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If it were any closer to Smith’s Ballpark, it’d be a concession stand. Salt Lake Bees fans have it better than all other local sports nuts because they can pre-game at Lucky 13 with a cold stein and the best burgers in the valley (literally, the Best Burgers, as voted by our readers several years over). You can’t beat a summer evening on the Lucky 13 patio, drinking and noshing until the first inning, or maybe the second, or …
135 W. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-487-4418, Lucky13SLC.com
2. Poplar Street Pub
Brewskis is an O-town institution because it’s a bar of many dimensions: A great local hangout with tasty, well-priced drinks that pair nicely with an equally scrumptious menu of pizzas and sandwiches (try the meatball) to match. A music hub for local and touring acts, plus the delightful Saturday-night time warp to the ‘80s provided by The Breakfast Klub cover band. A game room that has a TV screen that’s 15 damned feet across, so big that watching boxing matches will make you afraid that pixels of blood will land in your nachos. It’s a bar that’ll keep everyone dancing, cheering and drinking the night away.
244 25th St., Ogden, 801-394-1713, BrewskisOnline.net
3. City Club
Usually the most reviled figures in sports, at Maggie’s, referees come out looking a lot better. The drink-slinging staff at this east-side sports bar all don the zebra stripes, and the excellent service they provide gives patrons no reason to scream and shout—beyond, at least, at who’s playing on the 20-plus TVs, or if you’ve elected to sing a post-hard-core number during the nightly karaoke that kicks off after 9.
6253 Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-273-9899, MaggieMcGees.com
Best Place to Split a Beer
Its Main Street location makes it a popular place for a standard after-work brew, but to not peruse The Beerhive’s huge menu of beers, sorted by type, would be a big mistake. Beers from all over the world are on that list, and the best way to try them all is to bring along a friend to split the larger 700ml bottles. With the bar’s unique layer of ice keeping your glass cold, the hours will fly by, and it won’t be too many visits before your palate will be able to detect notes that others barley notice.
128 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-364-4268
Keys on Main
Being the dueling-pianos epicenter of Main Street is one thing, but Keys on Main takes its pop obsession to the next level with sweet themed cocktails, like the Britney Bitch, the Crocodile Rock, the Bohemian Rhapsody, the California Girl, the Sweet Caroline, the Friends In Low Places and, of course, the Lady Gaga (meat-free, relax). But the coup de grace encore drink would have to be the Keys mojito, a rum-based crowd-pleaser replete with mint leaves and sugar, and available in six flavors (including, naturally, Rock Coconut).
242 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-363-3638, KeysOnMain.com
Best Musical Numbers
The Tavernacle pioneered the dueling-pianos concept in Salt Lake City in 2002, and all these years later, they’ve scored another local first: making bingo sing. On Mondays and Tuesdays, Bingo Karaoke takes over the club for three hours of musical numbers over just calling numbers, and the rules are still easy to follow even after a drink or two. You may not always know what you’ll be singing, but that’s half the fun. The other half: prizes!
201 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-519-8900, Tavernacle.com
Best UFC Bar
The Point After
There are other sports bars that regularly show Ultimate Fighting Championship events, but The Point After has them beat for pure screen immersion: with more than 30 HD TVs—and that’s not even counting the projection screens—you’ll feel like you’re right there in the hexagon (minus the threat of a kick-punch to the head). The pub grub is better here than in most jock hangouts, as well—items like the teriyaki steak fingers and chicken tenders are great separate, but your Ultimate Food Choice is The Point Platter, which loads up those plus hot wings, mozzarella sticks, onion rings and veggies.
5445 S. 900 East, Murray, 801-266-9552, PointAfterSLC.com
Best Smokin’ Nights
Huka Bar & Grill
The Utah Indoor Clean Air Act was supposed to be the death knell for Murray hotspot Huka Bar & Grill, when House Bill 245 inexplicably lumped relatively clean hookahs and e-cigarettes in with Marlboros and Camels. But here it stands years later, blowing it in the face of The Man with Tokin’ Tuesdays, Smokin’ Saturdays and five more nights of flavor-puffing goodness, thanks to a grandfather extension into 2017 (at which time, we’re sure, Huka will pull another trick out of its pipe). And if you thought we’d get through this without a quip about the bar’s smokin’-hot waiters and bartenders, you were quite mistaken.
151 E. 6100 South, Murray, 801-281-4852, TheHukaBar.com
Best Open-Door Policy
The Paper Moon
With its status as Utah’s only bona fide lesbian bar, Paper Moon could easily be a lot more exclusive than it is—with entry granted only through a hidden alleyway door after the correct handshake. But instead, the owners of this laid-back space welcome everyone—and they mean everyone. No matter your sexual orientation, gender or sports team, you can come as you are and find friendly service and a no-hassle drink. Throughout the week, there’s also tons to do and see in this shrine to the color pink—found everywhere from the walls to the felt on the pool tables—including karaoke, an open-mic night, poker, drag shows and more. But the place really gets pumping on the weekends, when it’s packed with happy people dancing their stresses away. If there were a password to get into Paper Moon, it would be “Point me toward the beer!”
3737 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-713-0678, ThePaperMoonClub.com
Best Musical Ambiance
Velour Live Music Gallery
There are few things that are more of a drag than hearing and watching some beautiful live music in a dingy concrete hole. The fact that Velour’s interior is as appealing as the high-caliber local music that happens inside is part of what makes it so special. From the many antique knick-knacks to the illuminated stained-glass windows behind the stage to the utterly charming VIP section, owner Corey Fox has left no visual detail untouched by his unique style. All the elements combine to form a suitable atmosphere for performances by some of the best artists in Provo’s vibrant music scene, many of whom have gone on to hit the big time outside of Utah.
135 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-818-2263, VelourLive.com
Best Murray Super Club
There are plenty of bars in the People’s Republic of Murray, but only one hosts pool tourneys, karaoke, DJs and hard-rocking local bands every week and the occasional comedy night, magic show and even midget-wrestling spectaculars, all the while functioning as a sports bar, as well: 5 Monkeys, mid-town’s ultimate exterior-looks-are-deceiving club. 5 Monkeys’ spacious, slick interior, priced-right drinks and an enticing pub-grub menu (the Monkey Wings are better than the name would lead you to believe) makes it your one stop to rock in Murray.
7 E. 4800 South, Murray, 801-266-1885, 5MonkeysClub.com
Best Ladies (That Rock) Night
On the first Friday of every month at The Woodshed, local electro-pop duo Minx hosts Ladies That Rock, a night based around themselves and two other female-fronted bands or solo artists—and no cover charge for women (guys get in for $5, still a bargain). Those not paying attention to Utah music may be surprised to learn that Minx and The Woodshed have carried on Ladies That Rock quite successfully for more than a year now adhering to this theme, booking girl-centric bands of all genres—not just rock—with very few repeat appearances and a frequently full house. There are no “drink specials” for the ladies, but the booze is so inexpensive at The Woodshed that it matters not.
60 E. 800 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0805, TheWoodshedSLC.com
Best Bar to Rub Elbows With the Media Elite
After a long day of telling it like it is and reading disparaging online comments, where do Salt Lake City’s weary reporters go? Well, many head to Junior’s for a little relief in the form of a libation. It might be Junior’s location—within spitting distance of both KUTV 2’s and City Weekly’s newsrooms—that attracts these newshounds. Or it might simply be the bar’s dedication to serving up affordable suds in a judgment-free, low-key atmosphere. Either way, just about any day of the week, you’re more than likely to find your favorite news anchor, weatherman or columnist unwinding at the end of Junior’s bar, where—don’t worry—everything is off the record.
30 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-322-0318
Best Unknown Draper Drinkery
Leatherheads Sports Bar & Grill
Who knew? Draper used to be full of farms and classically closed minds. But, lo! Hidden right there in plain sight amid the many factory stores comprising the Draper Outlet Mall is Leatherhead’s, a full-blown bar & grill that you’d perhaps expect in downtown Salt Lake City—anywhere but Draper. But let’s not get picky. Leatherheads’ main attraction (to us, at least) is a full-length, fully stocked bar. Yeah, in Draper. As it is an eatery first—standard pub fare—kids and families are welcome. A welcome find, indeed.
12101 S. Outlet Drive, Draper, 801-523-1888, Facebook.com/LeatherheadsSportsBar
Best Sunset Sipping
Legends Sports Pub
After a long day in the air-conditioned chill of the office, nothing sounds better than relaxing in the sun with a cool drink—till you get outside and realize how blazingly hot that sun is. You can still have fun in the open air—just head to Legend’s. Its patio is so bordered by trees that you won’t even see it as you pull up, but you’ll be happy to be in on the secret once you’re in the shade of those trees with one of Legend’s creative mixed beverages in your hand—may we suggest the refreshing cucumber tonic?
677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3598, WhyLegends.com
Best One-Size-Fits-All Venue
The Complex isn’t just a prime spot to see any type of show your heart desires—it’s Optimus Prime. What we mean is, there’s more than meets they eye. But really: No other venue in Utah has the insane ability to accommodate just about any size concert or function by effortlessly shifting its walls, expanding or shrinking its stages and, most importantly, maintaining a sense of calm and togetherness, thanks to the all-around friendly and accommodating staff. The Complex hosts national touring bands, local talks shows, even adult recreation league dodge-ball games. These guys know the importance of staying as adaptable, versatile and agile as Utah’s music and entertainment scene itself.
536 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 888-316-5387, TheComplex.com
The Barrel Room
Best Basement Jam Space
The Barrel Room
In 2013, Bryan Borreson, the owner of The Hotel, transformed his multilevel bar’s basement—formerly reserved for pool tables—into a live-music hub. The classy space, with its speakeasy-style décor, is now an attractive spot to hear local and national bands and DJs. The Barrel Room is appreciated by local live-music fans, as well as the ghosts of the historical building, who, we’re sure, welcomed the update with phantom applause.
155 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-478-4310, Facebook.com/TheBarrelRoomSLC