Best Cowboy Bar
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 aprŤs 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
CLUB DJ'S // PHOTO BY AUSTEN DIAMOND
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, ClubDJsUtah.com
Best All-Ages Venue
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, KilbyCourt.com
2. In the Venue
3. The Depot
Best Bar for Utes Football
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, FiddlersElbowSLC.com
Best Magna Tavern
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, Facebook.com/BillsLounge
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, TheStateRoomSLC.com
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, ParkCityLive.net
2. No Name Saloon
Best Poker Night
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, PiperDownPub.com
2. Lumpys Highland
3. Johnny’s on Second
Best Drink With History
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, SundanceResort.com
JUNIOR'S TAVERN // PHOTO BY AUSTEN DIAMOND
Best for Relaxing
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, JuniorsTavern.com