“It’s 9 o’clock on a Saturday,” Billy Joel sang in his paean to a piano bar and its “regular crowd.” It was a nod to a specific place, at a specific time, when very specific characters were bending an elbow at a neighborhood watering hole.
In recent years, City Weekly explored local bars by taking the temperature of their beers. For the 2013 Bar Guide, our contributors instead took the temperature of the rooms—from the hottest dance floors to the coolest neighborhood hangouts—for prose snapshots capturing a week in the life of the Utah bar, tavern and club scene.
Maybe it was 9 o’clock on a Saturday; maybe it was happy hour on a Friday; maybe it was a business lunch on a Wednesday. Visiting spots from Park City to Magna and Ogden to Provo, we sought to capture their essence in a single moment: the celebratory belting of a karaoke tune; a shared joke with the bartender; the communal cheers of sports fans; a drag on the hookah pipe.
So, stroll with us through the lively, unique establishments, nodding along at the recognition of your own favorite spot, or getting inspired to try someplace new. Share a drink with us; it’s better than drinking alone. —Scott Renshaw
Kate Ayer, Joe Beatty, Niki Chan, Stephen Dark, Dom Darling, Austen Diamond, Jessica Dunn, Bill Frost, Trevor Hale, Randy Harward, Nicole McDonald, Jeff Miesbauer, Dan Nailen, Aimee Cook O’Brien, Eric S. Peterson, Katherine Pioli, Rachel Piper, Scott Renshaw, Brian Staker, Kolbie Stonehocker, Jacob Stringer, Colin Wolf
Monday 7 p.m.
Chalk Up & Break
The activities are scrawled on a board: karaoke on Thursdays, bands throughout the weekend nights. Monday is $8 steak, but while some customers pile their plates with salad and a piece of grilled meat, most are there for a pool tournament. Regulars drift in with their long, narrow leather cases, and couples gather around the oblong bar in the large, airy hall to sip on a beer and discuss the upcoming tourney. Players of all ages—including one middle-age man sporting a fabulous blond mullet—work their cue tips, screw together their cues and chalk up. As balls are racked and calls are issued to “go find your team,” Magna’s community of pool players gets down to business.
8987 W. 2700 South, Magna, 801-250-1970
Monday 7:30 p.m.
It’s not too full tonight at The Spot, but there’s an ebb and flow of people visiting their favorite neighborhood bar on a work night. The strings of holiday lights and the red-vinyl fabric on the bar stools and booths give the place a retro glow. A couple plays a round of pool; a group of friends find seats at a corner table. An old guy walks in and greets his friend at the end of the bar: “What’s up, Jerry? Watch the game?” Everything feels easy and classic here, just like the beers on tap: Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
870 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-355-7768
Monday 7:35 p.m.
Everybody in the Pool
The Blackhawks have just won the Stanley Cup, but aside from a spare hoot or two, you wouldn’t know anything just happened. Dead night here? No, we’re just not sitting where the action is. Batters is a big place, and feels even bigger with the mural of faces staring down at the crowd in the main room. But the hot spot is in The Dugout, where the pool tables host nightly tournaments and the majority of the patrons congregate.
1717 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-463-4996, BattersUpSportsBar.com
Monday 8 p.m.
It’s been a mellow experience from the first step inside Maggie’s, a bar most definitely comfortable in its own skin. By combining a neighborhood hole-in-the-wall mentality with some serious acreage, the end result is a cozy vibe where a person doesn’t have to crane their neck to hear a friend’s story, and there’s no risk of bumping into 10 people while turning in place with your beer. An hour from now, things will get a little more boisterous, with the nightly karaoke kicking off in the cavernous back of the joint.
6253 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-273-9899, MaggieMcGees.com
Monday 8:45 p.m.
A Bit of Badass
One might be a little skeptical of a place claiming to be a biker bar in this part of town, but once I step inside, seeing is believing. There are long, high wooden tables, bawdy street signs and plenty of laughter, often laced with whatever profanity one cares to use when they don’t feel it necessary to protect a nearby delicate ear. Our bartender is no-nonsense, but somehow gives off the vibe that he’d gladly break a pool cue over the head of someone giving us trouble.
3943 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-272-1903, Facebook.com/CruzrsSaloon
Monday 9:30 p.m.
Karaoke Rehearsal in the Isolation Booth
Most bars have karaoke, but Highlander is karaoke. There are maybe two stools that don’t face the stage here, and even though there aren’t a lot of patrons on a weeknight, the wait list to perform is still sizeable. We asked our bartender about the mythical isolation booth, only to be proudly informed that there are two. Yes, if you don’t feel you can match Minnie Riperton’s high notes cold, you can warm up in a soundproof room complete with screen, mic and headphones. Did we mention there is karaoke?
6194 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-277-8251, HighlanderUtah.com
Monday 10:30 p.m.
Just Like Old Faithful
There are regulars at bars, and then there are regulars at bars. X-Wife’s Place—even on a Monday night, and maybe especially because it is a Monday—has regulars seated at the bar who’ve been chatting it up since long before I arrived. The pool tables are mostly occupied, and the back patio is empty and peaceful—until a girls’ night out/birthday party shows up to take over. But with extra room behind the bar and near the front, it’s easy for the regulars to find a quiet place and leave the youngsters to have their fun.
465 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-532-1954
Tuesday 7 p.m.
One-Stop Pub Crawl
This may be a great big complex, but we’re quite cozy out here on the patio listening to some live jazz, thank you. When the weather is nice, there isn’t a more diverse bar experience in town. The second-story outdoor porch is hopping; a dozen teams are playing trivia in the main dining room; and a sizeable throng of soccer fans is huddled by the interior bar island to yell at the refs botching the U.S. national team’s match. And don’t forget the shuffleboarders in the game room and the whole second bar and dining room upstairs. This is a one-street-corner pub crawl.
326 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-819-7565, GraciesSLC.com
Tuesday 7:40 p.m.
O’Shucks Bar & Grill, Park City
Schoo-ner (noun): a large bowl-shaped glass that takes two hands to hold up when it’s filled to the brim with ridiculously cheap beer; also known as a “fishbowl.” A schooner is what you get for the ridiculous price of $3.25 (Blue Moon, Killian’s and Dead Horse brews only) on Tuesdays at O’Shucks. The locals and out-of-towners in the know are filling up the patio. At this hour, it’s a mix of after-work lingerers and post-bike/golf hydrators, who are munching on the also-ridiculously-priced burgers ($3.25). Tuesday, from now on, should be proclaimed Schoonerday. Maybe it will stick.
427 Main, Park City, 435-645-3999, OShucks-AhhSushi.com
Tuesday 7:45 p.m.
Free Pool With the Eclectic Crowd
A hockey game on TV, the Eagles on the jukebox and free pool? I can’t ask for more on a Tuesday night. I head there after work and leave my judgments at the door, because the crowd there is eclectic: bikers, U students, extras from SLC Punk—all are welcome. I top off my day with a tallboy and a shot of my choice of well liquor—all for $5. I play a couple of games of pool, enjoy plenty of attention from the bartender and have myself the best deal downtown.
342 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-531-2107
Tuesday 9 p.m.
Huka Bar & Grill
Half-Price Hookah & Reggae
Flavored smoke and reggae music—an impeccable pairing. Toss in some specialty cocktails, like the Caramel Apple, and you’re good to go. The crowd is pretty mellow on a Tuesday (as they be jammin’), and the half-price hookah in a plethora of flavors like watermelon and raspberry, plus the good eats, make it easy to linger. I’m told to come back for College Night on Thursday if I want a wilder night.
151 E. 6100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-281-9665, TheHukaBar.com
Tuesday 9:15 p.m.
The Bar in Sugarhouse ^
Possibly a Time Machine
The Bar, The A-Frame, The Shack—no matter what you call it, this beer-only drinking den, built in 1922, oozes history from its walls. It’s the kind of place where you lose track of time talking to complete strangers about river trips, conspiracy theories, skiing with legends and the lure of the wide-open West. It’s a throwback to the old days, where old-timers pay with quarters and nobody knows any better than to be friends, not just friendly. It could be that there’s no room in the place to be an outsider, or it could be the welcoming bartenders and $3 pints. Either way, it works.
2168 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-485-1232
Tuesday 9:25 p.m.
Cotton Bottom Inn
All You Need Is Garlic & Beer
The faded sign and worn exterior might encourage second thoughts, but the sweet smell of garlic wafting through my nose confirms that this is the place. The covered patio is filled with chatter, and a light breeze moves through the surrounding trees. As soon as I walk in, the bartender asks what I’m drinking and confirms that I want a garlic burger with cheese. No menus are needed here; the beer comes quickly, and the burger isn’t far behind. It’s a perfect greasy meal to chase with a few cold beers—everybody’s doing it.
1820 E. 6200 South, Holladay, 801-273-9830
Tuesday 10:04 p.m.
My Heroes Have Always Been (Gay) Cowboys
The Trapp is another in a long line of Salt Lake City bars that are deceptively larger than they appear. What initially looks like a cozy, narrow bar opens into a sprawling dance floor—complete with disco-ball cowboy boots flanking both sides of a karaoke stage. There’s a back room full of games, a second bar and a back patio that’s nearly as big as the inside. There seems to be a solid crowd of regulars, but they’re happy to see a newcomer looking for a spot to spend an evening.
102 S. 600 West, Salt Lake City, 801-531-8727, TheTrappSLC.com
Tuesday 11:30 p.m.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Soccer Bar
The drab white front is a red herring. Once the heavy wooden door opens, what looked to be a cramped, tiny dive bar gives way to a long, spacious area with TVs, games and seating everywhere. Soccer is the sport of choice at The Republican, and even late on a Tuesday, there are matches dominating the TVs. And any time there’s a Real Salt Lake game or a U.S. Men’s National Team game, you can count on The Republican being packed full of soccer fans cheering for the home team.
917 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-595-1916
Tuesday 11:45 p.m.
Playhouse Tuesdays: Ladies’ Night
Nestled at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon, Canyon Inn always makes for an interesting crowd. A young ski bum and a, um, more mature woman are hitting it off really well in the corner. And there’s a similar pair on the dance floor, feeling the sounds from the Top 40/house DJ. The décor is just as much of a mish-mash of cabin-in-the-woods, downtown club and dive bar. I didn’t come to mingle, but I found some top-shelf people-watching.
3700 Fort Union Blvd., Salt Lake City, 801-943-6969
Wednesday 3 p.m.
Retire for a Drink
Look past the lime-green color scheme and the not-subtle Budweiser advertising, and the place is clean, airy, bright and friendly—a charming neighborhood bar. My companions, the regulars, are a few retirees sipping on $2.75 16-ounce beers. Turns out, by early afternoon most days, Bart’s is already happening.
837 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-532-9068
Wednesday 7 p.m.
Originally the Hotel Victor, this 100-year-old building has undergone only slight renovations, so it still has 1910s character in spades. Speaking of which, poker is going on in the basement, and Club Elevate, in the space next door to The Hotel, houses several dance clubs waiting to come alive. The joint is often jumpin’, but it’s also a great place to grab an early dinner before the crowds show up and fuel up before a night of dancing.
155 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-478-4310, TheHotelElevate.com
Wednesday 7:07 p.m.
Soaring on 33 Cent Wings
On a 33 Cent Wings Wednesday at Devil’s Daughter, I’m elbow-deep in a plate of a dozen house-smoked, perfectly charred wings. With juicy awesomeness and flavor layers of crispy skin, this small mountain of meat has transported me to a magical place where the most important decision I have to make is whether I should dunk this chunk of chicken in the Memphis or Devil’s Daughter barbecue sauce. As a song by The Reverend Horton Heat plays, this carnivore hydrates with a sweet and tangy whiskey sour, then dives back into the meaty fray.
533 S. 500 West, Salt Lake City, 801-532-1610, DevilsDaughterSLC.com
Wednesday 7:30 p.m.
He Was the Love of Her Life
“First time in Habits?” the bartender inquires as he prepares a gin & tonic for me. “It will be fun,” he promises. It’s cocktail hour, and while the dance floor awaits the pulsating grind of the gyrating masses, it’s time to unbutton at the bar, sip that G & T and listen to the genteel repartee. There are mournful tales of lost love: “He was the love of her life,” a young woman squired by two older men laments. There’s talk of bucket lists amid shrill laughter, and as the mix of sarcasm, ribaldry and sexual innuendo flows, the night achieves its own rhythm. Call it the poetry of Habits.
832 E. 3900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-268-2228, ClubHabits.com
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
Thursday 8:45 p.m.
Campfire Lounge ^
A Shot Away From That Outdoor Feeling
Like any worthwhile camping trip, Sugar House’s newest bar runs on Jack Daniel’s. His statue overlooks the bar, ensuring $3 Jack all day, every day. Going with the bar’s camping theme, you order the PB&J—PBR and a shot of Jack, just $5. After a couple of rounds, you grab a menu, which features camp staples like hobo dinners, hot dogs, brats and s’mores. But you order the tots and bask in the glory of salty, crunchy, booze-absorbing perfection.
837 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-3325
Thursday 9:14 p.m.
’Bout Time Pub & Grub
That One Guy Cheering for the Miami Heat
As a tense NBA Finals Game 7 ticks toward its conclusion, at least one patron is happy about the result, letting out a Ric Flair-model “Whoooo!” every time something positive happens for the Miami Heat. But his posse of bros with brews in the corner is offset by plenty of couples enjoying dinner even as a critical sporting event is broadcast on the big screens. Throw in the couples hooking up at the bar, and you’ve got a place appealing to a far more diverse clientele than the simple “sports bar” designation might suggest.
Multiple locations, BoutTimePub.com
Thursday 9:26 p.m.
It’s always Game 7 somewhere
I already knew this place would be huge. It’s a sports bar, and sports bars require a lot of room, which Lumpy’s has plenty of. Big screens and comfy chairs fill the main area, and there’s a TV in every booth and alcove upstairs and down. Fans of both teams cheered and groan as the clock runs out and the Spurs fan, who only seconds before was raising his hands in victory, is now being bought a shot by a gloating Miami Heat fan savoring the moment.
145 W. Pierpont Ave., 801-883-8714, LumpysDowntownSLC.com
Thursday 9:30 p.m.
Poplar Street Pub
Everybody’s Prepping for the Weekend
It hit 99 degrees today, and it’s not quite the weekend yet, so while Poplar is packed, it’s in a laid-back way. Poplar’s pub-style front room is always chill, and while there are never not bodies at the bar or playing pool in the back game room, the Poplar patio is the place to be in the summer. Tonight, the crowd is split into gender factions like a fifth-grade party, as groups of guys and girls separately plan and plot their weekend dates and parties. The new, separate outside bar provides a place to cool down for those not quite ready for the full outdoor experience, and it has a bevy of beers on tap, so the next round is never far away.
242 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-532-2715, PoplarStreetPub.com
Thursday 10 p.m.
Untilted Poker Party
I’m figuratively and literally in Good Spirits, a welcoming, come-as-you-are watering hole. I’m matching wits in a game of Untilted poker, where players celebrate (and mourn) their hands with $2 shots of tequila. Even when our luck runs dry, we’re soaked in liquid courage; a fellow player winds up on the karaoke stage singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” with reckless abandon. Skunked at cards and drunk as a skunk, I take pleasure in some sumptuous—and sobering—bar food, including $6 for some of the best chicken wings in the state.
999 W. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-263-0411
Thursday 10:06 p.m.
Carol’s Cove II
Karaoke Kings & Queens
The walls are covered with pop-culture ephemera—from Scarface and Marilyn Monroe posters to an area dedicated to Betty Boop—while an old Speedway Café T-shirt hangs from the rafters as a memorial to a reunion for the ’80s-era SLC music venue held a while back. Thursday-night karaoke draws a crew of about 20 regulars who cheer one another on through some classic country and torchy standards, and the bar is large enough that another small group can gather to watch a basketball game without the amateur vocalists being too obtrusive. The bar has all the basics and then some—but only the daring would try a concoction called a Smurf’s Penis.
3424 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-466-2683
Thursday 10:15 p.m.
Sexy Vintage Cocktails
I park my bike outside the bar between a black Triumph motorcycle, a Prius and a mint-green, fixed-gear Bianchi. Inside, the bartender is just serving up a gimlet—a 1920s cocktail of gin and lime juice—as DJ Godina spins up the party with another obscure ’80s hit that every black-rimmed-glasses-wearer in the room seems to know by heart. Behind the bar and against the wall, dim lights cast silhouettes of the top-shelf booze, displayed like pinup girls and just sexy enough to make me order the 1930s Fair & Warmer cocktail: white rum, sweet vermouth, curaçao and orange twist.
155 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-2287, BarXSaltLake.com
Thursday 11 p.m.
The Glam & the Goth
Dressed in brightly colored 1980s duds like leg warmers and sweatbands, the young crowd upstairs dances to the sounds of Cyndi Lauper while buying nonalcoholic drinks; this part of the club caters to the 18-plus crowd. Downstairs, in the part of the bar called Sanctuary—SLC’s only goth bar—corseted women and men glide over the dance floor to the sounds of Bauhaus and Ladytron.
451 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-534-0819, Area51SLC.com
Friday 12 p.m.
The Green Pig Pub
Let’s Take This Meeting to the Patio
The office A/C is in overdrive to compensate for the blisteringly hot weather, so it’s frigid inside; productivity has ground to a halt as people shiver and their minds wander to the weekend. Someone makes the smart suggestion of heading to the Green Pig patio in time to snag a table on the rooftop and discuss that upcoming project with the aid of some tasty margaritas, a few giant fans and just a hint of the sun peeking around the corners of the huge table umbrellas. And with a few plates of tasty pub food to go around, hanging out—er, working—on the patio all afternoon starts to feel like the best team-building activity we’ve ever tried.
31 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-7441, TheGreenPigPub.com
Friday 6:07 p.m.
The Bongo Lounge
After-Work-ers Meet the Regulars
You never know who you’ll find at The Bongo Lounge before you walk in—primarily because the joint is windowless, and this proud neighborhood dive caters to anybody willing to step into its disarmingly charming ambiance. What you are sure to find is a well-stocked jukebox and a friendly staff proffering with a smile some of the cheapest drinks to be had in the valley. Sure, you may have to elbow your way past a grizzled regular or two planted at the bar, but they welcome groups of young workers, cash in hand, making an audible sigh of relief at the end of yet another work week.
2965 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-466-1577
Friday 6:45 p.m.
Legends Sports Bar & Grill ^
X-Treme After-Work Enjoyment
It’s disgustingly hot outside. However, sitting in this air-conditioned sports bar with a few co-workers, enjoying a frosty stein of Coors Light and watching the X-Games, feels pretty good. “Sweet tail whip!” I yell, but no one at my table hears (or cares). It’s cool; I’m used to being ignored. Apparently, Legends pops off a little later for karaoke, but right now, I’m enjoying this post-work atmosphere—especially after somebody orders a bunch of tasty little street-taco thingies. “Huuuge backy, brah!” I yell with a mouth full of spicy chicken. No response. I guess I’m the most extreme dude in this place.
677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3598, WhyLegends.com
Friday 7:15 p.m.
Brewvies Cinema Pub
Munching at the Movies
Besides perhaps at a small airport, Brewvies is the only bar where the entire crowd of drinkers migrates at once. We’ve just followed the stampede from the billiards area into the theater for the 7:15 showing of This Is the End. The food is always good here, but the real enjoyment of ordering is waiting to see our number light up on the bingo board. It’s like our pizza is the star of the show! And then I put it into a violently delicious retirement.
677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-355-5500, Brewvies.com
Friday 7:35 p.m.
Three Alarm Saloon
Joes, “Average” and “Sloppy” Varieties
The dude smoking out back looks biker-mean, but he’s happy and welcoming—he might’ve opened the door for me if I hadn’t beaten him to it. I have an icy stein of Hefeweizen before me within a minute; within five, I’m talking about ribs and old-school funk with Andre. He says he’s an ass-kicker on the grill. The cook touts her sloppy joes. I’m tempted; they smell great. Postscript: The parking-lot taco cart is reDONK.
7273 S. State, Midvale, 801-562-5252
Friday 7:45 p.m.
More Room for Everyone
From pub to super pub, the expanded Sugarhouse Pub is simply more of a good thing, providing two full bars, three pool tables, foosball and lots of comfy seating for neighborhood loyalists. The pub is buzzing with 20-somethings, seasoned couples, work buddies, second dates and future missed connections. With more parking for bikes than cars and no food other than pretzels and brats, this central Sugar House spot caters to its surrounding neighborhood, but now it’s big enough to welcome everyone … and their friends.
1992 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-413-2857
Friday 8:15 p.m.
Cheers to You Midvale
Don’t Cha Have Needs?
“I call this place a hole-in-the-wall,” says a septuagenarian barfly perched between long-haired, tatted me and a guy with a tall, sharp mohawk. Between pulls off a sweaty Pabst tallboy, Elder points and laughs at us both. The Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha” plays on this Free Juke Friday. Two guys enter and ask ’Hawk if it’s his first time here. One tells Seventysomething, “If you ever need a hooker, ask me.”
7642 S. State, Midvale, 801-566-0871
Friday 8:30 p.m.
Sports Bar for the Bar Fan
On this night, the only way to tell who’s here for hockey, soccer or just to hang out is to wait for a goal to be scored and watch the reactions—or lack thereof. Fiddler’s eschews the austerity of the modern sports bar, instead embracing the culture of those who care as much about the bar as they do about who is playing on the screen. But that’s not to say they aren’t paying attention. When the U.S. National Team notches the winner over Jamaica, the cacophony makes it clear it wasn’t just the menu that drew the crowd.
1063 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-463-9393, FiddlersElbowSLC.com
Friday 8:45 p.m.
Olde Towne Tavern
That Secret Watering Hole
A prospective patron with an expired I.D. is being told to leave. Another hears he can’t have his next drink until he drains his current glass. This quaint little beer-only crackerbox is run by sticklers for the rules. It’s understandable; this is clearly the patrons’ secret watering hole, but the scenes are interestingly juxtaposed with outlaw country (Johnny Cash, The Highwaymen). Hank Jr.’s “Family Tradition” prompts a brief singalong among the six patrons. That must be OTT’s anthem.
7662 S. Main, Midvale, 801-566-3172
Friday 9:20 p.m.
A Bar Named Sue On State
That (Other) Place Where Cash Is King
As with the Highland Drive original, Cash is king here. Brilliantly rendered murals based on iconic photos of The Man in Black adorn nearly every wall. The one behind the stage—the big F.U. shot—is perfectly placed. My gut growls upon hearing I can get Sue’s same killer bacon cheeseburger and whiskey chips on a newly expanded menu. Beyond my daily caloric limit but knowing I’m unable to resist, I beat a retreat. See you on my next cheat day.
8136 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-566-3222, A-Bar-Named-Sue.com
Friday 9:28 p.m.
Burt’s Tiki Lounge ^
Old-School Punk, Earplugs Optional
Warning: Don’t come here looking for tiki lamps or lounge music. Do come here looking for bands that live up to tonight’s headliners with names the likes of Verbal Abuse and Handicapitalist—and bring your earplugs. Greg, a patron-turned-bartender, assures me between serving drinks that Burt’s scene changes nightly with the music. Sometimes it’s a metal crowd, sometimes an electronic-dance crowd. But from all the posters on the wall—featuring past bands like Chopper and the Decomposers & the Dollyrots, I think we all know whose home this is.
726 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-521-0572, Facebook.com/Burts.TikiLounge
Friday 9:30 p.m.
Sharing a Drink With Your Babysitter
Tucked away on a portion of Main Street far away from Layton’s family-friendly, chain-restaurant center, this nearly windowless, white-clapboard structure seems unwelcoming to the uninitiated, but the inside atmosphere is friendly and, for some, the center of town. A Stockman’s first-timer who grew up in the town is greeted by the sight of a former babysitter at the jukebox, and soon welcomed by the offer of a shot on the house from a friendly guy at the bar; Layton drinkers gotta stick together. Gutted in 2012 for an expansion and remodel, the bar is still undergoing some final steps of construction, but the air conditioning is working, so the regulars are once again gathered at the pool tables, counting down to the opening of the long-awaited rooftop patio.
80 N. Main, Layton, 801-544-8102
Friday 9:34 p.m.
Swing Dancing to Boston’s “Smokin’”
The crowd is a bit more, shall we say, mature than that of many clubs. When cover band Paid in Full hits the stage and starts cranking out the classic-rock chestnuts, it’s clear that many of those on the dance floor danced to these same songs in high school or college—though perhaps not with as many swings and dips in their choreography. Yet the sprawling space allows room both for those twirling revelers and for those who just came to celebrate a birthday, or to belly up to the bar with fellow travelers more ready to have an actual conversation than fire up their smartphones.
9065 S. Monroe St. (150 West), Sandy, 801-566-3254, Club90SLC.com
Friday 9:35 p.m.
The Irresistible Pull of the Piano Man
It sounds questionable: Wannabe Joels and Johns playing lowest-common-denominator requests from drunken bachelorettes for tips. But after a few drinks, I’m scribbling requests. Stumping the piano player is a no-no—they’ll keep the tip and toss the slip—but anyone can find common ground within the players’ repertoires. Just beware of the lulls: no requests means they’ll play LDS Sunday School classics (the Jack Mormon’s kryptonite).
201 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-519-8900, Tavernacle.com
Friday 9:40 p.m.
Party at the Fun Fort
It’s Friday night, and I’m hunkered down in the fortress of fun that is Totem’s. Fort, because the massive drinkery is fortified with pines in an expansive space, which is packed with six bars, pool tables and—on this particular weekend—a pair of poker tables, where, if you’re savvy with your chips, you’ll be making serious points in the Untilted Poker tournament. If Lady Luck doesn’t treat me right, there are cold beers and karaoke on tap to keep me busy the rest of the night in this big and friendly west-side bar.
538 S. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City, 801-975-0401
Friday 9:45 p.m.
The Tap Room
You could call it a dive bar, because if you tripped going down the stairs you’d dive headfirst into this drinking joint. But I make it in on my feet, and am faced with a mouthwatering conundrum of
High West, tequila, scotch and heavy brews (plus taps, of course). On Friday, the big bar is scattered with experienced regulars, while the younger crowd dominates the upstairs patio. The bubbly bartender happily serves everyone and keeps it fresh with free songs on the jukebox. The small space may get wild during Saturday karaoke or Wednesday trivia, but the quiet banter and bar-made hot dogs allow me to drink the night away at my own pace.
2275 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-466-0974
Friday 9:50 p.m.
West Valley Billiards
8-Ball the Night Away
What better way to start the weekend than with a friendly game of pool? The weekly 8-ball tournament starts appropriately at 8 p.m. As the evening progresses, I hang tight and enjoy some affordable drinks and tasty grub, like the establishment’s dynamite patty melt, and while the night away with bank shots and breaks with friends.
4669 W. 3500 South, West Valley City, 801-968-2200
Friday 10 p.m.
Enough Potions to Fill an Apothecary
This DJ knows his crowd, pumping songs from the ’90s that the laid-back group finds smirkingly nostalgic. As Vanilla Ice serenades my vanilla-bean martini, it’s impossible not to drift into the lounge vibe Elixir is going for. Until recently, this spot was Kristauf’s—the menus still bear the old name—but the little urban oasis still delivers a lounge-y good time.
6405 S. 3000 East, Holladay, 801-943-1696, ElixirUtah.com
Friday 10:14 p.m.
Lumpy’s South ^
Beach Party on the Back Deck
On a perfect late-spring night, it’s hard to miss the one girl in the neon-green-striped bikini. But she actually seems appropriately attired for the occasion as patrons congregate on the Lumpy’s South patio. Some sprawl comfortably around the fire pits; others sample whiskeys at a special table. While the DJ’s tunes play to a largely empty inside space—one bartender has plenty of time to practice his impressive Tom Cruise-in-Cocktail bottle-spinning skills—it’s easy to slip into the appeal of weekend revelry under the stars.
8925 Harrison St., Sandy, 801-255-2078, LumpysSouth.com
Friday 10:22 p.m.
Flatscreens As Far As the Eye Can See
I count 34 televisions in this sports bar; it would be impossible to miss the winning shot or touchdown of the big game. Literally, everywhere I look, there’s a glowing flatscreen to meet my gaze.
There’s even a TV in the women’s (and in the men’s, I’m told) bathroom. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a tiny screen tucked away in a broom closet. But the winning-est TV placement goes to the two located on the rooftop patio. No longer will smokers have to tear their eyes away from the action to go light up. There’s also a bar up there, so a person can experience the ultimate trifecta of sports, beer and free rein to enjoy a cigarette.
3396 S. Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City, 801-975-7825, GreenStreetSLC.com
Friday 10:36 p.m.
The Art of the Dance
I’ve moseyed into the city’s boot-scootin’est bar, and there is a lot to take in. This is a bar with a westerner’s sense of space: giant dance floor, private karaoke lounge, five bars. There’s also plenty of spectacle, from the live band fiddling up a storm, to the plethora of women in Daisy Dukes and those with diminished judgment and reaction times wrangling with a mechanical bull. But the most unique thing about this bar is that people here still dance with each other. For all the 10-gallon machismo of this cowboy bar, people hold hands and spin their partners in a style of toe-stepping that seems like a courtship ritual of a bygone era.
3360 S. Redwood Road, West Valley City, 801-972-5447
Friday 10:40 p.m.
Keys On Main
Bachelorettes, Britney & Booze
I’m leaning in to hear Benny, my bartender, explain the overwhelming scene here at Keys. The dueling pianos are going full steam. Every table in the joint is filled and, considering this space is 10 times larger than any other downtown bar I’ve been to, that’s really saying something. I finally catch Benny’s words: “It’s like Chuck E. Cheese for adults,” he’s saying. I grimace. “No, that’s a good thing,” he insists as he hands a Britney—the most-ordered house cocktail—to a busty woman in a sequined top.
242 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-363-3638, KeysOnMain.com
Friday 10:45 p.m.
We’re Bringing Pickles Back
A long work week is being drunk away at Bourbon House with the City Weekly crew. Shot after shot of Jameson doesn’t seem to be taking hold, due to the magical pickle-juice chaser of the Pickle Back shot; it’s like I’m Captain America. What is it about this salty vegetable juice that makes me immune to the alcohol’s intoxicating effect? Is it the seemingly incompatible combination of smoky and tangy flavors? Or do I actually have superpowers? Suddenly, I feel like a seasoned whiskey drinker as I knock back more shots than I could normally handle. But in reality, maybe I’m tipsier than I thought, since eating a whole plate of tater tots by myself for dinner seems like a good idea.
19 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-746-1005, BourbonHouseSLC.com
Friday 10:50 p.m.
Maxwell’s East Coast Eatery
Spend Your Weekends on the Jersey Shore
Friday night at Maxwell’s, located in the heart of downtown SLC, is the perfect way for a weekend warrior to kick off a two-day binge. From the moment I walk through the door, I feel the East Coast around me—the Jersey Shore in particular—with the music, lights and energy all bouncing off the walls. I order a vodka tonic—the bar service is super speedy—and relax to the sounds of DJ Godina mixing all night as the work week disappears behind me.
9 Exchange Place (350 South), Salt Lake City, 801-328-0304, MaxwellsECE.com
Friday 10:56 p.m.
Enjoying the Band by the Magic Fire Pit
It’s Friday night at this roadhouse bar, and magnificently hatted and bearded Florida blues band Swamp Cabbage is throwing down some tasty tunes on the outdoor stage, prompting rhythmically challenged drunk people to get up and shake their thang. But the chilly evening air has me shivering until I discover the cold person’s Holy Grail: the patio fire pit. But this is no ordinary wood & flames setup for chumps. Somehow, the fire dances above a bed of gravel—is it the work of a sorcerer?—and the pit itself is made of stone, which makes a handy ledge to set my drink and lean on as I warm up my hands. My back to the fire, I have the best seat in the house.
1199 Beck St., Salt Lake City, 801-521-3904, GarageOnBeck.com
Friday 11:11 p.m.
The Royal ^
Rock Till You Drop
That new bar smell may have worn off, but The Royal is still a shiny, black & chrome monument to rock & roll excess in an otherwise sedate suburban setting. Hometown heroes (and partial club owners) Royal Bliss are tearing through new tunes and old favorites for a shoulder-to-bare-sweaty-shoulder crowd who’ve obviously come to par-tay. And not 10 feet away from the two frenzied levels inside there’s a calming patio overlooking Big Cottonwood Creek—these guys do everything to extremes.
4760 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-590-9940, TheRoyalSLC.com
Friday 11:18 p.m.
Weekend Warriors Unite
No mellow drinkers here—these folks are in it to win it, and party hard. Indoors, a group of women, dressed to the nines, sit and have sushi; next to them, a table of patrons smoke hookah while multiple shots are bought for the birthday boy. The best part of the bar is the large, open patio, which is perfect for warm summer nights in SLC. The majority of the crowd hangs out here, flirting and dancing to a mix of Top 40, hip-hop and house music, spun by various regular Circle Lounge DJs.
328 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-531-5400, Facebook.com/CircleLoungeSLC
Friday 11:20 p.m.
Let the Right Beer In
Known fact: The Bayou occasionally runs out of a handful of the 300-plus beer brands and variations they diligently stock (thanks, DABC). Little-known fact: You can pull up UtahBayou.com on your smartphone and, under “Beers,” browse a real-time menu of what’s in the fridges tonight and avoid the 20-questions game with your waitress (as is happening at a nearby table right now). Less time yakking means more time enjoying bands like The Number Ones, who are ripping it up in the corner, or just more time drinking some new brew from Copenhagen. Win-win.
645 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-961-8400, UtahBayou.com
Friday 11:27 p.m.
The Redwood Lounge
Where Every (Ute Fan) Is a Local
It’s just shy of midnight, and I’m getting into that fuzzy part of the night where everything is funnier, shouting my jokes to the friends sitting right next to me. It also helps that I’m high on the good locals’ vibe of the Redwood Lounge, a classy west-side neighborhood sports bar that makes all patrons feel like locals—as long as you pay with cash, that is, and are a Utes fan.
502 S. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City, 801-972-9822
Friday 11:30 p.m.
Mixing With the Fixie Kids
It seems like your typical dive bar: a few regulars, a biker-looking guy and a dimly lit section next to the pool tables. The drinks are cheap—nothing too fancy here. Karaoke has just started and I’m enjoying a pint of Coors … when a pack of fixies roll up. Suddenly, the bar is filled with barely legals. It’s an interesting mix, these older regulars with a young, hip crowd, but Willie’s embraces it. And it seems to be working out for everyone—even the karaoke machine.
1716 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 760-828-7351, WilliesLounge.net
Friday 11:38 p.m.
Cheers To You ^
Nothing Compares 2 Karaoke
A white guy in a T-shirt is singing “Johnny B. Goode” like he wrote the song. His pelvis is pulverizing the air, three girls in front of him are dancing and singing along, and I wonder if my loathing of karaoke is melting. Don’t mistake the Friday-night traffic jam of college students carrying massive steins past the speakeasy-esque booths as poor bar planning; it’s just the queue to add their name to the list of singers. A twosome of women absolutely butchers “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Then, Ransom Wydner—lead singer of King Niko, the 2011 City Weekly Music Awards Band of the Year—takes the mic and sings “Nothing Compares 2 U” with the same two ladies as back-up singers. And, in this moment, I believe in the power of karaoke.
315 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-575-6400
Friday 11:45 p.m.
Modest, But Martini
Kristauf’s reputation has preceded it. That’s why my first move is to find a menu and flip to the martinis: Crisp Pear, Sex in the Morning, etc. Sipping my Konsummate Kristauf’s, I survey the space. Half of the crowd is on its feet, shuffle-bouncing to the high-energy dance music from DJ Omar Edison. Next to me, three young men are less into the music than their own conversation. One leans into the group; his shirt sleeve slides up, revealing the bottom edge of a tattoo. Kind of like Kristauf’s, I think: outwardly subdued, but with a hidden wild side.
16 W. Market St., Salt Lake City, 801-943-1696, MartiniBarSLC.com
Saturday 12:03 a.m.
Zest Kitchen & Bar
Organic Vegan Food & Dance
Zest has a vibe that feels much more like a hip house party than a bar, due to its smaller size and the friendliness of the crowd. During the day, Zest is an organic, mostly vegan restaurant, but at night, the lights are turned down and the dancing begins. Tonight, Concise Kilgore plays a mostly hip-hop-based set for Stir-Friday, a regular event at Zest where young people dressed like they just stepped out of an American Apparel ad do their thing on the tiny dance floor.
275 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-433-0589, ZestSLC.com
Saturday 7:40 p.m.
The Break Sports Grill
Strollers by the Bar
The SoDa retail section of Daybreak is a place for families taking an evening walk or playing in the park. So, it’s convenient that the area’s only full bar is also extremely family-friendly. While some of the patrons belly up to the bar and watch the games on the TVs or head to the upstairs 21-and-over-only game room, families with young children settle in for burgers and fries, both inside and on the patio. And the high ceiling makes it surprisingly easy to carry on a nonshouted conversation, even with the chatty youngsters and sometimes-even-chattier sports fans.
11274 S. Kestral Rise Road, South Jordan, 801-987-3354, TheBreakSportsGrill.com
Saturday 8:45 p.m.
Beers & Hugs in Equal Measure
The cover band is grinding out “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” as couples slow-dance in the low-ceilinged bar. In this decidedly macho bar—where Harley Davidson T-shirts complement the gleaming chrome and black-leather saddle bags in the parking lot—it’s the sight of two large, balding men hugging, mock-arm wrestling, then one kissing the other’s brutal fist that sets the tone for this affectionate, keeping-it-real beer hall.
16 E. 4800 South, Murray, 801-262-7555
Saturday 9 p.m.
History Lesson in a Glass
The sun is setting, and the temperature is perfect. Ben Lomond Mountain to the north is bathed in alpenglow, and I can see and feel it all from Ogden’s only rooftop bar. The brand-new Alleged offers an extensive menu of cocktails, each named after some Ogden luminary—outlaw, madame or ghost. 25th Street is full of history, and it comes in little doses with each drink on Alleged’s menu. Once the sun goes down, the crowd makes its way downstairs, where architectural remnants of a former brothel mix with contemporary design and the bar’s oddest feature: unisex stalls lined up with a handwashing station out in the open. You better wash up, because people are watching.
205 25th St., Ogden, 801-990-0692, Facebook.com/Alleged25th
Saturday 9:29 p.m.
Tonight’s the Night
There’s an air of optimism in the Barbary Coast. One young woman sighs to another, “Maybe I’ll meet somebody tonight.” And at the Barbary, you never can tell which direction the crowd will go in—early 20s through 50s, depending on the mood and the night. As a bartender says of Barbary’s always unpredictable clientele, “Some may be rough on the outside, but they’re all nice on the inside.” The spicy sauce on the Buffalo wings, the generous array of beers and liquor, and the friendly, attentive staff all conspire to bring the promise of the night a little closer.
4242 S. State, Murray, 801-265-9889
Saturday 9:30 p.m.
Trash-Talking About Pilots With Off-Duty Flight Attendants
Considering that this bar is surrounded by five different hotels, and it’s way out near the airport, I had no idea what to expect—or even how to pronounce the name. “So, who usually comes in here?” I ask Shayne, the bartender. “No regulars, really,” he says as he fills a stein for the only other guy at the bar. “I guess mostly tourists and people who work in the airline industry.” An off-duty flight attendant strolls in, dressed in sweatpants and a crumpled T-shirt; she orders a bottle of wine to go. “You know what, though?” Shayne asks. “This is a great place if you want to interact with a bunch of douchebag pilots.” The flight attendant laughs. “Hey, asshole, I’m a pilot,” says the only other guy in the bar. “Except for you, though, buddy,” Shayne says.
2106 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-741-1188
Saturday 9:32 p.m.
Being greeted by a Crock-Pot and a bag of hot-dog buns is an instant reminder that we aren’t rubbing elbows with the highbrow—and the folks here couldn’t be happier about that. A few scattered games, an intimately sparse patio and a ton of smiles is what Granite delivers, which proves refreshing on a night when all I want is to just chill. Tucked away behind an unlit façade, inside an unmarked door, this is a bar that wants you to want to find it—and rewards you when you make the effort.
3820 Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-277-9018
Saturday 9:33 p.m.
Murphy’s Bar & Grill ^
The Booth With the Antique Globe
I duck down the few steps into Murphy’s, narrowly missing getting trampled by a pack of plaid-wearing frat boys (sigh of relief). I head straight toward the back and grab a leather booth—the one with the antique globe. Walking later alongside the crowded bar, I pass a birthday celebration, foreign-exchange students, bar regulars and two people wearing green (it’s an Irish pub, after all)—in short, a wide cross-section of folk amicably enjoying repartee and rounds. It’s both loud and quiet. Saturdays means the charming and gorgeous twosome “Brown and Bramble” are tending bar, so I order their drink of choice: Powers Whiskey, neat.
160 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-7271, MurphysBarAndGrillUT.com
Saturday 9:35 p.m.
No Name Saloon
Where Nobody Knows Your Name
Every nook is packed, with people and with rustic accoutrements like the antler chandelier at the entrance and the merchandise booth by the restroom. It’s even more crowded upstairs. There’s a person for every piece of odd ornamentation hanging on the walls and from the ceiling. A group of 20-somethings are younger than the old Park City license plates they sit under. A gaggle of young professional women wearing tiaras fumble past vintage drink signs and up the oak-y stairs. A cluster of condo owners exchange advice about house-swapping in France on the upstairs patio. No one has a name, but everyone has a story.
447 Main, Park City, 435-649-6667, NoNameSaloon.net
Saturday 9:45 p.m.
The Red Door
The Church of Bohemia & Jazz
A small trio of musicians from the Joshua Payne Orchestra sink into another blustery jazz tune as a couple—well-dressed theater patrons—comes in through the door. The whole scene feels strangely intimate; maybe it’s the small space, the sultry colors on the walls, or the music. The couple finds two open seats at the bar, and she orders the fresh Strawberry & Basil Press, a house recipe by bartender Brother Dustin—a seasonal twist on an old classic cocktail of vodka and soda.
57 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-60-30, BehindTheRedDoor.com
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
Saturday 10:45 p.m.
The Welcoming Face of the Happy Doorman
People who work the door at bars can sometimes be guilty of surly attitude and resorting to grunting and pointing instead of being courteous. That’s why the friendly doorman at Club Rendezvous is such a nice surprise. With an enthusiastic “Hey, guys!” as we walk in, he scans our I.D.s while singing along to the karaoke going on in the back of the bar, then ushers us in like we are regulars. As someone sings ABBA’s “Mamma Mia” and I sip a whiskey sour, I feel as welcome as if I were at “my” bar in my own neighborhood.
1900 W. 4100 South, West Valley City, 801-972-4264
Saturday 10:50 p.m.
Fulcrum of Ogden’s Love of Cover Bands
Walking down 25th Street—and maybe two blocks north or south—on a Saturday night is like turning the radio dial of yesteryear. Live bands pump Sublime tunes at one bar, Motown at the next; the occasional busker sings Van Morrison. Then, I land at Brewskis, the 20-year-old 25th Street drinking establishment that has cover bands on lockdown come the weekend. Mullet Hatchet is on stage—the concert area is in one of three large rooms—and a dozen liquored-up ladies dance and sing along to a ZZ Top tune. The lead singer makes a joke about his penis; girls giggle. Blue lights illuminate a hair hurricane onstage and in front.
244 25th St., Ogden, 801-394-1713, BrewskisOnline.net
Saturday 10:55 p.m.
Where Banda Rules
¡Orale! The Caribbean Club is somewhat of a misnomer, as it’s all about Mexican banda and norteño music—live and local every Friday and Saturday night in this West Jordan strip mall. I order two Coronas. The exceptionally attractive server tells the gringo that “it’s better with lime.” You’ve gotta be más macho, so I decline the sweetener. The band, meanwhile, pumps out some serious accordion-fueled jams.
7074 S. Redwood Road, West Jordan
Saturday 11 p.m.
Taking “The Stick” Challenge
A local band is cranking out tunes, and I’m whiskey-warm at a bar that complements its cheap beers with an eclectic selection of whiskey, ranging from Pendleton’s to Jameson to 8 Seconds Canadian. The well-priced stock and friendly vibes have got me feeling good and confident, but am I confident enough to take on The Stick? The Stick is an interesting drinker’s challenge: Above the bar, a hockey stick has four shot glasses attached to it. With the right skill and timing, four friends (or adventurous strangers) can attempt a simultaneous shot. Time it just right, and you win the night; time it wrong, and someone is getting a shot down their nose. Hmm, maybe after one more drink, I’ll be ready ...
3153 W. 2100 South, West Valley City, 801-972-0506
Saturday 11:10 p.m.
The Madison/The Cowboy
Roller Derby Dance Party
The three-story, two-bar establishment is like mayonnaise and ketchup: two condiment forces that, when combined, create something distinct and achieve what neither could do alone. The fry sauce of Utah County’s club scene—and, OK, the only club here—is packed. At The Madison, located on the first floor, the dance floor is taken over by a roller-derby team thoroughly shaking ass to Top 40 hits. The floor becomes more filled by the minute; club kids are coming out of the county’s woodwork for a night of dancing. Upstairs at The Cowboy, steins clink after a man is wildly thrown from a mechanical bull. The band transitions from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Sublime, and so the night continues: up the steps, and down the steps; up the steps, and down the steps.
295 W. Center St., Provo, 801-375-9000, TheMadisonProvo.com
Saturday 11:12 p.m.
Sin City ^
Rocking Along With Emerald Something- Or-Other
As soon as I walk into Sin City, I notice an old biker couple making out by the front door. “Finally, a real fucking metal bar,” I say. The bartender tells me the band onstage is from Australia; “They’re called Emerald City,” he shouts from across the bar. Or maybe it’s Emerald Isle; I don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter. All I know is that the lead singer is doing everything right: leather pants, leather vest, big hair and power stances for days. I take a pull from a tallboy and look down, only to notice that I, too, am in a power stance. Plus, my right hand is riffing to the Rush cover blasting from the speakers. For that brief moment, the lead singer and I are brothers—two demigods rocking out in a crowded room, connected only by the power of rock.
445 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-364-4325, SinCitySLC.com
Saturday 11:17 p.m.
Any Beer You Want In the Boom Boom Room
If you’re looking for intimate and unassuming, Jam is not the bar for you. It’s a celebration of everything over the top. From the eye candy behind the bar to the music you can’t help but dance to, Boom Boom Room Dance Party on Saturday nights is just another reason Jam has been voted Utah’s Best Gay Club for five years running by City Weekly readers. Another reason? Jam’s beer-selection pledge is: “Whatever you like, we guarantee we carry it.”
751 N. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-891-1162, JamSLC.com
Saturday 11:23 p.m.
Where Scurvy Dogs Fear to Tread
Avast! There be hookahs here, and pirate imagery—but not so much that it’s hokey. Rather, the gleaming, well-stocked bar and the masterful ’80s mix from the DJ are the first things I see and hear. The outdoor deck overlooks scenic South Salt Lake (Crown Burger, ho!) and balances well against the classy wheelhouse. I lean on a plank and gaze up State Street. What’s beneath my arm? Yuck. Bird stuff. So is that. And that. It’s a veritable poop deck. Yarrr!
3040 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-604-0869
Saturday 11:25 p.m.
The Star Bar
Exposed Flesh Through the Lasers & Haze
I’ve never seen this much flesh in Utah—there’s hope! At the Bikini Bash, two dudes in neon tank tops sporting massive biceps vie for a girl wearing black floss and calling it a bikini. I can see more midriffs through the haze and lasers on the dance floor; techno music, fog machines and scantily clad women all mesh into a thumping, pulsing cloud. Where I stand, there’s an oak-y, mountain-town-esque bar and a VIP section with chalet charm where a few beach bods are lapping liquored-up snow cones. I take a watermelon-flavored one, and as I take my shirt off, wish that I had waxed my back hair.
268 Main, Park City, 435-615-7000, StarBarUtah.com
Saturday 11:30 p.m.
Johnny’s on 2nd
Polite Black Metal
It’s busy downtown, and another wave of black-clad patrons is crushing up against the bar at the back of Johnny’s. It’s almost a mosh pit—which is where I would expect to find most of these people anywhere outside of this bar. Still, everyone is polite and patiently waiting their turn. A girl steps up to order, her tattoos clearly showing though a large keyhole on the back of her flowered shirt. I could almost order for her: a tallboy and shot of Canadian Host. It’s the Saturday-night special, going for $5, and it’s going fast.
165 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-746-3334, JohnnysOnSecond.com
Saturday 11:40 p.m.
Featuring the mixing styles of DJ Erockalypze, and Tecate and a tequila shot for $5, Saturday nights at Inferno Cantina are en fuego. Did I mention there’s no cover until 10 p.m., and ladies get in free all night? That’s right, men: lots of ladies on the dance floor looking for someone to buy their tequila shots. So, throw on your V-neck or collared shirt (per Inferno’s request) and get ready to dance your pants off Saturday nights, where the dance floor is almost as caliente as the girls on it.
122 W. Pierpont Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-883-8838, InfernoSLC.com
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
Sunday 6 p.m.
Lumpy’s Bar Highland
Find Your Happy Place
Each Lumpy’s location shares the fun feature of being labyrinthine in their layouts, giving one the opportunity to find hidden places to hang out. We settle down amid the baseball-watching crowd upstairs, where there is a lounge-y feel. But other folks are tucked away in their own little areas, including the strobing dance floor in the basement, another fully functioning bar area, a pool hall and the high-ceilinged patio.
3000 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-484-5597, LumpysBar.com
Sunday 6:45 p.m.
A Bar Named Sue
Downstairs, Downing Beers
As you’d hope and expect, The Man in Black is sneering down at us. At a classic spot that’s impossibly large for a strip-mall basement, Sue’s regulars are gabbing with the bartenders and one another, as they do just about every night. There are the requisite TVs, pool tables and stage, but the preferred mode of enjoyment here always seems to be just kicking back and enjoying whatever’s on tap.
3928 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-274-5578, A-Bar-Named-Sue.com
Sunday 8 p.m.
Get a Table, Game On
There’s no need for subtlety out here in sprawling Fort Union. The Huddle is a big room with big TVs that delivers on a national-chain-type large-sports-bar scale without the stereotypical machismo that normally accompanies it. Tonight, it’s a bit more laid-back than what you’d get for a Monday Night Football crowd, but there are still plenty of smiles, and even a guy playing Golden Tee before 1 a.m. First time for everything.
2400 E. Fort Union Blvd., Cottonwood Heights, 801-438-8300, TheHuddleSportsBar.com
Sunday 9:05 p.m.
The Point After
Sports Bar Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!
The Orioles are spanking the Yankees on half of The Point After’s 30-odd TVs, but it doesn’t stop a handful of regulars from “conversating” (their words) loudly over a damned-important disagreement. A tasty plate of teriyaki steak fingers and a couple of cold Coors Lights later, there’s still no resolution to the conflict at the other end of the bar, but at least Baltimore has put New York out of its misery on the diamond.
5445 S. 900 East, Murray, 801-266-9552, PointAfterSLC.com
Sunday 9:45 p.m.
The Hog Wallow Pub
Escape to Another Realm
We stepped away from the freeway and into somewhere more befitting Frodo and Samwise. The dense foliage absorbing the sounds of the babbling creek is quite the way to enjoy a sunset. And as the temperatures drop, it’s nice to know that the log cabin is only a step away. For a storybook-like place that’s so tucked into its residential surroundings that you almost can’t help driving past it the first time, Hog has an impressively full-functioning operation. At nearly 10 p.m. on a Sunday, we still have our pick of the full menu. The hot wings are excellent, the flavor equivalent of a kick from the patio’s boar statue, were it alive.
3200 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, 801-733-5567, TheHogWallow.com
Sunday 10:06 p.m.
Frankie & Johnnie’s
Two Guys (Literally) Walk Into a Bar
Besides the bartender and his extra-friendly dog, there are exactly two patrons in Frankie & Johnnie’s tonight, and one of them is “on the job” in the name of journalism—or whatever a bar guide qualifies as. F&J’s has been open for decades, and there are few clear indicators of what kind of dive I’ve stepped into; it’s a classically static dive, from the popcorn ceiling to the Vegas-lounge carpet, as yet untainted by downtown irony-seekers hoisting tallboys to their mustaches. Keep Murray weird.
3 W. 4800 South, Murray, 801-263-0072
Sunday 10:45 p.m.
Pachanga Night Go-Go Dancers
There’s a kid in the corner whipping up a graffiti mural on a giant canvas. I have no idea what he’s trying to paint, but it sort of resembles the bikini-clad go-go dancers who are currently atop giant white columns, dropping their asses to some Pitbull track I’ve never heard. For this particular Sugar House club, Sundays are the marquee event. It’s called Pachanga Night, and it’s packed. A glance at the dance floor reveals a mixture of college kids, cross-dressers and heavily garnished blue-tinted drinks. The guy who runs this party goes by C.J. He’s frantically running around, making sure the dancers are ready to go and the DJs are playing the right kind of music. The more of these blue things I drink, the more I respect his hustle. I also respect that he does all this while wearing a metallic silver thong.
1051 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-696-0639
Sunday 12:10 a.m.
Discover “The Rest” for Yourself
I called ahead and made a reservation for what’s been rumored to be a secret bar and restaurant called The Rest, hidden in the basement of Bodega, which, on the outside, appears to be a small convenience store with an attached standing-room-only bar. There’s no way to know about what lies beneath unless you’re told about it, or just happen to notice that the hallway leading to the restrooms has a fluorescent green sign above it that reads “The Restrooms” with “rooms” slightly burnt out. I walk up to the counter and give the mustachioed guy behind the counter my name. He hands me a key and points to a locked door past the restrooms … you can find out the rest for yourself.
331 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-532-4042, Bodega331.com
Monday 12:19 a.m.
Dick N’ Dixie’s
That Couple Glued to the Jukebox
It’s 40 minutes to last call on Sunday night—technically Monday morning—and the college-age almost-couple who showed up at 9 p.m. are still going strong. They worked their way through several inventive and inexpensive Dick N’ Dixie’s cocktails, like the Bear Fucker—Bud Light, orange juice and a shot of Captain Morgan. Now they’re both drinking from the same beer as they split their time between the pool table and the electronic jukebox at the back of this laid-back neighborhood bar, requesting hip-hop jam after hip-hop jam as they giggle over some private joke. If they have class or work tomorrow, they don’t care—tonight might mark the start of something big.
479 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-521-3556