, the club offers a free stripper shuttle that picks up patrons and drops them off within the downtown area, and there’s a free gourmet lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Most drinks are only $3, and there’s a pool tourney every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for a $300 cash prize.
3420 S. State, South Salt Lake,  801-288-1488,

Best Place for a Shot Between Classes
Pitchers Lounge

We’ll let you in on a little secret—you don’t have to travel blocks from the University of Utah to get a drink. Many students assume that the only place within walking distance to sip a beer is the often-crowded Pie on 200 South or Big Ed’s on 1300 East. But less than a half-mile from the student dorms is a quiet little spot called the Pitchers Lounge, inside the Marriott University Park hotel. It’s technically in Research Park, so students (of the legal age) can enjoy a cocktail while playing pool or watching a game.
Marriott University Park, 480 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, 801-581-1000,

Best Dance Club
Area 51
Perhaps the anything-goes atmosphere of Area 51 is why it wins Best Dance Club year after year. Or it could be because downtown’s biggest club space doesn’t discriminate against the youngsters, offering a dance floor for drinkers and another for the under-21 crowd. Either way, owner Alan Moss has successfully cultivated a well-oiled, industrial-themed dance fortress that satisfies Salt Lakers’ need for goth and ’80s music.
451 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City,  801-534-0891,
2. Habits
3. Metro Bar

Best Reason to  Paint the Town Pink
Paper Moon

With pink walls, pink neon, pink streamers and more, Paper Moon is absolutely the pinkest bar in town. A few years back, this was a lesbian-oriented bar, but Paper Moon now attracts a diverse crowd of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, straight people and others who come for the weekend dance parties, free Texas Hold ’Em on Monday and Wednesday, and karaoke on Tuesday and Thursday—Pink Floyd, Pink or Aerosmith’s “Pink,” anyone?
3737 S. State, South Salt Lake, 801-713-0678,

Best Dive Bar
Burt's Tiki Lounge

So they cleaned up the bathrooms (a little); the venerable Burt’s Tiki Lounge is still the first joint that comes to mind when you’re talkin’ Salt Lake City dive bars—real dive bars, not the catch-all Travel Channel descriptor applied to any club with a beer sign in the window. They keep it simple at Burt’s: The bands are loud, the house specialty drink is the Pabst tallboy, and the smoking lounge/alley is out back. Any questions? Shut up and drink your PBR, punk.
726 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-521-0572,
2. Cheers to You
3. Bongo Lounge

Best Boozy Game Night
Metro Bar

Metro Bar understands that video games are best played with booze and plenty of trash-talking, so once a week it dedicates an evening to all vidiots, appropriately dubbed Metro-cade. Every Tuesday, Brenton Leu organizes this night of tourneys, with video games like Mario Kart, Mortal Kombat, Rock Band and Wii Bowling. Tons of free giveaways and cheap libations sweeten the deal.
540 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-448-1140,

Best 18 & Over Nightclub
The Bay

The historic brick building at 404 S. West Temple that housed The Bay has been home to quite a few tenants over the past century. A little over a year ago, the owners of Club Jam renovated the landmark into arguably one of the nicest clubs in Salt Lake City, period. Yeah, sure, there was no booze, but there were plenty of Red Bull, hookahs and dance-y tunes. The Bay definitely knows how to throw a good party—so good, in fact, that to meet demand, The Bay is in the process of moving to a bigger, better venue.

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Best Karaoke
The Tavernacle
The Tavernacle’s outstanding karaoke nights are a great mix of no cover, $1 draft beer, games and some of the most talented karaoke singers in town. Sundays are reserved for straight-up karaoke, but Mondays and Tuesdays up the ante with bingo. Spectators and singers alike can play for prizes, with numbers called between singers—everyone’s a winner.
201 E. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-833-0570,
2. Piper Down
3. Highlander Club

Best Pool Joint
Fats Grill & Pool

There’s no question that Fats Grill & Pool is Salt Lake’s City’s best pool spot—it’s won this award a whopping 14 years in a row. But Salt Lakers come to this Sugar House hangout for more than just the billiards and cheap PBR. There’s outstanding food, like the firehouse burger with ham and barbecue sauce, and a downstairs stage that has become a hotspot for local bands.
2182 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-484-9467,
2. Johnny’s On Second
3. X-Wife’s Place

Best Online Concerts

Not everyone can afford to plunk down money for a live show. GigViz has local music junkies covered, live-streaming shows from most of the major music venues in Salt Lake City, with crystal-clear audio. It’s just a single camera, but that’s a better view than you’ll get avoiding the mosh pit or standing behind a U of U linebacker in a space smaller than your studio apartment. And they’ve recently begun archiving shows, so fans can even relive their favorite concert moments.

Best UFC Party
Oscar's Social Club

There’s something about watching two grown men rolling around in short shorts while beating the crap out of each other that’ll always bring a neighborhood together. Oscar’s understands this completely, which may be why all of Midvale shows up for the free UFC screenings. The fights are the main event, but this party also features tasty grub and cheap tallboys.
8136 S. State, Midvale, 801-566-3222


Best New Venue
The Shred Shed

More than a year in the making, in October 2012, the new home of the Shred Shed opened to sold-out shows. The all-ages venue has become the hotspot for shows that normally wouldn’t find a home at Kilby, Urban, Bar Deluxe or Burt’s. The new wild location on Exchange Place is a great location to party hard, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s just a stone’s throw away from TRAX, three bars, several food joints and a music shop, either.
60 E. Exchange Place (350 South), Salt Lake City,

Best Sports Bar
Lumpys Downtown
If ESPN and a Dave & Buster’s had a baby, it would probably look something like Lumpys Downtown. Whether you’re dying to watch the Super Bowl, the NCAA softball World Series or even the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, Lumpys Downtown has it on one of its many, many TVs. Flat-screens circle the bar and a few Jumbotron-size screens on the main wall give sports the cinematic treatment. If you’re looking for something super obscure, every booth has its own TV with channels you can change yourself. And Lumpy’s basement bar is a top-notch game room that every man cave worth its salt should be modeled after.
145 Pierpont Ave. (240 South), Salt Lake City, 801-883-8714,
2. ’Bout Time Pub & Grub
3. The Huddle

Best Theme Night
Fetish Ball, area 51

As Whodini once pointed out, “The freaks come out at night,” and they more than likely end up at Area 51’s monthly Fetish Ball. The club’s longest-running theme night pulls in more than 1,000 patrons each month by constantly switching things up. One month, guests might be asked to wear their sexiest Disney outfits; the next month might call for vampire clowns. Whatever fetish you’re into, it’s probably been done at Area 51.
451 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City,  801-534-0891,
2. Drinking Liberally, Piper Down
3. Toga Party, Huka Bar & Grill

Best Cowboy Bar
The Westerner

It’s no secret that The Westerner is Utah’s boot-scootin’est nightclub. Every Saturday, this spot showcases local country bands, while cowboys and cowgirls pack the 1,500-square-foot dance floor. If you have two left feet, grab some liquid courage in a $3 draft and show up for the free dance lessons Thursday through Saturday, starting at 7 p.m. If your coordination is already top-notch, take advantage of the free mechanical bull rides. Every Friday is bikini bull-riding, where ladies can compete for a $200 cash prize.
3360 S. Redwood Road, West Valley City, 801-972-5447

Best Summertime Rock Party
Sunset Sessions at the Canyon Inn

Canyon Inn is known as a great après ski bar, but every Thursday night from June through the end of July, this drinking spot at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon transforms its front parking lot into a wide-open party space, complete with live tunes, barbecue, beer pong and cornhole. Great local bands like Wasnatch, American Hitmen and Marinade often play the Sunset Sessions, and the outdoor event raises cash for the Utah Food Bank.
3700 E. Fort Union Blvd., Salt Lake City, 801-943-6969

Best Bar to Watch  Real Salt Lake
Dick N' Dixies

If they’re not down at the pitch come game day, true Real Salt Lake fans are at Dick N’ Dixies, an official Real Salt Lake pub partner. At kickoff, expect this friendly neighborhood spot to be packed with Real hooligans, frosty mugs and lots of soccer scarves. Besides coming to see the world’s greatest game, fans also show up for cheap whiskey shots—served in a Dixie cup—and tallboys.
479 E. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-521-3556


Best Darts
Club DJ's

While it might take a few throws to hit the spot you were shooting for on the dartboard, it won’t take that long to hit a good time at this big Taylorsville room of fun. The big-box stores have moved out of this strip mall, but Club DJ’s holds down the fort with 12 electronic dartboards and Sunday dart tournaments. If the competition gets too stiff—or you need to rest your throwin’ hand—there’s often karaoke or a DJ spinning Top 40 and hip-hop tunes.
3849 W. 5400 South, Taylorsville, 801-964-8575,

Best All-Ages Venue
Kilby Court
Over the past year, Kilby Court has made impressive changes to the sound system and the acoustics, as well as building a new green room and renovating other features. But even with upgrades, this venue has kept true to its roots of attracting up-and-coming bands of a high caliber—The Decemberists, Vampire Weekend and Death Cab for Cutie all played Kilby on their first national tours. The DIY, garage-y atmosphere is also a great spot for local bands to cut their chops with intimate shows.
741 S. Kilby Court (330 West), Salt Lake City, 801-364-3538,
2. In the Venue
3. The Depot

Best Bar for Utes Football
Fiddler's Elbow

Every University of Utah football game—home or away—Fiddler’s Elbow is the go-to hangout for red-blooded Utes fans: It’s big, there’s an army of servers, an overstocked bar, great food and flat-screen TVs as far as the eye can see. There’s an actual dessert case, plus a huge selection of local beer on tap and in bottles. And if you’re not a fan of the U, Fiddler’s has just about every other college game on, and even a few Cougars hanging around.
1063 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-463-9393,

Best Magna Tavern
Bill's Lounge

Just footsteps from Colosimo’s Standard Market on Magna’s historic 2700 South is a little duck-in called Bill’s Lounge. This cash-only, beer-only neighborhood hangout is a Magna mainstay. It’s frills-free, and that’s what makes it so great. You’ll find the coldest suds, a decent pool table and plenty of drinkin’ stories from the bar’s friendly locals. When the summer rolls around, Bill’s Lounge also hosts a weekly car show and barbecue every Sunday afternoon.
9027 W. 2700 South, Magna, 801-250-9987,

Best Live Music Club
The State Room

There are several factors that make a live-music club rise above the rest: caliber and variety of bands, sound quality, light-show capabilities, stage visibility, space for dancing, access to alcohol and the overall vibe of the venue. On all accounts, The State Room is aces. Acts range from blues legends and rising Americana stars to gypsy cabaret and local CD release shows. There’s really not a bad seat in the house, which boasts a dance floor and tiered seating, and the beer is cheap and delicious.
638 S. State, Salt Lake City, 800-501-2885,
2. The Urban Lounge
3. The Depot

Best Park City Club
Park City Live

With this award, Park City Live has graduated from New Kid On the Block to Best Park City Club. During the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, new management took over the former Harry O’s spot and had such a successful run that they made it a regular venue and began booking celebrity DJs, national bluegrass and Americana bands, reggae acts and more. With the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Park City Live offered up Dave Grohl’s Sound City Players and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, to name a few, showing that it has arrived as the venue in Park City.
427 Main, Park City, 435-649-9123,
2. No Name Saloon
3. Downstairs

Best Poker Night
Piper Down

Salt Lake City’s favorite imagining of an Irish pub, Piper Down remains a stalwart presence in the Beehive’s nightlife scene. Piper Down’s Texas Hold ’Em nights, with their organized but fun feel, underscore Piper’s playful Irish personality. So, the next time you crave a Guinness or a shot of Jameson and a few hands of poker, you’ll know where to go on a Monday and Tuesday night.
1492 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-468-1492,
2. Lumpys Highland
3. Johnny’s on Second

Best Drink With History
Owl Bar

There are plenty of places to enjoy a refreshing adult beverage where you can build your own history of wild times. Sundance Resort’s Owl Bar comes with its history of wild times built right into the bar. When you sit down in front of your friendly barkeep, you’ll be sitting at a refurbished 19th-century vintage rosewood bar that was once frequented by Butch Cassidy and the Hole in the Wall gang. It’s already a lively place to spend an evening, with live music on the weekends, but how much livelier might it be if that wood could speak?
8841 N. Alpine Loop Road, Sundance,  801-223-4222,


Best for Relaxing
Junior's Tavern

Sometimes you just need to hit a bar for a nice, relaxing chat and a pitcher of fine beer, and there’s no better place to go in the afternoon than Junior’s Tavern. The “blues and booze” bar is quiet enough that you can carry on a conversation or mull over your own thoughts and has a friendly, jazzy vibe that you can’t get anywhere else.
30 E. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-322-0318,

Best Pub-Quiz Night
The Big Shiny  Geek Show Pub Quiz
Leave it to a pair of pop-culture masters to put together a quiz for Wednesday nights, just when people need a pick-me-up. Rather than simply hosting a trivia program, founders Shannon Barnson and City Weekly contributor Bryan Young create their own set of questions every week to challenge even the most knowledgeable music nerds, history junkies and Jeopardy watchers. It doesn’t hurt that the evening is set at Lucky 13, where patrons can snag a tasty bite and a pint while yelling at Barnson for his musical taste, or at Young for liking films made before 1954.
Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m., 135 W. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-487-4418
2. Geeks Who Drink, Piper Down
3. Adult Trivia, The Green Pig


Best Big Stage  for Small Bands
Bar Deluxe
Sure, the large Bar Deluxe stage hosts its share of big-name rock & roll, hip-hop, DJ and even burlesque and gypsy shows, but more often than not, it’s just local bands you’ve barely heard of. Instead of working up their chops on a dime-size “stage” in the corner of some bar that supplies a 40-watt bulb for a light show, one power outlet and maybe a P.A. system (if they’re lucky), bands get full access to a pro stage and sound—and not just on random weeknights, either. At Bar Deluxe, Salt Lake City outfits like ’90s Television (pictured) and many others have a place to spread out and get freaky, thanks to proprietor Kaci Tokumoto.
666 S. State, Salt Lake City,  801-532-2914,

Best Booze Breath Check
If you’re not sure if that last Jager bomb put you over the edge or not, you can, for a small fee, use a BreathAdvisor kiosk to check your blood-alcohol level yourself. The info is private and isn’t stored in the machine, and the kiosk—which currently can be found in the Canyon Inn, Lumpys South, Zest Kitchen & Bar, with more coming soon—can even help you get a cab. Even for those with designated drivers, the BreathAdvisor could become the newest bar-game craze, allowing you to keep a high score of just exactly how plastered you can get—right down to the thousandth decimal point.

Best Latin Gay Party
Karamba Pachanga Nights
What happens when you mix cross-dressing go-go dancers, a pinch of Red Bull and vodka, a dash of dem-bow bass lines and lasers—lots of lasers? You get Pachanga Night at Karamba. Every Sunday evening, CJ Lara of JCL Promotions takes over Sugar House’s best Latin nightclub and offers up an LGBT-friendly night of DJs, graffiti artists—and did we mention cross-dressers?
1051 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-696-0639,

Best World-Rocking Mai Tai
With its music, great drinks, upscale pub food and outdoor patio, there’s lots to love about Gracie’s. But nothing starts out a dinner or bar crawl like a good buzz—and the mai tai will get you on your way. Sure, it’s pink and sweet, but there’s nothing ladylike about this rum-infused drink. After just two, you might start to forget you’re in Utah.
326 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City,  801-819-7565,

Best Comedic Alternative
K-Town Komedy
Many of Salt Lake City’s newest talents coming up through the stand-up scene are appearing at Club DJ’s for K-Town Komedy. The monthly showcase in Taylorsville has become the new place to see risk-takers and up-and-comers, as well as the occasional semi-famous comedian. If you’re looking for funny at a cheap price, K-Town is your destination.
Club DJ’s, 3849 W. 5400 South, Taylorsville, 801-964-8575


Best Hemingway-esque Hideaway
If Ernest Hemingway were still alive and found himself in Utah, he would probably find the liquor laws absurd, but at least he could feel at home at David’s, telling exaggerated fishing tales in a leather seat at one of the tables in the charming, oaky steakhouse. And he’d have plenty of inspiration, too. Bar patrons can look upon the 12-foot-6-inch encased marlin behind the bar while eating a sirloin steak and drinking a cold one. The 450-pound behemoth took bar owner David Van Wagenen an hour and a half to reel in and won him first place at the 1983 International Billfish Tournament in Kona, Hawaii.
2324 S. Redwood Road, West Valley City, 801-972-9688

Best Magically  Delicious Charms
The Leprechaun Inn

It’s easy to feel at home in the Lep’s full-service bar and restaurant, serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not only can you park by the front door, there is lots of room to spread out when you come inside, thanks to a recent expansion. You’ll be charmed by the Lep’s covered patio, its 15 HD TVs and satellite TV channels—all tuned to your favorite games—Golden Tee golf, free Wi-Fi, pool, darts, bands, daily drink specials (such as $2 Bloody Marys on Sundays) and maybe the tastiest selection of steaks, sandwiches and burgers this side of the Emerald Isle (try the blarney burger).
4700 S. 900 East, No. 6, Salt Lake City,  801-268-3294,

Best Dinner & Dancing

Habits is a 12,000-square-foot dance club armed with a huge menu, ranging from sushi to steak—any and all taste buds are welcome here. As such, Habits is a great venue for a quick meeting, events, snacks or dinner. Once the food coma wears off, you and your cohorts can get your groove on the large sunken dance floor in the center of the club.
832 E. 3900 South, Salt Lake City,  801-268-2228,

Best Murray Patio
The Point After

There’s a lot going for this bar, located in the Murray Sports Mall. It’s got 30 HD flat-screen TVs on two floors, making this a game-day destination. Most of the food served here is prepared from scratch—even the meat, which is smoked in-house. And for those who like to relax on a warm summer night, there’s probably no better place than the two-level patio at The Point After. With a fire pit and live music on weekends, it’s a place you’ll make a “point” to return to often.
5445 S. 900 East, Murray, 801-266-9552,

Best Bowling Alley
Bonwood Bowl
From one of the best signs in Salt Lake City—a straight-out-of-Vegas, circa-1960 neon arrow with a 3-D ball and pin—to the bucket of ice-cold lagers you can purchase once you’re inside, Bonwood Bowl beckons to rollers. As you’re selecting your ball, you’ll notice one of the most charming aspects of Bonwood—the previously owned, once-high-quality balls of bowlers past, which bear the names of former owners: There’s the blue “Mike” ball, the tie-dyed “Crystal” ball and more. Head down on Mondays after 9:30 p.m. to roll turkeys at a discounted price. If you get there before 9 p.m. during the week, you’ll most likely be waiting for the leagues to finish. If that’s the case, might we again remind you about the buckets of beer?
2500 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-487-7758,
2. FatCats
3. Jupiter Bowl

Best Place to  Monkey Around
5 Monkeys

Since father & son duo Craig and Ryan Oliver opened their bar in 2007, they’ve offered a little something for everyone—there’s no distinct crowd of people who find their way to this popular Murray hangout. Karaoke Wednesdays, free pool—all day, every day—open-mic nights and live music top the list of reasons why 5 Monkeys is a great place for “monkeying around.”
7 E. 4800 South, Murray, 801-266-1885,


Best Bringing  Home the Bacon
The Republican

Under normal circumstances, when you walk through the doors of your favorite watering hole, your mouth is percolating for a frothy brew or some other libation. But Wednesday evenings at The Republican are not normal circumstances, for there is free bacon for the taking. Bacon while you drink a Guinness, bacon while you play shuffleboard or darts, bacon while you watch soccer (you’ll never see American football on these screens) ... it’s true, everything is better with free bacon.
917 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-595-1916

Best All-Week Music Party
The Urban Lounge

Believe it or not, years ago, there were several clubs in Salt Lake City that hosted live music of the touring and local variety seven days a week—no off-night filler, just real bands playing real music Monday to Sunday. In 2013, the only local joint that rocks all week long (with rare exception) is The Urban Lounge, this town’s indie champion for all genres and crowds. There’s deliberate, undeniable “cool” about Urban’s choices in touring-act bookings, and any local musician will tell you that breaking into the club’s lineup is a real coup. Long may The Urban Lounge remain karaoke-free.
241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-746-0557,

Best Place to Talk Like a Pirate

Scallywags has the unique distinction of being Utah’s first and only pirate bar—arr! Though Blackbeard may not be pouring you pints as you wearily tell your tales, this South Salt Lake bar still offers a place for you and your mateys to weigh anchor and pillage—er, throw a few back while enjoying one another’s company. Savvy?
3040 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-604-0869

Best Whiskey Barrel
The Hotel/Club Elevate

For six years, The Hotel/Club Elevate have been renowned as a swanky Salt Lake City dance club. And now, with recent renovations, they’re rebranding as a cross between dance club and lounge. First, start at The Lobby Bar—now filled with high-top tables and TVs. Then, head to the remodeled basement, dubbed The Barrel Room, for a more laid-back atmosphere. The Barrel Room offers a perfect place to just chill out—with a whiskey on the rocks in hand, of course.
155 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City,  801-478-4310,

Best Rocking Out on the Patio
Barbary Coast Saloon

When summer comes around, nothing beats a cold beer, a sleeveless T-shirt and a good ol’ American rock & roll band. Barbary Coast agrees, and if you haven’t checked out the bar’s massive back patio and stage, you’re missing out on a great spot to catch an outdoor show. The newly installed stage regularly features local bands like Ledd-Foot, Caveman Blvd. and Black Water Jack, as well as national acts like The Fryed Brothers.
4242 S. State, Murray, 801-265-9889,


Best Mason Jar Usage
Carol's Cove II

Traditionally, Mason jars are used for moonshine or pickles. Carol’s Cove II—actually in its third location—deals in neither. But, amid the ’50s decor—Betty Boop, et al.—owner Carol Mills and her staff pour ice-cold, frothy brews into the jars. It’s an old-timey, back-porch sentimentality, matched perfectly by the joint’s jukebox, which is always blaring country music.
3424 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-466-2683

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