The Sitzmark Club, Alta Lodge
On the south wall, a fire burns brightly. The old lodge, 68 years young, provides a creaky but warm shell. The second-floor Sitzmark is for skiers first and not big drinkers—because no one there is going to sacrifice tomorrow’s powder shots for tonight’s whiskey shots. The private club typically empties at 8 p.m., but the day’s stories—greatly enhanced by a couple of local beers—make you wonder if skiing can be better than the talking about it. And there is the history: “Buddy Werner always sat in that corner, Karl Schranz over there, after he won the Snow Cup.” And, “Andrea Mead Lawrence sat near the fire in the 1940s.” For the intellectuals: “William F. Buckley said this was his favorite bar.” “Milton Friedman took on some local businessmen on monetary theory one night.” It’s not a place to hook up or get trashed, but you will sleep great after dinner and dream of snow crystals.
Alta, Little Cottonwood Canyon, 801-322-4631, AltaLodge.com
BEST CHILL-OUT CLUB
Owning a membership to the swanky downtown Circle Lounge is like owning a license to be hip. This casual jazz/martini/sushi bar keeps things cool and laidback with chiffon curtains surrounding its low tables in the Red Room, around the circle stage where jazz bands set the feel of the night. Mosey on over to the blue-lit bar which hosts a delicious array of cocktail options like the special saketini. Or stroll over to the quieter dining area and enjoy a delicious Playboy sushi roll while lounging in the modernist white room. In the Circle Lounge, anywhere is a chill and comfortable place to relax with your cool cat friends.
328 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-531-5400
2. Junior’s Tavern
3. Area 51
BEST BAR PATIO VIEW
At the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, right in the Old Mill oaks, the Hog Wallow is a favorite for those who tread the area. Little tables are spread among the trees on the hillside patio, and with the fountain and live music in the background, it feels more like a cabin’s back yard than a bar. Something you won’t find downtown—and it’s a lovely summer stop on your way up to or down from the canyons.
3200 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Cottonwood Heights, 801-733-5567, TheHogWallow.com
BEST LOVESACK LOUNGE FOR LADIES WHO LOVE THE L WORD
Mo Diggity’s Bar & Grill
It’s a dark, quiet, nonsmoking little piece of paradise where people can indulge in their guilty pleasure. It’s the back room at Mo Diggity’s featuring just that every Sunday—a new episode of The L Word that plays in a loop all night. This, coupled with a group o’ pals and a beer or two, makes for a fun Sunday night delight. Love it.
3424 S. State, South Salt Lake, 801-832-9000, MySpace.com/Modiggitys
BEST GAY CLUB
The Trapp Door
In these latter days of multipurpose dance clubs—gay on Friday, but heaven help you Saturday through Thursday—the Trapp Door knows what it is: out, loud and proud six nights per week. (They take Mondays off.) Sooner or later, though, everybody ends up there. A variety of theme nights—such as Club Pachanga (Latino Sundays) and Sheneka Christie’s live performances just whenever—make for a beguiling mix. Plus, Miss Julie’s Tuesday-night dart tournaments are always a good opportunity to throw down, girlfriend.
615 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-533-0173, TrappDoor.com
2. The Paper Moon
BEST CLASSY NIGHT ON A PBR BUDGET
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be rich to enjoy fine food, mixed drinks, and a night at the symphony. Young professionals and bohemians who have a taste for the finer things are encouraged to join Vivace—an organization that offers discount tickets, after parties, and chance to ensure one’s fanciest clothes don’t gather dust in the back of the closet.
BEST INTIMATE CONCERTS
Magpie House Concerts
Traveling singer-songwriters have found a small-but-welcoming stage in Grant Hogarth’s Sugar House bungalow for the last seven years. While his living room comfortably accommodates about 40 acoustic-music aficionados, Hogarth’s kitchen gets crowded during intermission as the audience maneuvers for potluck nosh, BYOB and conversation with the performer. Hogarth hosts for the love of it—the $15 donation goes to the singer—and Colorado troubadour Danny Shafer performs April 12.
BEST POOL JOINT
Fats Grill & Pool
If you’re fed up with playing pool on decrepit tables from the Civil War crammed into rooms where the walls are a full 12 inches from the bumpers, then you might consider giving perennial Best of Utah winner Fats a try. The tables, which are in great condition, are actually far enough apart that you won’t have one of those awkward moments where you jab someone nearby with your cue (seriously—no one likes that). Plus, it’s smoke-free with good food and several microbrews on tap.
2182 Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-484-9467
2. Johnny’s on Second
BEST LITTLE BIT OF PARIS
Red Rock Hot Club
Every now and then, we all need to hear the music of 1930s Paris made famous by guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli. From time to time, we all crave “jazz manouche,” “gadjo swing,” “jazz hot,” “hot swing” or “gypsy jazz.” Well, even if you don’t think you do, trust us, you do. It’s what you’d love to listen to on a hot summer night, while dancing barefoot on the grass under twinkling patio lights. The Red Rock Hot Club is Utah’s own gypsy band, playing on acoustic stringed instruments—including replicas of the odd-looking guitars that Reinhardt played. Look for them at the Bayou and Caffe Niche … or whenever there’s a gypsy wind.
BEST NEW BURLESQUE TROUPE