Saturday 11:45 p.m.
The Wine Cellar ^
Soul Train & Alien Cocktails
The baskets of chicken-wing bones on tables look like offerings at the altars of John Coltrane and Billie Holiday—whose likenesses, among those of other jazz and blues legends, hang along the walls of this subterranean music & drink parlor. Wine there is, but the drink of the house is a Hpnotiq Breeze, which looks alien as half-consumed glasses bounce in patrons’ hands, each one illuminated by a glowstick dropped in it. I’m counting the swords on the wall by the bar—one for each of the nine years the bar has been open—and then the band kicks up something fierce. Tickling out a funk number from the keys and bass, the band conjures up a Soul Train-like dance party.
2550 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 801-399-3600, WineCellarOgden.com
Saturday 11:48 p.m.
Pick-Up Line for a Portrait
My buddy Mike and I are at Club One, sipping on $3 Tecates. It’s a great place to get some personal portraits done—in front of a giant Ciroc vodka backdrop. We’re here for Club Mas, the weekly Latin night, and it feels a little weird snapping pics with no chicas. So, I make a move. “Excuse me,” I say to two pretty young Latinas standing near us. “Can you just act like you know us for a moment and pose in front of this backdrop?” They whisper back and forth and, for some reason, eventually agree. Which is cool, because now I have these random photos of two chicks I’ll never see again, and the realization that this is how I should talk to women.
180 W. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-0364, ClubOneUtah.com
Saturday 11:55 p.m.
All the Way Live
Joe’s is all about live music. Used to be, you could see bands like Spoon and Guided by Voices here. Now, specialized, imported cover bands rule. Tonight—one of the last nights before the bar closes for renovation, re-opening July 25—it’s the Spazmatics, a group that mines the hits of the ’80s. You really haven’t lived until you’ve seen a guy in a pocket protector with a cowlick singing Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” It may not be Bob Pollard swinging a mic, but the more frosty steins I quaff, the closer he gets.
1249 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-5637, LiquidJoes.net
Saturday 11:58 p.m.
Saturdays are never disappointing at Metro Bar. As a straight male, I feel like it’s one of the few gay nights that doesn’t make me feel like an asshole for not being gay. Don’t get me wrong, though; it’s still gay … like, really gay. Fusion, a once-a-week party, is highlighted by an abundance of classy cross-dressers and tons and tons of booze. It’s fantastic, really. But my buddy and I are here to write this bar guide, so we end up buying a couple of PBR tallboys, taking ’em out to the patio and arguing about what constitutes a good gay bar. In the end, we decided that Metro on Saturdays is a pretty damn good one.
540 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-652-6543, Facebook.com/MetroBarSLC
Sunday 12:20 a.m.
Almost Vertigo Down Below
As I walk down the dozen or so steps into the den of electronic music, I notice that the air is so humid you couldn’t cut it even with the piercing howls of Daft Punk cranked to 11. It envelops me like a warm blanket, and I become part of the visceral experience. If I were ever to get vertigo in a group of people, it would be here—and that’s OK. People grind on risers above me; there are girls smashed into booths—all dancing—to my left; and the mirrored wall makes it seem like this club extends to infinity. The bar must be somewhere to the right, and the DJ is back in the blackness behind the hundred-handed glob of dancing humanity. I step in and become part of the amoeba.
625 Main, Park City, 435-226-5340, DownstairsPC.com
Sunday 12:45 a.m.
It’s late, and more than a handful of people are having the time of their lives on the dance floor to Top 40 tunes provided by DJ Scrubbie Bubbles. I walk up to the bar and notice that the background colors behind the shelves of booze is, in fact, changing colors. I order a tall, cheap beer to balance out the many dainty cocktails being gulped about the space, which is clean and roomy. The painted cement floor is shaking under my feet. A cute girl is sitting by herself; I ask her, “Do you know the symbol for copper on the periodic table?” Blank stare; she probably thinks I’m hitting on her—and I might be. “It’s Cu,” I continue. An awkward pause, then she replies: “See me … whaaat?” It’s late.
315 24th St., Ogden, 801-392-7243, OgdenCopperClub.com
Sunday 12:50 a.m.
The Paper Moon
A Place for Girls & Nice Guys
Straight in the door, I’ve made a friend. We talk T-shirts and geek stuff (Salt Lake Comic Con in September!). I’d order a beer, but the belly sloshes. I’d dance, but I don’t. I’d pick up a girl, but I probably can’t. They don’t care that I’m a straight male, provided I’m not perving for scenes from the Vivid porn-video oeuvre. A back bar off of the patio doubles as an art gallery with some sublime works. I’ll be back for Texas Hold ’Em on Wednesday.
3737 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-713-0678, Facebook.com/PaperMoonSLC
Sunday 12:58 a.m.
The Leprechaun Inn
Wander Inn, Stagger Out
It’s closing time, and everybody’s outside smoking—except for the laughing women attempting to clean up the remains of a birthday party gone messily right. The local-fixture Leprechaun attracts a crowd of serious, seasoned drinkers; there’s not an amateur in sight, and that birthday girl passed 21 years ago. As hard as the workin’-for-the-weekend regulars hit it tonight, some of them are talking about coming back for the Irish Breakfast bright and early (well, 11 a.m.) in the morning.
4700 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-268-3294, TheLeprechaunInn.com
Sunday 1:15 p.m.
Gimme the Brunch
I can go out any night of the week, but finding a decent brunch spot in Salt Lake City is like finding a cup of coffee at BYU. And by brunch, I don’t just mean breakfast. Enter Piper Down, where it’s dark enough to prevent further hangover trauma, and they provide $1 mimosas and a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar (you buy the shot). I order a proper Irish breakfast filled with potatoes, and enjoy the cool, dark wood against my forehead while I watch SportsCenter. There’s no need to worry about karaoke or any other obscene noises.
1492 S. State, 801-468-1492, PiperDownPub.com
Sunday 2:30 p.m.
Shooting Star Saloon
Have It Their Way
This little log-cabin joint is pretty adamant about not being a restaurant—there is no waitress on duty, you order and pick up everything at the bar, and there are no substitutions. But its famous namesake Star burger—two beef patties, grilled Polish knackwurst, melted cheese—draws a crowd of meatlovers, even on Father’s Day. The bartender pours $2 mugs of domestic beers and regales visitors with the bar’s storied history: It’s the oldest bar in Utah and remained open during Prohibition, and the giant St. Bernard whose head is mounted on the wall was 300 pounds and 40 inches tall at the shoulder when it died. Less famous than the dog is the ghost that haunts the jukebox—while a woman is checking out the selection of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Eagles tunes, the machine whirrs to life and starts blasting a song of its own choosing, something the bartender says the “ghost” does fairly often.
7350 E. 200 South, Huntsville, 801-745-2002, ShootingStarSaloon.com