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SLC Nightlife

Salt Lake is awake on Saturday and every night.


The popular assumption is that partying in Utah just isn’t done, whether due to our peculiar liquor laws, large religious population or lack of hot spots. Au contraire! There’s never been a better time for Utah’s party people than right now. The antiquated private-club laws are quickly becoming a distant memory, and clubs are continually stepping up their game to attract more locals, visitors and new residents. Whether you’re gay or straight, a metalhead or country fan, a dance-club aficionado or dive-bar fan, there’s a place for you in Salt Lake City’s nightlife scene.

Neighborhood & Dive Bars
A city’s bar scene can generally be divided into two camps: One is the set of bars that you only hit once in a while, for a show, a night out dancing or a karaoke excursion. And the other is the group of joints, scattered across neighborhoods, to enjoy every day of the week, that welcome regulars with a mix of gritty charm, libations and characters ranging from hipsters to suits, students to professors.

. City Weekly's 2011 City Guide
Mayor Ralph Becker’s Welcome
The Politics of SLC
Navigating the LGTB City
Salt Lake City Bars & Eats
SLC Arts on a Budget
SLC Performing Arts
Salt Lake City Art Galleries
SLC in 4 Hours
Skiing & Snowboarding
Kids’ Activities
SLC Nightlife
Deena Marie Manzanares
The Geek Show Podcast
SLC Dance Clubs
Library Events
SLC Strip Clubs
10 SLC Dining Lists

There was a time not long ago when downtown Salt Lake City wouldn’t have been considered a neighborhood in any traditional sense. But a sprouting of new condos and converted historic buildings has created a downtown population full of new arrivals, young professionals and artists who mingle at area clubs with worker bees having a pop for happy hour before heading home, and visitors from the ’burbs coming downtown for a big night out.

A person can create any number of mini pub crawls with a few jumps through downtown. Here’s a sampling to get you on your way:

Johnny’s on Second is a fine place to start, with pool tables, occasional live tunes and a boisterous patio during warm weather. 165 E. 200 South, 801-746-3334,

Twilite Lounge is just up the block and has the lounge vibe down, complete with raging fireplace and a free jukebox. 347 E. 200 South, 801-532-9400

Dick n’ Dixie’s is the new kid on the block, a buzzing corner-lot bar with huge windows. 479 E. 300 South, 801-521-3556

Keys on Main is an expansive dueling-pianos bar among the high-rises on Main. 242 S. Main, 801-363-3638,

Junior’s sets the mood at one of the friendliest bars in town with quality recorded jazz, cheap drinks and a fine beer-can collection. 30 E. 300 South, 801-322-0318,

O’Shucks shares basement space with Ahh Sushi, so you can couple your tankard with sweet deals, subterranean-style. How many sushi joints let you throw peanuts on the floor? Or peanut joints that serve sushi, for that matter? 22 E. 100 South, 801-596-8600

Beerhive Pub has a ridiculously long list of beers available, and the grub comes from the killer German restaurant next door, Vienna Bistro. We recommend the “Farmer’s Plate” of cured meats and imported cheese for a snack. 128 S. Main, 801-364-4268

The Jackalope always has a screaming deal on a drink and a snowboarding vid at the ready. 372 S. State, 801-359-8054,

Graffiti Lounge was opened by the proprietor of the old Deseret Lounge, and the beer-only tavern took over the former Uprok hip-hop shop space, giving the spot its name in recognition of its intricately decorated walls. 342 S. State

Cheers to You is a comfy sliver of a bar in the heart of downtown, with food from small-plates fave Eva right next door. 315 S. Main, 801-575-6400,

Murphy’s purports to be “a step down in social clubs,” but the colorful clientele and daily food specials make it a favorite at both happy hour and late night. 160 S. Main, 801-359-7271,

The Green Pig Pub is one of the newer downtown spots, and its brick bar with huge windows is a prime location for a pre-game drink before all the festivals and parties that fill nearby Washington Square in the summer. 31 E. 400 South, 801-532-7441,

Poplar Street Pub is a large bar with one of the best warm-weather patios in town and one room dedicated completely to bar games. 242 S. 200 West, 801-532-2715,

The Bayou has a huge selection of beers and tasty Southern grub, along with the frighteningly decadent deep-fried Twinkies on the menu for a closing-time bite. 645 S. State, 801-961-8400,

The Republican is a cement block of a joint with a massive bar, soccer (and only soccer) on the TV screens and a jukebox full of Irish tunes, both traditional the punk-ified. 917 S. State, 801-595-1916

Duffy’s Tavern has surprisingly tasty pizza and Old Style signs in the window to let you know this is a Chicago Cubs-friendly joint. 932 S. State, 801-355-6401

Lucky 13 beckons bikers, pre-Salt Lake Bees game imbibers and burger aficionados daring to attempt to eat the joint’s fiery Lucky 13 burger—two patties covered with jalapenos and habaneros, squeezed between two grilled-cheese sandwiches serving as the bun. 135 W. 1300 South, 801-487-4418

Piper Down purports to be “an olde world pub,” but there’s a lot new about the place, including a spacious new bar area in back and one of the most popular quiz nights in town with Geeks Who Drink every Wednesday. 1492 S. State, 801-468-1492,

Willie’s Lounge is a laid-back dive with dirt-cheap beers, karaoke, foosball and the occasional live band. 1716 S. Main, 801-612-2920,

Manny’s, TOO is another low-key joint with some tasty grub and a slew of regulars hunkered down for cheap drinks and football on the telly. 1704 S. Main, 801-467-6289

Sugar House Pub is a great starting point for a Sugar House pub crawl. It’s a small place with friendly bartenders tucked in the ground level of a condo complex. 1992 S. 1100 East, 801-413-2857

Fat’s Grill & Pool offers a slew of pool tables, a bevy of sandwiches and a brightly lit place where you can actually hold a conversation. 2182 S. Highland Drive, 801-484-9467

Tap Room is a cozy basement bar that somehow also manages to have a worthy patio space for the summer months. 2275 S. Highland Drive, 801-466-0974

Karamba offers a little more flavor, with touring bands and DJs from South and Central America, along with regular salsa classes, combine to give Salt Lakers a taste of south-of-the-border nightlife. 1051 E. 2100 South, 801-696-0639,

Live Tunes
Once upon a time, music fans in Salt Lake City would forlornly watch many of their favorite touring bands skip Utah. Thankfully, those days are long gone; in addition to a healthy club scene that supports indie-rock, folk and hip-hop, most major touring acts stop by on their jaunts across the country to play one of Utah’s many music venues. Here are the spots to check for your favorite bands, both local and national:

5 Monkeys This Murray space has a little something for everyone, blending dance-oriented nights hosted by some of the valley’s best DJs with live music ranging from raging rock to old-school hip-hop. 74 E. 4800 South, Murray, 801-266-1885,

Avalon Theater Gone are the weekly shows featuring old movies and a live hypnotist, replaced by an all-ages rock club that hosts all manner of punk, metal, pop and folk acts booked by Salt Lake City promoter The Kollective. 3605 S. State, 801-654-6678,

Bar Deluxe The space has changed names many times through the years, but the vibe remains the same: neighborhood bar meets music club. Depending on what night you pop in, you can find reggae bands, psychobilly trios or touring favorites like Mike Watt or Supersuckers. A heavy dose of local talent assures a regular rotation of Salt Lake City music lovers. 666 S. State, 801-532-2914,

Burt’s Tiki Lounge A Salt Lake City institution with the best wall art of flyers, graffiti and assorted flotsam to peruse over the course of a night, Burt’s hosts a nonstop array of touring and local bands leaning heavily on punk, rockabilly and blues. 726 S. State, 801-521-0572,

Club Vegas Salt Lake City’s metal-friendly mecca might not look like much from the outside, but step inside the surprisingly spacious venue and you’ll find a large dance floor in front of the stage, couches lining the VIP lounge and a kitchen in back to sate the munchies. You’ll find everything from oldies acts to up-and-comers, and Club Vegas regularly hosts “local band recognition nights” to give Utah’s homegrown talent a chance to play their big stage. 445 S. 400 West, 801-364-8347,

The Depot The space for 1,200 is one of the best live music spots around, thanks to great sound, multiple bars and bathrooms that could hold the entire populace of smaller clubs. On any given night, you might find country stars like Dwight Yoakam, hip-hop heroes like Snoop Dogg or rocking artists ranging from young (My Morning Jacket, Michael Franti) to old (Lindsay Buckingham, B.B. King). Vinyl Fridays convert the place into a spacious dance club. 400 W. South Temple, 801-355-5522,

In The Venue/Club Sound This mix of live music venue and dance club boasts an impressive flow of artists coming to grace its two stages, including the likes of Band of Horses, Atmosphere and Janelle Monae. Concerts regularly end early so the place can convert into one of Salt Lake City’s most active dance spots, complete with cages. 579 W. 200 South, 801-359-3219,

Kilby Court This all-ages venue has outlasted similar venues in far larger cities, thanks to a dedicated fan base, savvy management and a never-ending supply of young artists willing to play the garage-turned-venue. With the adjacent art gallery and outdoor fire pit giving Kilby a sense of being far more than simply a music club, the place continues to thrive and now has a record label to go with it, Kilby Records. Early showtimes mean the kids can be home by 10, as can the fans with early morning classes or jobs. 741 S. Kilby Court (330 West), 801-364-3538,

Liquid Joe’s This long-running mid-valley club might not look like a music club from the outside; its round exterior hints at its former life as a sports bar. Thankfully, a heavy dose of local bands on Wednesdays and Fridays and the massively popular tribute bands that play every Thursday and Saturday keep music at the forefront at Liquid Joe’s. 1249 E. 3300 South, 801-467-5637,

The State Room This 300-seat venue in a former children’s theater offers arguably the best sound of any music joint in town—all the better to hear the jazz, blues, rock and jam-band favorites that stop by on a regular basis. In its first two years in business, The State Room has hosted the diverse likes of John Hiatt, OK Go and Heartless Bastards, and the drink prices won’t make you cringe, unlike far too many clubs. 638 S. State, 800-501-2885,

The Urban Lounge This hipster haven hosts live music virtually every night of the week, from touring big names to local showcases. Whatever your taste—psychedelic rock, hip-hop, acoustic folk and everything in between—you can find it at The Urban Lounge. Just be ready for a late night out; with a restaurant next door, opening acts never start before 9 p.m. 241 S. 500 East, 801-746-0557,

The Woodshed How many nightclubs host a regular book club? That’s just one of the attractions that makes the Woodshed more than just another beer joint with loud guitars. The patio out back is one of the best in town, an eclectic mix of local bands and touring acts and some of the city’s best street-taco vendors just steps away all make this spot a must-stop. 60 E. 800 South, 801-364-0805,

Staying Classy
Every now and again, you might want to dress to the nines and step out somewhere swanky. Might be for a date. Could be for a business “meeting.” We don’t think you need an excuse to enjoy the finer things in life, like a well-made martini. And Salt Lake City has you covered.

The Red Door is a cozy spot with a giant Che painted on the wall, chill tunes that let you hear your conversation and a creepy stuffed monkey overlooking the action from his post in the corner. A large menu of fine scotch and a number of specialty martinis (try the Mescal-ini) make this a fine spot for hipsters and suits alike. 57 W. 200 South, 801-363-6030,

Bambara bar inside the Hotel Monaco is officially called the Vault, but nobody calls it that; Bambara bar will suffice, and the joint’s skilled bartenders make a stop before dinner at the Bambara restaurant, or a show at the Capitol Theatre, a must. 202 S. Main, 801-363-5454,

The Circle Lounge caters to a young, sophisticated crowd, with its in-house sushi bar, tasty cocktails and blend of jazz and house music keeping the place humming and the dance floor full late-night. 328 S. State, 801-531-5400,

Market Street Oyster Bar fills for happy hour nightly and gets hopping before most major events downtown, from Jazz games to concerts. 54 W. Market St., 801-531-6044,

Kristauf’s Martini Bar has a fine martini waiting for you either right after work or late in the evening, when DJs fill the room with trance and house music. The proximity to one of Salt Lake City’s best Japanese restaurants—Takashi, right next door—is a bonus. 16 W. Market St., 801-366-9490,


y Bar at the top of the Red Lion hotel mixes top-tier grub with a party vibe that regularly fills the bar dance floor, thanks to nightly drink specials and the sounds of hip-hop and R&B. 161 W. 600 South, 801-530-1313,

Habits offers a mid-valley option for upscale drinks, dancing and dining. 832 E. 3900 South, 801-268-2228,

Sports Bars
In many Americans’ lives—young and old, men and women—hunkering down in front of a TV for a ball game becomes part of the schedule at least once in a while. And for some of us, it’s a regular part of a week’s watching. Getting out of the house—particularly to a place with cheap beer and decent grub to go with an array of hi-def TVs—is always preferable to staying home. Why should roommates, spouses and siblings be the only ones to appreciate your witty verbal daggers thrown at the refs who just screwed your team, right? Here are nine sports-friendly joints to use for your next fantasy drafts in SLC.

Fiddler’s Elbow The Sugar House institution has every NFL game to go with one of the best sports-bar brunches around. 1063 E. 2100 South, 801-463-9393,

Legends Tasty grub, close to a TRAX line and next door to Brewvies, Legends can be the start or end of a good day downtown. 677 S. 200 West, 801-355-3598,

Batters Up Don’t let the windowless barracks exterior fool you. Inside, Batters Up has a ton of screens, pool tables and dirt-cheap breakfast on weekends. 1717 S. Main, 801-467-9436

Iggy’s The wings are none too shabby, and with nine locations dotting the Wasatch Front, you’re rarely far from an Iggy’s. Downtown: 423 W. 300 South, 801-532-9999,

The Huddle The strip-mall location might throw you, but once you step inside The Huddle, it’s TV sports in every direction you look. 2400 E. Fort Union Blvd., 801-438-8300

Lumpy’s The original Lumpy’s is a Ute bar through and through, and the lengthy grub menu, walls covered in Utah memorabilia and two story-plus patio size keep Lumpy’s a go-to game stop. 3000 S. Highland Drive, 801-484-5597,

Lumpy’s Downtown The hi-def TVs at every booth made the younger Lumpy’s an immediate favorite when it opened, and late night it makes the tricky switch to a DJ-led, dance-fueled hook-up spot. 145 W. Pierpont Ave., 801-938-3070,

First Press Inside the Salt Lake City Sheraton, First Press serves the traveling businessmen and neighborhood insiders with a large bar and full menu. 150 West 500 South, 801-323-7576

Gracie’s The proprietors of Gracie’s might blanch at seeing their gastropub listed as a “sports bar,” but with all their sports TV packages you need and a brunch menu full of yummy twists on eggs Benedict, we like weekend mornings at Gracie’s. 326 S. West Temple, 801-819-7565,

’Bout Time Pub & Grub This sports bar boasts a spacious interior, so you can go wild watching one of the many TVs without bumping elbows with an opposing fan. ’Bout Time also has daily drink specials and three locations for south-valley sports fans to enjoy. 3778 W. Center View Way, No. 150, West Jordan, 801-280-1000; 6522 S. 3000 East, Holladay, 801-733-0228; 5592 S. Redwood Road, Taylorsville, 801-968-1444,

Oscars The south end of the valley has historically been slim pickins for bars, but Oscars has been offering up a worthy sports bar for years. 8136 S. State, 801-566-3222

Get out of Downtown
While the cultural life of Salt Lake City revolves around downtown, there are plenty of spots outside of the city that are worth a jaunt, either via cab or with a designated driver in tow.

A Bar Named Sue is a basement strip-mall bar, but boasts an endless menu of whiskeys and bourbons, plus entertainment ranging from live tunes to free pool to trivia contests. 3928 S. Highland Drive, 877-848-6009,

Duces Wild is considered by many of its regulars “Cheers with boobs,” because while the exotic dancers are certainly the main draw, daily lunch and drink specials and various bar games at this “relaxed gentleman’s club” make it a friendly neighborhood stop as well, even if you aren’t paying attention to the action on stage. 2750 S. 300 West, 801-467-4600,

The Hog Wallow is a valley favorite for a number of reasons. There’s the rootsy tunes Wednesday through Sunday nights. There’s the expansive, wooded patio stretching up the hill out back. And there’s the tasty grub. Put all that together and you have a place that thrives both in the summer and for the apres-ski crowd in the winter. 3200 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Cottonwood Heights, 801-733-5567,

Maggie McGee’s There’s plenty of room to spread out in this Cottonwood-area sports bar. Enjoy a game on one of the TVs in the main room, slide over to the side for a game on one of the six pool tables, or throw some electronic darts. Sunday and Monday Texas Hold ’Em tournaments and post-game karaoke are also part of the entertainment menu. 6253 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-273-9899

The Leprechaun Inn will fool you from the outside, where it looks deceptively like a tiny strip-mall bar. Inside, though, it’s a spacious joint full of pool tables, TVs for the big game and some of the best bar grub in town. 4700 S. 900 East, No. 6, 801-268-3294

Club 90 brings more than 30 years of experience supplying the party for Sandy and its surrounding neighborhoods. Cover bands bring the classic rock and dance music on weekends, and weeknights and weekend days are built for sports, with menus offering breakfast, lunch and dinner—whatever you need to get through the day. 9065 Monroe St., Sandy, 801-566-3254,

Allure is designed for the Saturday Night Fever-obsessed, with an interactive dance floor that triggers the kind of light show typically reserved for a Laser Floyd show. 8925 S. 255 West, Sandy, 801-255-2078,

Huka Bar & Grill is a happening spot in the mid-valley, boasting water pipes galore, a bevy of beautiful people and a late-night all-ages cafe attached for the kids who can’t get in to hear some reggae or dance to the regular DJs. 151 E. 6100 South, Murray, 801-281-4852,

The Westerner beckons the country-inclined with live music, dancing and mechanical bull rides. Even folks who don’t like their music twangy will find something to love in the enormous Westerner space, either in the kitchen serving an extensive food menu, in the room dedicated to karaoke or on the dance floor full of cowboys and cowgals. 3360 S. Redwood Road, West Valley City, 801-972-5447,

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