BEST IRISH CAR BOMB
BEST BEER SELECTION
We were going to retire this category … but we forgot. Insert joke about having too many pints and spacing out here. With more than 240 beers—most of which are rescued from the warm prison of the State Liquor Store via several van trips per week—on the menu, there’s no beating The Bayou in quantity or quality. So instead of waxing on about the brews from Aventinus Doppelbock to Westmalle Triple Ale (and good ol’ PBR in the middle), we’ll recognize the chalkboard talents of Bayou server/artist in residence Tracy Wright; those are her colorful, impressively detailed renderings above the bar.
645 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-961-8400, UtahBayou.com
3. Red Rock Brewing Co.
BEST IN-THEATER MOVIE CRITIC
Scott Farley, Brewvies
Former poet and film projectionist Scott Farley joined Brewvies when it opened back in 1997. In the ensuing years he’s become the star attraction of that hallowed beer hall-cum-cinema-cum-greasy spoon. Farley’s honeyed tones—think Hal on 2001: A Space Odyssey with a more pronounced edge in sarcasm—bedazzle patrons as he opines on what pizza or beer to choose. Ring up Brewvies and listen to his reviews of the movies they are currently showing and his true genius emerges. His rambling monologues with their drier-than-dry wit take no prisoners when it comes to a dud flick. Much like Brewvies, Farley’s a true diamond in the rough. Why he doesn’t have his own radio show is beyond us.
677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-355-5500, Brewvies.com
BEST BOWLING ALLEY
Fat Cats Bowling
While lacking in the old-school flavor and hint of grime that “real” bowlers crave, Fat Cats Bowling is a neon-splashed fun zone for kiddies, teens and parents who haven’t memorized the 1970 King Louie Open on ESPN Classic. A plethora of arcade games and the presence of The Pizza Factory add to/detract from the 10-pin business, but this review from Grandparents.com sums it all up: “At Fat Cats, the experience includes flashing lights, disco music, fog machines and the magic of black light making everything glow.” See? Magic!
Multiple locations, FatCatsFun.com
2. Bonwood Bowl
3. Ritz Classic Lanes
BEST HUKA HOTNESS
The Huka Bar & Grill
There’s no politically correct way to say it: The Huka Bar & Grill has the hottest collection of bartenders and servers along the Wasatch. Understandably, the club isn’t shy in the least about promoting this phenomenon, which could be part of the reason that pretty much every night is like a Friday night at this Murray nightclub. And it’s not just the female employees, but … OK, it’s mostly the female employees—sorry, dudes. You might also come for the food, the music and the hookahs—but the hotness is legendary; it’s not like we’re exposing a well-kept secret here.
151 E. 6100 South, Murray, 801-281-9665, TheHukaBar.com
The Red Door
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name—and sometimes you want to hobnob with the pretty people. When the corner dive bar just isn’t cutting it, step it up with a night at the Red Door. Smoke-free, backlit and cool as ice, the stylish downtown private club is the alcohol-soaked equivalent to a tony day spa. Treat yourself to colorful, flavored concoctions like the classic Cosmopolitan, scary-blue Antifeeze and the deceptively harmless saketini. Or just stick to the potent, straight-up martini. Two olives.
57 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-6030, BehindTheRedDoor.com
2. Area 51
3. Kristauf’s Martini Bar
BEST O-TOWN ROADHOUSE
BEST CLASSY LADIES’ NIGHT
The term “ladies’ night” sometimes suggests a creepy vibe, especially when coupled with other club standards like “wet T-shirt contest!” and “$2 Brain Fuckers.” Habits, last year’s Best New Club victor, knows how to treat a woman: Martini specials, chocolate-dipped strawberries, free portrait photos and, of course, no cover. Sundays and Mondays at Habits belong to the football-and-steak-lovin’ dudes, but Tuesday (and, arguably, the rest of the week) is for the ladies.
832 E. 3900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-268-2228, ClubHabits.com
BEST DIVE BAR
BEST CLUB UPGRADE
A successful dance club doesn’t need to add live music to its weekly lineup, so it’s always a pleasant surprise when one does anyway: Sandy’s Station recently turned over its Crown Room (as in, Crown Royal whiskey) to live local rock and country acts, creating another opening in the southern valley where options for bands are slim. It may not turn out to be as big a draw with the clubbers as that lighted dance floor outside, but it’s the thought that counts.
8925 S. 255 West, Sandy, 801-255-2289, SandyStation.com
BEST TV TAKEDOWNS
Ultimate Combat Experience
Utah was ahead of the curve on something—savor it, doesn’t happen often. Mike Stidham’s Ultimate Combat Experience has been raging in the Wasatch cage for six years now, long before Mixed Martial Arts fighting entered the mainstream via Spike TV’s Ultimate Fighter. Television is the key here: A quality TV show is essential to promote a new sport, and you’d hardly recognize the slick Ultimate Combat Experience (currently airing weekends on CW 30, Park City TV and Comcast On Demand) as a local production. When the CW network parts ways with World Wrestling Entertainment this season, CW 30 may have a ready-made Friday-night replacement.
BEST REAL FUN
With a new stadium ready to fill with Utah soccer fans, it’s time to concede that Real Salt Lake is for now and likely forever ensconced in Sandy, not Salt Lake City. Now that the bad blood has boiled over—or seems to have—it’s time for the best soccer in North America to begin the rounds. And if any good of Real being based in Sandy is to come, we hope the very best of that happens at the spacious Club 90. Within spitting and walking distance of the new stadium, Club 90 is set to become home to real Real fans—well, the fun-loving Real fans. The first of only two private clubs in all of Sandy, it’s only fair that after nearly 30 years in business, Club 90 reap some benefits normally bestowed on a club and city of that size. It’s been lonely out there—well, except for the thousands who party at Club 90 week in and week out for fun, dancing, poker and now the Real deal, soccer. GOOOAAALLLL!
150 W. 9065 South, Sandy, 801-566-3254, Club90Utah.com
BEST COUNTRY STANDARD
The Westerner Club
For a Western burg in the Western United States, Salt Lake City has an odd dearth of clubs catering to both kinds of music: country & western. For 40 years, the first (and usually only) place that comes to mind when the question “Where’s a country bar around here?” comes up has been The Westerner Club on Redwood Road, a wood-paneled roadhouse that was “country before country was cool.” The bands are still live, and if you’re of the mind that “real cowboys don’t line dance,” best be prepared to back it up.
3360 S. Redwood Road, West Valley City, 801-972-5447, WesternerClub.com
BEST INDIE THEATER
Broadway Centre Cinemas
In an age of Megaplex hellholes chock-full of multicolored carpet, cheap coming-attraction posters and brooding prepubescent ticket rippers, the Broadway is a beacon of hope for discerning moviegoers. You buy your tickets outside—the way it should be—and sometimes have the privilege of a little line music played by a masterful cello player. The Broadway is small enough that you feel right at home, and the theaters aren’t so large that you feel like an ancient Roman on the upper tier of the Coliseum. Besides, the popcorn tastes a little better and the Milk Duds are a bit more flavorful when you see how hardworking and dedicated the staff is.
111 E. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-321-0310, SaltLakeFilmSociety.org
BEST DIVERSIFIED DIVE
Rock, punk, blues, rockabilly, country, hip-hop, karaoke, burlesque—you never know what kind of show you’re going to get at the Bar Deluxe, but at least the cheap PBR is a constant. The State Street club’s first year in operation has seen everything from The Supersuckers to Hell’s Belles to Copywrite to Jesse Dayton, as well as a whole mess of locals and those infamous-bordering-on-famous Slippery Kittens Burlesque revues. And yes, they’ll still let you in without a tattoo … for now.
666 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-521-5255, BarDeluxe666.com
BEST DANCE CLUB
Quick: Name the first three depressing things you normally think of when you hear the term “techno/goth club.” Cross them off the list, add awesome DJs and ample parking, and you’ve got Area 51. Feng Shui experts have cursed this vast industrial warehouse for defying every law of Euclidian geometry, but those of us who enjoy exploring the mysteries of hyperdimensional space like it just fine. Plus, the cover charge ain’t steep.
451 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-534-0819, MySpace.com/Area51Forever
2. The Hotel
3. W Lounge
BEST OGDEN CLUB
BEST FOR LATIN LOVERS
OK, time to spice up your nightlife. Sugar House’s premier Latin dance club, Karamba, is only open Friday and Saturday nights, but when it is, watch out. This gorgeous swanky place has two often packed dance floors, one for salsa and the other for reggae/hip hop. Every Saturday from 9-10 p.m., Eddie and Maria provide free salsa lessons to help you get your groove on. Caballeros are usually frisked before entering, but once through the door, a friendly wait staff will keep you well-fueled so you can “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow.”
1051 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, MySpace.com/KlubKaramba
BEST NEW PIANO JOINT
Keys on Main
Is Salt Lake City big enough for two dueling piano bars? In square footage, the new Keys on Main itself probably has the room. The club, housed in the former Canada Store space from the 2002 Olympics (and just downstairs from City Weekly), boasts 8,000 square feet of nonsmoking atmosphere, six nights a week of live music and a liquor menu like Main Street hasn’t seen in years. Good, clean fun—and TRAX-adjacent, commuters.
242 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-363-3638, KeysOnMain.com
BEST STRIP CLUB
Some glorious day, after we’ve straightened out all of our ridiculous liquor laws, a visionary political leader will take on that other blight upon our fair state: Stripper pasties. Set them free! We shall overcome! No pink, no peace! Until then, there’s Trails and Trails II, presenting dancers so beautiful and skilled that a pair of rayon morality shields mean naught. We could go on as usual—Trails has won this Best of Utah category for as long as it’s existed—about the great food and classy atmosphere, but all we really want is reform. Tit for tat, if you will.
921 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-363-2871; 3055 S. State, South Salt Lake, 801-484-4846, TrailsMensClubs.com
2. Southern Xposure
3. American Bush
BEST MISCHIEVOUS MOTIFS
Slippery Kittens Burlesque
You’d think simply having women dancing around in their underwear would be enough of a “show theme,” but the retro-tastic Slippery Kittens Burlesque troupe goes the extra mile at the Bar Deluxe with a new flavor every month: From the international “Around the World in 80 Minutes” to the musical “Taking It Off to Broadway,” they’re as historically accurate and educational as they are titillating. OK, not really—but the extra homework is appreciated. Also: Watch the Kittens going national on NBC’s America’s Got Talent.
BEST LIVE MUSIC CLUB
Less a club than an immaculate concert hall that happens to have a couple of bars, The Depot keeps winning this category (this is its third Best of Utah award in as many years in operation) through quality, not quantity: There’s not a show every night, but when there is, it’s an event. Salt Lake City may not be ready for a House of Blues-style influx of nightly touring acts, but The Depot’s strategic lineup gets more impressive all the time, with classic artists like B.B. King and Dr. John in April, and modern scores like M.I.A. and The Breeders coming in May.
400 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-456-2800, DepotSLC.com
2. Club Vegas
3. In the Venue
BEST NEW WEST-SIDE MUSIC VENUE
The Twilite Lounge, as one of the last champions of the people, is worthy of accolade for its truly democratic jukebox. Democratic because it’s completely free. And this hasn’t diminished the quality of free tunes provided either, with an eclectic mix from Tom Waits to AC/DC, the jukebox still provides great bar tunes with the only cost being you have to wait for your song to queue up … a small price to pay for jukebox tune equality wouldn’t you say?
347 S. 200 East, Salt Lake City, 801-532-9400
BEST PARK CITY CLUB
Everybody who’s anybody goes to Harry O’s. So if, as you’re reading this, you find yourself at Park City’s big dance club/live music venue on Main, then QED: You’re somebody. The rest of us may be a little intimidated at first, but once we get used to the vibe, score a prime sofa position and check out the club’s top-drawer acts like 50 Cent, Maroon 5 and Berlin, it turns out we don’t feel like nobodies at all—and that’s a feeling everybody can enjoy.
427 Main, Park City, 435-655-7579, HarryOs-PC.com
3. The Spur
BEST UTAH COUNTY WATERING HOLE
ABG’s Libation Emporium
In a college town where the social scene revolves around ice cream parlors and disco-lighted bowling, it’s good to know there’s a quality bar holding down the fort for all the sinners in town. At ABG’s, patrons are treated to a quality spirits and beers, including high-point brews like San Francisco’s Anchor Steam, and Sierra Nevada pale ale, porter and stout. In the spirit of good Utah County frugality, no drink special at ABG’s runs over $3 and most specials go for $2 tops. With pool tables, jukebox, a nice long bar and friendly staff, ABG’s is just the oasis for anybody who ever spent a little time in Provo and thought, “God, I could use a drink.”
190 West Center, Provo, 801-373-1200, ABGsBar.com
BEST HOT SPRINGS MUSIC VENUE COMBO
Mystic Hot Springs
Just a coupla’ hours south is an odd little hippie joint that is both a natural hot pot and a concert venue housed in a small building on the property. In addition to a large main pool, old claw-foot bathtubs litter the hillside, providing a more private option for mineral-infused dipping. The best part is the hidden steamy cave—but you’ll have to find that on your own! Camping is available, and you might even catch a live show.
475 E. 100 North, Monroe, 435-527-3286, MysticHotSprings.com
So what if “Magic Man” is a horrible karaoke song? You have every right to sing it loud and proud, every night of the week. But let’s strike a compromise—hook up with Entourage Entertainment and follow the procurers of jukebox heroism on its rotating residencies at area bars (just to make sure the natives don’t get too restless). Owner Sam Spendlove understands your passion. He’s devoted his working life to ensuring the quality and longevity of your rock-star dreams—no matter how horrible you are at impersonating Heart.
2. Jackson the Karaoke Dude
3. Piper Down
BEST JACK MORMON NIGHT OUT
Southern Exposure, Beck Street
While the discerning gentleman might argue that with a Utah strip-club experience, nothing goes better than cocktails and pasties, but Salt Lake City’s all-nude Southern Exposure on Beck Street gives bar-shy Jack Mormons reason to disagree. The soda’s on the house, and the dinner buffet and breakfast are complimentary—which makes sitting back and enjoying beautiful, naked, gyrating women a family affair once again. Dropping by during the weekdays is a good way to beat the crowds, like two-for one Tuesday nights (which won’t conflict with family home evening).
1737 Beck St., Salt Lake City, 801-355-1488
BEST SLICE & A SONG
Rim Rock Patio
For locals and frequent out-of-town adventurers, the Rim Rock Patio is more than just a pit stop between Salt Lake City and Capitol Reef. Located on a scenic, sprawling 120-acre ranch in Torrey, Utah, the modest-sized café offers a low-key version of its sister restaurant’s gourmet menu, with tasty pizza pies taking center stage—that is, when touring bands or local musicians aren’t stealing the spotlight. In warmer weather, performers play outside before a breathtaking red-rock back drop. Have a seat, and one of the employees will bring you a pitcher on her trademark roller skates. During the winter—when Torrey largely shuts down—featured acts set up inside for intimate gigs. Keep an eye out for future shows. If you’re lucky, singer/songwriters David Williams, Wendy Ohlwiler or one of their many contemporaries will make an appearance.
3523 E. Utah Highway 24, Torrey, 888-447-4676, TheRimRock.net
BEST APRES-SKI NOOK
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
BEST SPORTS BAR
Iggy’s Sports Grill
Iggy’s is everywhere. This summer the locally grown sports bar behemoth is scheduled to add Ogden to its seven-location lineup that includes downtown Salt Lake City, Sandy, Layton, Logan, Jordan Landing, Union Heights and St. George. People can’t get enough because the folks at Iggy’s know what people want: a game on the TV, memorabilia on the walls and a seemingly endless variety of things to drink and eat. Try coconut shrimp, hot wings, Southwest egg rolls, chicken balls, onion straws and onion rings—all on the same plate, as an appetizer. Save room for the meatloaf, teriyaki chicken, steak, pizzas and burgers. Iggy’s even does takeout.
Multiple locations, IggysSportsGrill.com
2. Lumpy’s Downtown
BEST BANK FOR YOUR BUCK
Tracy’s Pool House
We must salute those who fight for your right to rack your balls and break ‘em. To provide a place to eat a burger, sip a beer and play darts. The ‘burbs suffer from a reputation for limited nightlife. But this somewhat new pool hall in a Midvale strip mall shows promise. It’s casual and welcoming, allowing you to rent tables by the hour and order pitchers of beer. You can even bring the kids! Perfect for a family “away from home” evening.
48 W. 7200 South, Midvale, 801-562-0104
BEST PLACE TO HOOK-UP (STRAIGHT)
Port O’ Call
Nowhere else in Utah do you have quite the same effect of a 32,000-square-foot club combining dance floors, bands, pool tables and arcade games into a one-stop shoppin’ meat market. As far as hook-up environments go, nowhere else combines the pub, club and all-of-the-above nightlife scene under one roof. If dancing is your thing, the massive club floor with mezzanine overlook is the spot for you. But if you want to try something quieter, you can always step out onto the patio for a breath of fresh air. If your style is “teaching” the ladies how to play pool, the downstairs game room is ideal … and if you wind up just playing with yourself, there are still eight pool tables, arcade games, foosball and dozens of TV screens. Whether you have any luck with the ladies or fellas or not, it’s easy to take advantage of the club’s three main bars for carousin’ and commiseratin’.
78 W. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-521-0589, PortOCall.com
2. Area 51
3. Green Street
BEST SHOW ON WHEELS
BEST PLACE TO HOOK-UP (GAY)
The Trapp Door
The Trapp Door, Utah’s premier gay dance hotspot, puts the “gay” in the Gateway district. This all-lifestyles private club sports a spacious dance floor and friendly bar service but also has a packed calendar of performing acts, concerts and drag shows. Trapp Door keeps the beat, six nights a week, with spin maestro DJ/ DC filling the house for the ever popular Thursday night Evolution. Or check out the Sunday night Pachanga, arguably Utah’s hottest Latin dance night.
615 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-533-0173, TrappDoor.com
2. Club Sound
3. Mo Diggity’s
BEST NEW CLUB