Wednesday 8 p.m.
O’Shucks, Salt Lake City ^
Party Down Below
Head down the steps and into a basement room with red bricks for walls, and you’ll walk into an off-the-radar scene with business professionals hidden among the City Creek shoppers and college students. It’s underground, and it’s not uptight—hip-hop on the speakers, and peanut shells on the floor. And while the other bars are waiting for the weekend crowd, the party is already happening with $3 sushi rolls and $3 schooners of beer, featuring Moab Brewery suds like Dead Horse and Porcupine Pilsner.
22 E. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-596-8600, OShucks-AhhSushi.com
Wednesday 8:09 p.m.
Big Shiny Geek Pre-Game
Pub trivia nights have spread across the SLC bar scene to almost karaoke levels, but not all pub trivia is created equal. Case in point: The Big Shiny Geek Show Pub Quiz at Lucky 13, the home-grown quiz that is consistently named the city’s favorite in City Weekly Best of Utah voting. Even as the trivia masters prepare for the 8:30 p.m. start time on one of the city’s best patios, the inside of the bar is jumping with hockey fans on hand for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, munching on Lucky 13’s signature burgers and oh-so-tasty house-smoked-bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers in between slugs of fat steins of brew.
135 W. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-487-4418, Lucky13SLC.com
Wednesday 8:30 p.m.
Pool & Beer With a Sidecar of Live Music
There are more than a few excuses to get to this Sugar House staple. The pool and burgers may have put Fats on the map, but vintage car shows every other Monday and Paint, Wine & Dine nights every first Thursday attract a wide swath of merry drinkers. Plus, there’s Tuesday’s pool tournament and Wednesday’s coffee-shop-style acoustic night, which has lured in mellow, weekday drinkers and chatty couples. It’s worth it to return on the weekends; on Friday and Saturday nights, bands let loose on a rollicking crowd (for free!) thanks to a crisp sound system, huge stage, dance floor and full bar downstairs, confirming Fats as the only real music venue in Sugar House.
2182 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-484-9467, FatsGrillSLC.com
Wednesday 9 p.m.
Brew From the Monks
Ah, the pleasures of a summer night: sitting out on a patio as the light (and heat) of the day slowly fades away, nursing a favorite beverage. Started by Bayou founder Del Vance after he sold that establishment, The Beerhive may not feature quite as many beers, but they’ve got a lot, and it’s quality stuff. The North Coast Pranqster Belgian-style light ale preps my palate for the real thing: the Chimay Premiere, brewed by Trappist monks, not too heavy yet still profound. Food selections include fare like spinach-artichoke dip and chicken quesadillas, but most are drawn to this hive by the sweet nectar it serves.
128 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-364-4268
Wednesday 9:30 p.m.
Pig Out With the Regulars
Six regulars—all men—sit at the bar, and the banter comes easy between them as they discuss the hottest baseball games they’ve ever attended; the hockey playoff game unfolding on the screens of the brighter-than-you’d-expect, sparsely decorated bar; and the quality of the burgers produced by the new barbecue joint, Pig Out BBQ, that opened next door in May. While the easy access to a menu full of barbecue might become a reason to hit Manny’s, for now, the main draw remains the house Flaming Dr Peppers—the bar sold more than 15,000 of the stunt drink in 2012, and they’re on pace to top it this year.
1704 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-467-6289
Wednesday 10:57 p.m.
I Hope You’re Jammin’, Too
Local band members, closet musicians and patchouli-doused hippies have gathered in this downtown dive to improvise and let loose on Open Jam night. The drum beat pulses and the bass starts to get funky, then out of thin air, an LED hoop appears. The crowd parts—still dancing, beers in hand—while the mesmerizing lights spin. I get lost in the friendly atmosphere, and after a few more beers, I’m jammin’, too.
60 E. 800 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0805, TheWoodshedSLC.com
Thursday 3:30 p.m.
Afternoon Soccer & Suds
There’s no live music and there are no strippers, but Duffy’s is still full every day of the week. Another in the lineup of Main Street’s neighborhood bars, this joint gets going as early as lunchtime, when regulars come in for beers and owner Mark’s housemade food. While some guys talk baseball at one end of the bar, a group of 30-somethings intently watch a soccer match on TV, and Tim, a bar regular sporting a red Alta T-shirt, assures me that the wooden Norwegian shot ski hanging over the bar actually does get used.
932 S. Main, 801-355-6401, DuffysTavernSLC.com
Thursday 6:52 p.m.
Leatherheads Sports Bar ’n’ Grill
Teenagers Playing “Roundabout”
The general vibe says sports bar—big-screen TVs, posters on the walls—but in Draper, there’s more of a family-friendly angle. So, it’s not just some of the patrons who are underage on this night; it’s the house band. Students from the School of Rock location in Sandy dazzle the house with a prog-rock-themed show, churning out epic Yes and King Crimson tunes while the kids in the audience enjoy grilled-cheese sandwich specials and the adults toss back frosty beers.
12101 Factory Outlet Drive, No. 103, Draper, 801-523-1888, LeatherheadsSportsBar.com
Thursday 7:30 p.m.
None More Metal
The entrance to the Dawg Pound is perfectly indicative of the name. It’s a small enclosure made of chain-link fence that also serves as a smoking lounge that holds about six people. Tonight, the entry is full, while the early-evening crowd inside is small, since there’s no show tonight. With Metallica, Dio and Pantera blasting on the stereo, a few folks sip beer at a bar covered with stickers from metal bands both local and national, many of which take the small stage on weekend nights. The bar is built on the basics like PBR and Jack Daniel’s; hunger created by a night of headbanging can be sated with the house $1 hot dogs and corn dogs.
3350 S. State, 801-261-2337, Salt Lake City, Facebook.com/DawgPoundSLC
Thursday 8:30 p.m.
Passionate Players, No Crowd Necessary
The surprisingly spacious Gino’s is hosting a sparse crowd—there’s a woman working the door, a bartender and two curious first-time visitors. But the empty dance floor isn’t keeping the night’s band, Trailer Trash Troubadours, from knocking out a steady diet of blues-rock, including a surprisingly strong take on Eric Clapton’s “Crossroads.” Karaoke used to be a big draw, the bartender says, but now it’s all about live music at Gino’s. The room is spacious and well-kept for a rock club, and the beers are cheap.
3556 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-268-1811, Facebook.com/GinosSLC