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Home / Articles / Best Of / Best of Utah /  Play Pt. 4
Best of Utah

Play Pt. 4

Best of Utah 2007 Nightlife

Posted // June 11,2007 -

BEST $1 BEER
tttThe Bar in Sugar House
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The Bar may be the only extent example of something the city used to have and currently needs a lot more of: a neighborhood watering hole. Located inside a brown wooden building about as wide as aparking space, The Bar appears to literally be hanging on by its fingertips to the side of one of Sugar House older mall buildings. The inside is just large enough for the namesake bar, behind which are lined many tiny cups which you can have filled with beer on tap for a little more than $1. 2168 Highland Dr., 485-1232

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BEST KEEPIN’ IT REAL CLUB
tttThe Filling Station
tt
Nothing like a trip to Magna’s salt-of–the-earth Filling Station to get you out of your city-slicker rut. Their Web page says it all: “Magna is not known for much of anything but the bad water, but we locals have to admit that when Elliot and Darren bought The Filling Station in December 2002, we found ourselves to be regulars.” And “regulars” consist of any combination of bikers, rockers and hip-hoppers showing up for Texas Hold ’Em, pool matches and groovin’ to local bands on weekends, karaoke, DJ Viper or even the jukebox. Or, after work, you can just kick back and watch sports on plasma TVs and gaze at the oversize skanky photos on the wall. How real is that? 8987 W. 2700 South, Magna, 250-1970, TheFiller.com

BEST PLACE TO SEE STARS
tttStansbury Park Observatory Complex
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Some folks lurk at Sundance hoping to see stars, but when you want to catch a glimpse of the Pleiades star cluster, or Mars’ polar caps or Saturn’s rings, you need the people with the really big equipment at SPOC. The Salt Lake Astronomical Society hosts frequent star parties at this facility just 26 miles west of Salt Lake City where members provide free telescopic tours of Utah’s night skies. Here, you’ll find the Harmons Observatory which houses two large reflecting telescopes and the Donna Pease Wiggins Refractor House with a roll-off roof and a large refracting telescope. Truly, one cool way to experience a starry, starry night. Stansbury Park, Tooele County, driving directions at slas.us

BEST EXTREME SPORTS BAR
tttThe Jackalope
tt
The award was inspired by a blurb on The Jackalope’s MySpace page: “Because both owners [Lost Art Tattoo artists Nate Drew and Anthony Anderson] are originally from Virginia, you can catch every Redskins game during football season. Don’t let this fool, you, however … The Jackalope is not a sports bar, but an extreme sports bar.” True: Fuel TV is the norm at The Jackalope, not the diversion. As for ambience, the year-old club is virtually unrecognizable as the dump that previously occupied 372 S. State; the clean ‘n’ classy facelift could qualify as an Extreme Bar Makeover. And the drinks are so cheap, they haven’t even sprung for an outside sign yet. 372 S. State, 359-8054

BEST JAZZ MAN TO GET YOU THROUGH THE NIGHT
tttSteve “Daddy-O” Williams’ (KUER 90.1)
tt
Desperate and dateless tonight? Then tune into Daddy-O, Nighttime Jazz host on KUER 90.1. In his nearly 40 years at the station, Williams’ love of jazz and soothing voice have coaxed a few back in from the ledge. “One night, someone called and was going to commit suicide,” he recalls. “I talked him out of it, but I was going to cuts and had to come back to him.” So if you haven’t a place to go tonight where everybody knows your name, turn your radio on and let Daddy-O and his great taste in jazz be your best friend. KUER 90.1, weeknights, 8 p.m.-midnight

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BEST COMBACK IN THE SMELTER’S SHADOW
tttThe Empress Theatre
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In 1916, this 178-seat historic theater served as a burlesque hall for Kennecott miners and later as a silent movie theater. It remained open through the 1930s. Long after it closed, engineer and actor Leo W. Ware traded the theater for real estate in 1983 and proceeded to nearly single-handedly renovate the structure, despite attempts by the Salt Lake County Commission to raze the building in 1984. Due to an injury, Ware was unable to complete the job, but in 2006, the nonprofit Oquirrh Hills Performing Arts Alliance leased the building and is now renovating it. After more than 50 years, the theater re-opened in November 2006 with Forever Plaid. Leo Ware was able to attend one of the first few performances before he passed away on Jan. 3, 2007. 9104 W. 2700 South, Magna, 347-7373, EmpressTheatre.com

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BEST LITERARY SALON
tttKen Sanders Rare Books
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Attending any event with a Ken Sanders stamp on it is always a life-enhancing experience. Most folks know he operates an antiquarian bookshop specializing in the West, Utah and Mormons. He is, in fact, the honored guest bookseller at this year’s Gold Rush Book Fair, awarded for ethical leadership and scholarship in American bookselling. Sanders’ in-house Dream Garden Press publishes local books that otherwise might not see the light of day. And many evenings'gallery strolls and the like'his bookshop is the place to meet an author, an activist, a musician, a photographer, a filmmaker or a visual artist. He forks out his own dough to host myriad literary events, seldom breaking even. It’s his way of nurturing the local arts community. So dig it, man. 268 S. 200 East, 521-3819, KenSandersBooks.com

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BEST BEER SELECTION Readers’ Choice
tttThe Bayou
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They don’t call themselves “Beervana” for nothing. Whether your taste runs to a Guinness on tap or a bottle of Tsingtao, or pretty much anything else that has ever been touched by yeast and/or hops, you’ll probably find it at The Bayou. Think of it this way: You could sample a different one of the 230-plus beers on their roster every single day, and you wouldn’t repeat yourself for nearly eight months. At which point, there’s no reason why you couldn’t start all over again. 645 S. State, 961-8400, UtahBayou.com
t2. Port O’ Call
t3. Fiddler’s Elbow

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BEST TWICE A MONTH PLUCKIN’
tttIAMA Coffee Houses
tt
The nonprofit Intermountain Acoustic Music Association is the area’s mainstay of acoustic music, including bluegrass, British isles, folk, old-time and related musical forms. To keep the dream alive, IAMA, under the tutelage of Guy Benson, hosts twice-monthly coffeehouses at the Unitarian Church on the second (open mic) and fourth (hosted) Fridays of each month. Here, you can bring your coolers packed with a picnic dinner and wine and beer (though the church asks that no hard liquor be served). In addition, coffee from the Coffee Garden is served. It’s a great place for pluckers and for those who love the sound of pluckin’. Unitarian Church Elliot Hall, 569 S. 1300 East, 582-5856 (Guy Benson)

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BEST ROAD TRIP
tttSuede
tt
All those great touring acts that used to come to Salt Lake City via sadly defunct clubs like The Zephyr (no, we’re still not really over it) and Ego’s (just last year) are now heading eastward'but at least it’s not Colorado. The grumbling over having to drive all the way to Suede in Kimball Junction is getting quieter as the club’s dance card fills up with bands like Blackalicious, Jedi Mind Tricks, B-Side Players, Stephen Marley and, perhaps the biggest favorite, the Drive-By Truckers. Suede is always worth the trip'for the music and the club. 1612 Ute Blvd. (Kimball Junction), Park City, 435-658-2665, SuedePC.com

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BEST METAL FLASHBACKS
tttClub Vegas
tt
A true rock & roll joint that hosts plenty of national and local shows that are very much in the here-and-now of modern metal, Club Vegas is also becoming the place to catch long-lost faves of the ’80s: Winger, Vicious Rumors, Tesla’s Frank Hannon and Ratt’s Stephen Pearcy have all played Club Vegas in the past few months; it arguably all began with a rip-roaring Krokus (yes, Krokus) show in 2005. Local-wise, SLUG magazine’s hella-packed 18th birthday bash in February may have ushered in the next wave: ’90s nostalgia. 451 S. 400 West, 364-8347, ClubVegas.org

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BEST HARDCORE MAKEOVER
tttBroken Record Bar & Grill
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The club formerly known as Todd’s follows the Spartan philosophy: Instead of adding more furniture and accessories as most newly reopened venues tend to do, the Broken Record ripped most everything out to make for a better traffic flow'booths just aren’t conducive to thrashing, after all. The new stage ain’t bad, either, better presenting the loudest extreme rockers and hippest alt-hipsters, local and not. 1051 S. 300 West, 532-4775

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BEST SUNDAYS & MONDAYS
tttMonk’s
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Most clubs don’t bother booking live music'much less anything that doesn’t involve acoustic guitars and “feelings”'on Sunday nights, but not Monk’s: The “underground for the underground” can be counted on for Sabbath sounds every bit as good as what’s booked on Friday, sometimes even better. Then sleep it off and come back on Monday night for DJ Rebel’s Reggae Lounge, the hands-down best reggae night in the city. Traditional weekends are so overrated. 19 E. 200 South, 350-0950

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BEST CHEAP DRINKS Readers’ Choice
tttCheers to You
tt
When/if that smoking ban finally comes to pass in 2009, Cheers to You may be one of the more unrecognizable bars in the city'who knows what the joint looks like behind the haze? Our killjoy Surgeon General wouldn’t agree, but that’s part of Cheers’ hole-in-the-wall charm, along with the inexpensive booze that keeps the college students and workin’ folk packing the place most nights of the week. Shot? Come on, just one … 315 S. Main, 575-6400
t2. The Jackalope
t3. The Cell Block

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BEST RETURN OF THE RIB
tttThe Cabana Club & Rib Alley
tt
It was a fine barbecue and soul-food joint, but Neil Ellis’ Rib Alley just didn’t last as long it should have on the west side'thankfully, the Cabana Club has brought it back and given it a home. Takeout is available, but if you’re dining in, the Cabana even suspends smoking until the kitchen’s closed, a classy move. Good tunes and good food, all in one place'score. Cabana Club: 31 E. 400 South, 355-9538; Rib Alley: 746-0835, RibAlleySLC.com

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BEST NEVER-ENDING STORIES
tttThe Metal Gods & The Spazmatics (Liquid Joe’s)
tt
The Metal Gods. The Spazmatics. Kitschy ’80s franchise acts. Still packin’ ’em in. Every Thursday and Saturday night. After all these years. There are shows on Broadway that don’t last this long. Color us impressed. Now fix your wigs. 1249 E. 3300 South, 467-5637, LiquidJoes.net

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BEST SPORTS BAR
tttIggy’s Sports Grill
tt
From humble beginnings, Iggy’s has grown into Utah’s sports bar juggernaut with six locations stretching to St. George and plans to franchise throughout the Western United States. So powerful is Iggy’s that it recently convinced stingy Logan city leaders to pry open liquor law books there to allow booze service. Still, Iggy’s likely won as a sports “bar” because of its huge food menu containing whatever a sports fan could desire: half-rack of ribs and Yankee pot roast alongside every conceivable kind of steak, burger, pasta, lasagna, pizza and sandwich. Oh, there also are games playing on huge screens. Multiple locations, IggysSportsGrill.com
t2. Lumpy’s Downtown
t3. Port O’ Call

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BEST SUNDAY FUNNIES
tttThe Sunday Funnies (Mo’s Neighborhood Grill)
tt
Staring through bloodshot eyes into another workweek, a few laughs could be the only thing to make the Sunday-to-Monday transition worth it'the Sunday Funnies at Mo’s Neighborhood Grill is just the ticket. The stand-up free-for-all begins ‘round 9 p.m. every Sunday, experienced and rookie comics throwing down their best (and uncensored) routines throughout the night while grownups consume adult beverages and kiddies gnaw on wings. Plus, you never know when someone like The Daily Show’s Lewis Black will drop by for a set (really happened). 358 S. West Temple, 359-0586

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BEST TRUE INDIE CLUB
tttThe Urban Lounge
tt
Just as “indie music” doesn’t just mean scruffy dudes playing rock anymore, The Urban Lounge keeps evolving with the times better than most local 21-plus clubs by remaining all-inclusive to live hip-hop, hardcore, goth and myriad genres while still leaving room for the good ol’ indie-hipster rock that put ’em on the map. Bonus: The bartenders are some of the quickest and most attentive in town. 241 S. 500 East, 746-0557

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BEST P.C. HIP-HOP
tttHarry O’s
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Other than a handful of V.I.P. Sundance shows every year, Park City has never been known as Utah’s hip-hop destination. But over the course of a year or so, Main Street’s Harry O’s has almost single-handedly changed that perception with a seemingly endless string of mainstream rap and R&B bookings, including The Roots, De La Soul, Common, Talib Kweli, Akon, Redman, Raekwon, Ciara, John Legend and, one of the club’s biggest coups, Nas and the upcoming Hip-Hop is Dead tour. 427 Main, Park City, 435-655-7579, HarryOs-PC.com

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BEST GAY CLUB Readers’ Choice
tttThe Trapp Door
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It used to be that the city’s gay clubs tried to exist under the radar in out-of-the-way decaying-warehouse neighborhoods. But now, thanks to Gateway and the glitzy sprawl enveloping it, the Trapp Door and its more low-key neighbor, The Trapp, find themselves in the thick of things. They’re none too bummed, either, about being part of the Gateway “night on the town” experience. Salt Lake’s largest gay dance club has a quality sound and lighting system to complement its massive dance floor. It offers weekly themed dance nights that keep the crowds coming for hip-hop, Dance Evolution, Tongue & Groove, Club Rebellion, and the hot-hot-hot Club Pachanga Latin Night on Sunday (complete with a 10 p.m. drag show). 615 W. 100 South, 533-0173, TrappDoor.com
t2. Club Sound
t3. The Trapp

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BEST MURRAY MAKEOVER
ttt5 Monkeys
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If you’re a former regular of Uncle Albert’s and the various other clubs that have occupied 7 E. 4800 South between State and Main in Murray over the past 20 years, 1. Congratulations on still being alive; the place has seen some rough times and clientele, and 2. You may want you check out the new 5 Monkeys'you won’t even recognize the joint. We’re hard-pressed to recall a more radical makeover of a former dive than this; every inch of the new 5 Monkeys seems to have been scrubbed, repainted and swank-ified, with live music or DJs kicking most nights of the week. Nothing against neighboring vets Frankie & Johnny’s and Club 48, but if you’re young and ready to party in Murray, this is the place. 7 E. 4800 South, 266-1885, 5MonkeysUtah.com

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BEST UTE SCOOT
tttLumpy’s Social Club
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Prior to the University of Utah football team’s major fan letdown of last season, one could count on parking anywhere near Rice-Eccles Stadium to be nigh impossible. Thus a small industry was born, that being chartered bus transport to and from the games. Leading that crowd for over a decade has been Lumpy’s on Highland Drive'a certifiably Ute red club if there ever was one. Despite the Utes’ poor play on the field last year, the Lumpy’s buses transported the faithful from club to seat and back to club faster than you can say, “BYU is for pansies. Pour me a Patrón.” With UCLA coming to town early next season, you might be wise to reserve your seat now. BTW'the bus ride comes with some Lumpy’s amenities besides food, if you get our drift. 3000 S. Highland Drive, 484-5597

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BEST THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
tttHog Wallow
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For too many decades to remember, the site that now houses Hog Wallow in the Cottonwood area has been home to a venerable drinking hole with more names than we can remember. It used to be an isolated drive along Little Cottonwood Creek with most passersby simply looking for ghosts (or holding keggers in) the abandoned Old Mill. Then came civilization, if you can call it that. Today, Hog Wallow is surrounded by plush homes that all look alike'some occupied by a certain crowd that doesn’t cotton to a club in their “back yard.” Uh, it’s the other way around! Even when the Wallow tried to make simple structural changes that would amend some of the noise escaping the club, those silly NIMBY’s balked and prevented it from doing so. Trust this: Give us Hog Wallow or give us death. 3200 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, 733-5621

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BEST STRIP CLUB Readers’ Choice
tttTrails
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The dancers are gorgeous (and athletic); the food is better than you’d expect (yes, we’re pushin’ the burgers again); adult-film stars frequently grace the stage (including Utah’s own Bella Donna); no other strip club comes within dollar-tossing distance year after year in the Best of Utah voting'we know all this. For a brand-new thrill, check out Trails’ ?ber-slick Website (TrailsMensClubs.com), a sleek and functional beauty that puts most others’'no matter the business'to shame. Need to know what time Trinity is dancing? Full hourly schedule. What night is “Two Girls, One Stage”? Right there. Want to fill out a dancer application? Upload a photo and list your favorite grindin’ tunes. Or get off the Internet and go to the damned club already. 921 S. 300 West, 363-2871; 3055 S. State, 484-4846; TrailsMensClubs.com
2. Southern Exposure
3. American Bush

 
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