Saturday 9:51 p.m.
The Spur Bar & Grill
Even Cowgirls Get to Bars
If the sign is true—“Cowgirls Are Forever”—then the implications are vast and give us a Western myth to rally religiously behind. The two women standing under said sign are not cowgirls, however, so they aren’t “forever”—and neither is the bourbon served neat that I just ordered. Maybe the sign should say, “Every Girl Has a Little Cowgirl In Her.” The raucous roundup of gals on the dance floor singing along to Americana classics with the band—Candy’s River House—the 20-somethings sitting aloof in leather chairs by the fireplace, the women seated with their husbands at the wooden bar, the smokers pulling on Marlboros on the patio … they’re all a little cowgirl, even if they don’t know it.
352 Main, Park City, 435-615-1618, TheSpurBarAndGrill.com
Saturday 10 p.m.
One Dive to Rule Them All
Chuckles just might be the king of dive bars. Small and windowless, with well-worn furniture, a dart board, a crew of regulars and cheap booze, this bar has a comfortable atmosphere that’s completely unpretentious. Not too busy, even on a Saturday night, it’s the kind of place where the bartender takes a break to shoot some pool with a couple of regulars. Budweiser, the “King of Beers,” is fully represented by the many posters in the bar’s small interior. Oh, and just like any good dive bar, there’s a jukebox playing mostly country.
221 W. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-1721
Saturday 10:02 p.m.
The Place Where You Can Score … a “Ton-80”
With an entire wall of electronic dart boards, DJ’s is a bulls-eye—nay, a “ton-80.” That’s the ultimate shot in darts: three in the triple-20 box for a cool 180 points. With these house darts (and a beer buzz), it’s hard to hit anything on purpose. If I had my good darts, I’d be kickin’ ass. That’s what I tell my buddy, anyway. He doesn’t hear. There’s a toga party happenin’, so he’s twisted his Doctor Who T-shirt into a bikini top.
3849 W. 5400 South, Murray, 801-964-8575, ClubDJsUtah.com
Saturday 10:04 p.m.
Mohawk Behind the Bar
Lighthouse bartender DeeDee is a semi-celebrity among the Ogden nightlife scene. She’s all spunk, wagging a bleached-blond mohawk as she pours domestics to a smattering of folks. There’s a tattooed twosome looking like they are just becoming acquainted, a girls’ night out party and a cabinet maker seated in front of a gorgeous oak liquor cabinet that he made. Then there’s me, staring at the random collection of lighthouse ornaments, paperweights and sculptures, wondering if they were gifts from loyal locals or relics from when Lighthouse Lounge was once a strip club.
130 1/2 25th St., Ogden, 801-392-3901
Saturday 10:09 p.m.
Hypnotic Latin Night
This bar is packed with young, sexy people getting down to some DJ playing dem bow (Dominican street music) tracks over in a dark corner. “I should learn to bachata,” I think while watching a couple burn it up on the dance floor. But this is immediately forgotten as soon as I notice the massive row of flatscreen TVs behind the bar. As I stare into a glowing array of screen savers, I feel like I’m in an episode of Sliders. Each whirlpool of color pulls me deeper into a Latin cosmic vortex. For the rest of the night, I repeat, “Sean de Paul, gonna give to, all de girls.” I blame the flat screens.
536 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-997-0222, TheComplexSLC.com
Saturday 10:15 p.m.
A. Beuford Gifford’s Libation Emporium ^
Slow Night for the Cook
The cook at ABG’s is standing in the swinging cowboy doors, looking out on Utah County. He’s not busy, because the current clientele—the bartender says all are locals—are here to partake in libations. The jukebox is working hard, though, as it belches out rockabilly and a bit of Johnny Cash onto groups ranging from anarchist punks to beard enthusiasts to the clean-cut (and there’s rumor that a BYU student is in the mix). I order a pint of Provo Girl and a basket of fries to give the cook something to do.
190 W. Center St., Provo, 801-373-1200, ABGsBar.com
Saturday 10:17 p.m.
The Lazy Dog Saloon
Farm Belt Harmonies
I sidle up to the bar and am grabbed by the sign: “$5 fine for whining.” It sets the tone perfectly, unlike the cowboy who’s murdering a song on the karaoke machine. Between the white cowboy hats and the grungy green carpet, this roughest of gems is all-Americana. And when a young couple does a karaoke duet that wouldn’t seem out of place on an episode of Nashville as they hit the line “One more is never enough”—joined in by a friend serenading a beer bottle—I know this is the place I want to hunker down in for the duration of the night.
12755 S. Redwood Road, Riverton, 801-302-5584
Saturday 10:20 p.m.
Live Text Hook-Up
Due to its friendly neighborhood vibe and cheap drinks, Try-Angles has become a neighborhood favorite among gay and straight folks alike. On Saturday night, the disco ball is ready, and the retro black & white tiled dance floor features a host of men looking to shake their groove thing. There’s also a screen you can text to that will broadcast your message across the room, just in case you spy someone cute. This is fun; I think about returning tomorrow, Sunday, for the weekly relaxed, all-day barbecue.
251 W. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-3203, ClubTry-Angles.com
Saturday 10:30 p.m.
Assholes to Elbows With PBR
A cult classic for Salt Lakers, Jackalope has a loyal group of follows, myself included, and Saturday night, it never fails to be the heart of the downtown bar scene. Walking in, I find it in its usual weekend state: standing room only. The bartender aptly describes it as “assholes to elbows,” but the cheap drinks and crazy crowd are exactly what Jackalope should be. That, and the quirky stuffed-Jackalope décor, create an exhilarating and energetic drunk-fest, which is exactly the bohemian vibe that makes it a weekend favorite among locals.
372 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-359-8054
Saturday 10:33 p.m.
Flanagan’s on Main
Choose Your Own Irish Adventure
It’s like a Choose Your Own Irish Adventure book upon entering this bar off of Main Street. Option A (turn to p. 42): Have a seat upstairs at an Old World-looking table, have a pint of Guinness and listen to European house music (bagpipes are replaced with heavy beats at some point after the dinner rush). Option B (turn to p. 29): Go downstairs to join a crowd of rowdy locals, ranging from early 20s to early 40s, and sing along with the acoustic bard strumming classic rock and a stray Jimmy Buffett tune (by request). Option C (turn to p. 33): Buy a $2 well drink and head to the small patio overlooking the back alley. The book has no end—just repeat.
438 Main, Park City, 435-649-8600, FlanagansOnMain.com
Saturday 10:36 p.m.
Bros & Jams
The bros—all four of them, all apparently named “Bro”—came expecting hip-hop, but instead got a jam band noodling away like intermediate Phish. After some initial apprehension, the Bros are all in, because the right elements are still here: cold beer, hot girls, “chill vibe” and, look, more hot girls. In contrast to the old-school dive bars that mostly populate Murray, 5 Monkeys is young, fresh and on perpetual spring break—fist-bump it, Bro.
7 E. 4800 South, Murray, 801-266-1885, 5MonkeysClub.com