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Home / Articles / Best Of / Best of Utah /  Best of Utah 2006 | Play: Nightlife & Daylife
Best of Utah

Best of Utah 2006 | Play: Nightlife & Daylife

By City Weekly Staff
Posted // April 6,2006 -

NIGHTLIFE

BEST PARTY CLUB
Shaggy’s Livin’ Room

Shaggy’s is dead, long live … The Hotel. New owners have taken over, and the dance club formerly known as Shaggy’s Livin’ Room will rise again under the revamped moniker and a new look when it hosts City Weekly’s Best of Utah party; the official grand (re)opening happens on Friday, April 21. They’ll have plenty to build on: In barely five years, Shaggy’s has grown from a State Street hole-in-the-wall with a funky name to a 200 South multi-floor fun palace with a soon-to-be-defunct name.
155 W. 200 South, 478-4311
2. Port O’ Call 3. Area 51

BEST DYED-IN-THE-WOOL INDIE ARTIST
Leia Bell

Despite numerous appearances in national magazines—not to mention a spot in the prestigious publication Art of Modern Rock—local legend Leia Bell never forgets her roots. The Tennessee native continues to promote Kilby Court, the all-ages venue responsible for her foray into concert-poster art. She also sticks to low prices, selling affordable masterpieces to struggling college students, rockers, artists, journalists and anyone else who wants an original Bell to commemorate that awesome Form of Rocket or Xiu Xiu show.
LeiaBell.com

BEST FOR LIVE MUSIC
The Depot

With a sound system that’s not only state-of-the-art for Utah but the entire Western United States, and more dual-level room than most local clubbers can initially grasp (even the bathrooms are larger than your neighborhood rock dive), it would have been a shock if The Gateway’s shiny new Depot didn’t take this category. Sure, it’s only been open since January and doesn’t have many shows under the belt, but the old Union Pacific train station was prepped to be a House of Blues years ago—now, we get the benefit without a sad-sack Blues Brothers reunion show every other week.
400 W. South Temple, 456-2888
2. The Listening Room
3. In the Venue

BEST FIRST DATE
Brewvies

Dinner and a movie is a fine game plan for first dates, but if you really want sparks to fly, Brewvies is the place for spontaneous combustion. The movie theater/bar takes the food and cinema concept to a whole new level, namely its supply of our favorite social lubricant: beer—and plenty of it. Getting to know someone is much easier after a couple of pale ales, a few games of pool (au gratis until 5 p.m. daily), some nachos and quality cinema, including special screenings of cult favorites like Pretty in Pink. The rest is up to you.
677 S. 200 West, 355-5500
2. The Bayou
3. Caffé Molise

BEST HEADBANGER’S BALLROOM
Club Vegas

Remember City Weekly’s Best of Utah 2003, when we declared that Club Vegas was “a hotspot waiting to happen”? Finally happened, once they decided to let Area 51 around the corner keep the dance crowd and went for the rockers. Now, with a full stage, killer sound and lights and appropriately neon-gritty atmosphere, Club Vegas hosts rockabilly, Goth/industrial and metal shows weekly, and made for a particularly raucous Showdown to SXSW finals venue this year. Throw the horns up!
445 S. 400 West, 364-8347

BEST PRISON BAR
The Cell Block

Wasn’t there an old country song that went, “Prison bars don’t serve liquor, and it’s always closin’ time in jail”? Not so with the Cell Block, a Salt Lake City club that took on an odd lockdown theme (complete with striped uniforms) and turned the former Cassady’s into a hot new midvalley nightspot raging seven nights a week with DJs, karaoke, comedy and bartenders routinely setting stuff on fire. All this, and no worries about dropping the soap.
1037 E. 3300 South, 486-3008

BEST JAZZ JOINT
Zanzibar

And don’t forget blues. One of the few (if not only) places to feature both on a nightly basis in Salt Lake City anymore, the classy Zanzibar stands as a long-running testament against those who believe there’s no local club audience for more classic live American music—and the food ain’t bad, either. Plus, it’s now located oh-so-conveniently between movies (Brewvies) and panties (Dr. John’s).
677 S. 200 West, 746-0590

BEST CD RELEASE PARTIES
SLUG’s Death by Salt II

Salt Lake Underground magazine may have slightly scaled back its Death by Salt local-band compilation this year but not the party: The two nights of music and mayhem to celebrate the release of the mag’s second comp in March were among the busiest bashes for local music in recent memory. Friday night at Egos was the craziest, a line of people out the door all night while bands, bellydancers and Salt City Derby rollergirls joyfully battled for elbowroom inside; the Saturday night all-ages show at In the Venue, while less jam-packed, was no less fun. Oh, and the double-disc Death by Salt II is hot stuff, too—if you missed the parties, go pick one up.
SLUGMag.com

BEST NO-CLIQUES CLUB
Ego’s

Most SLC music clubs have their regulars and cater to a target clientele, but State Street’s Ego’s casts the net so wide that you never know what kind of tunes or crowd will be there if you drop in blind: Could be alt-country, could be rock & roll, could be hip-hop, could be rockabilly, could be hippie jams, could be DJs, could be Goth, could be faves Poor Boys Rock crankin’ some punk karaoke, could be anything. Cliques and egos don’t matter at Ego’s.
668 S. State, 521-5255

BEST ROCK & HIP-HOP MASH-UP
The Urban Lounge

The Urban Lounge has been your local go-to for all things indie-rock for years, but what’s with all the hip-hop that’s been going off there lately? A February show by GangStarr emcee Guru reportedly made for the busiest night in the history of the Urban, and more underground-level hip-hop artists (national and local) have become regular monthly staples at the club. Who says rock and rap can’t coexist anymore?
241 S. 500 East, 746-0557

BEST POOL & PIZZA
Poolhall Junkies

Next to pool and beer, there are few more perfect combinations than pool and pizza—pool, pizza and beer, now you’re talkin.’ At Poolhall Junkies, the aroma of killer slices hangs so thick in the air you can practically chew it, and the recent addition of DJs and live music have made the room only that much cooler. Safe to say, a better time than the namesake movie … way better.
165 E. 200 South, 746-3334

BEST DJ-VERSITY
W Lounge

Alt/old-school country on Mondays, rock & roll on Tuesdays, Brit-pop on Wednesdays, underground hip-hop on Thursdays, a hot lineup of national and hometown DJs (including monthly sets from local favorites Jesse Walker and Nick James) on the weekends—a lot of diverse music to fit into such an intimate room, still one of the most stylish in town. Great music and sexy people every night? If you’re lucky enough to squeeze in.
358 S. West Temple, 359-0637

BEST CHILL-OUT CLUB
Circle Lounge

While their no-flip-flops-no-service policy might be an initial turn-off for those accustomed to laid-back, Cheers-style joints, Circle Lounge seems pretty chill once you get to know employees like bartender Sam Goodman. Dim lighting and soft cushions also lend a comfortable vibe to the private, nonsmoking lounge. So throw on a tie, order some tasty sushi and drink the night away with cocktails that taste just as good as the ones served at your usual stomping grounds.
328 S. State, 531-5400
2. Piper Down Pub
3. The Red Door

BEST SMOKE-FREE MOUNTAIN MUSIC
Spur Bar & Grill

Do these musical genres appeal to you: folk, bluegrass, rockabilly, country western, classic rock, indie rock, funk, reggae, blues, jazz, Motown, R&B, soul? If those sounds are a good fit for your ears and mood, Park City’s Spur Bar & Grill is your mountain hangout. Yes, it’s a Main Street watering hole, but it’s also casual and smoke-free, serving up Western-style vittles along with drinks and live music. Get along, little doggies.
350 1/2 Main, Park City, 435-615-1618

BEST NON-DIVE
Todd’s Bar & Grill

Todd’s is still Todd’s, even though Todd no longer owns it. And the name hasn’t been changed to The Dive. Not yet. But it still might. We hear things, but we’re not really sure. We do know that the joint has been cleaned up a bit and made more spacious without sacrificing that cozy “dive” feel, usually most evident on WTF Thursdays, a weekly event that lives up to its name, trust us—or better yet, witness it for yourself. So Todd’s is still a dive but not really. Follow?
1051 S. 300 West, 328-8650

BEST NEWS RUSE
The Vortex

KSL 5, dateline March 16: “A good time at a dance club ended in an early morning shooting. It happened at Club Vortex around 2 a.m. as the club was shutting down and everyone was leaving.” The “breaking news” report continued: “The shooting happened in the parking lot east of the Sheraton at 450 S. West Temple. Police say a large group of people had just left the Vortex club and were in that parking lot when the fight started and someone pulled a gun.” So the shooting didn’t happen at the Vortex at all, but in the parking lot next door! Guess smearing the name of a popular nightclub that will likely never advertise on KSL doesn’t mean much to Heavenly Father’s News Station, does it?
404 S. West Temple, 355-7746

BEST FRIDAY NIGHT SET RIGHT
Liquid Joe’s

The Metal Gods and the Spazmatics are entertaining Hollywood acts who pack Liquid Joe’s every Thursday and Saturday without fail, respectively. So it was understandable that the club tried to make lightning strike again on Friday nights with a live karaoke band from Las Vegas—unfortunately, that meant edging out local music on the one Liquid Joe’s weekend night still left open for it. Didn’t work out. We’re not so much glad the karaoke thing flopped (well, sorta) as we are that locals are back rightfully rockin’ the stage on Fridays once again.
1249 E. 3300 South, 467-5637

BEST HOOKAH BAR
Ouida’s

Make that best downtown Salt Lake City hookah bar. Or, “narghile cafe,” if you prefer. Barely months old, Ouida’s, located atop Main Street’s House of Kabobs & Pita, has hosted special dinner club programs featuring tango and flamenco performances, Middle Eastern food from the restaurant below and, of course, the aromatic scents of fruit-flavored tobacco and the sound of gently bubbling water as smokers partake from hookah hoses. Comfy booths seat six, which should be more than enough to share the warmth and haze. Hurry, though, before that indoor-smoking ban takes place.
Upstairs at 268 S. Main, 521-4442

BEST CHEAP DRINKS
Burt’s Tiki Lounge

Back on top for 2006! The drinks are the same, so perhaps you’re just getting cheaper. Affordable cocktails (we know most of you are just knocking back beers and whiskey shots, but play along) are, of course, a must for the proper dive, therefore …
726 S. State, 521-0572
2. Cheers to You
3. Green Street

BEST DIVE
Burt’s Tiki Lounge

Will any club ever dethrone Burt’s in local dive-hood? Ha! No matter how cliché the phrase, nobody “keeps it real” like this joint. The Tiki is your rocker bud from high school, the tattooed dude who still kicks it to punk cassettes, works on his own car/bike, drinks the cheap beer, can’t keep a woman (at least one who won’t scare the hell out of his parents), owns 60 black T-shirts and one pair of jeans—and still has more fun than you’ll ever have, you suburban sellout.
726 S. State, 521-0572
2. Cheers to You
3. The Cotton Bottom

BEST ROCK CHURCH
Avalon Theater

The crew behind the former Lo-Fi Cafe is a tenacious, never-say-die bunch: When conditions finally reached the breaking point at the Lo-Fi’s old West Temple locale, they didn’t throw in the towel and leave their hundreds of indie all-ages rock shows per year twisting in the cancellation winds—just found a bigger and better room. The venerable Avalon Theater on State Street, a longtime classy movie house and home in recent years to hypnotist and improv shows, became a rock/punk/hardcore venue (or “community church,” according to the mission statement) for the kids overnight, giving Desert Morning News senior nostalgia specialist Chris Hicks the vapors. That alone is worth a BOU plaque!
3605 S. State, TheAvalonTheater.com

BEST HAPPY VALLEY ROCK CLUB
Velour

Corey Fox is one brave mutha. The former Wrapsody and Muse Music manager actively pursues rock bands to play in Utah County, a task likely to drive any sane person crazy. It’s not easy convincing quality touring acts to play Utah, let alone Provo. Fox pulls it off and then some. His latest venture, Velour, boasts a packed calendar of mostly indie bands including SLC heroes Tolchock Trio and The Brobecks. The all-ages venue is a godsend to nearby music lovers who typically travel 30 to 40 minutes for a decent show.
135 N. University Ave, Provo VelourLive.com

BEST BEER
The Bayou

Here, at this State Street bar, the six degrees of separation converge. You may run into actor Patrick Fugit at the door and “chat.” Or notice that your co-worker’s wife’s namesake beverage “The Red Suzy” is on the menu as a specialty drink. Or find that another co-worker’s boyfriend plays in the Friday night jazz band. The sweet-potato fries are the same color as the amber ale in your glass. What we’re saying is: There be synchronicity here. And, yes, there be beer aplenty, too: An obscene selection of nearly 200 labels in bottles and draft. Porters, pilsners, stouts, ales. Many brewed in Utah and many from faraway lands. And Budweiser, too. Does beer make magic or does magic make beer? Come here and find out.
645 S. State, 961-8400
2. Squatters Pub Brewery
3. Red Rock Brewing Co.


BEST NEW SPOKEN WORD
Curtis Jensen

Form of Rocket’s tall-and-lanky sultan of scream done wrote himself a book! Curtis Jensen’s Watch Me Dig a Hole is 39 pages of well-crafted, stomach-churning poetics. Abrasive and alluring, the local musician/scribe coins a mean phrase. His words are even more compelling onstage, swathed in dim light and smoke—especially when Jensen’s act is squeezed between Guitorchestra and Vile Blue Shades.%u202F

BEST NEW CLUB
The Depot

Two readers’ awards in its first year running—yes, the Depot, located in the Union Pacific Station at The Gateway, really is that impressive. You’ve probably heard grumbling about the drink prices (believe us, we have), but with a first-class venue like this somehow manifesting right here in little old Salt Lake City, almost anything is forgivable. Even the plastic cups. Cutting to the chase: Go see avant-jazz-rock trio The Bad Plus on Thursday, April 6, and you’ll need no more convincing that the Depot really is the ultimate Utah music club.
400 W. South Temple, 456-2888
2. Lumpy’s Downtown
3. The Mynt

BEST DRINK & A SMILE
Alan Metcalf, Monk’s

While talent and kindness abound in Utah’s service industry, certain men and women go the extra mile, navigating treacherous liquor laws to support our hard-earned inebriation. However, few bartenders maintain a brilliant, consistent smile while doing so. That’s why Alan Metcalf deserves a shout out. The Monk’s owner/bartender never fails to make customers feel like regulars—even if no one knows their names.
19 E. 200 South, 350-0950

BEST STREET PERFORMER
ELI POTASH

There are several reasons to visit the Broadway Centre: Fine independent cinema, quirky employees, delicious Pie Pizzeria slices and a reception area that puts guests on display. Perhaps the most distinct factor separating this downtown theater from other megaplexes is “cello guy” Eli Potash, an omnipresent figure whose sole purpose is to entertain—and maybe get a few tips in the process. The thin man and his well-traveled cello spur rumors both tragic and hilarious. Some say he’s a billionaire who plays for kicks. Others think he’s down on his luck. One thing is certain: When he performs, the city feels a little brighter.

BEST EN FUEGO PERFORMER
Lorin Hansen

Strong dance moves are hard enough to execute without great balls of fire threatening to scorch exposed clothing, skin and hair. Lorin Hansen manages it all with flair. The University of Utah modern dance graduate turned professional fire dancer paints the night sky with flaming batons before audiences equally thrilled and terrified by a spectacle that might end in tears. Don’t worry. Hansen is one cool customer. In fact, she’s tight enough to one day merit headlining gigs in Vegas. Rumor has it she’s holding a fire-dancing workshop this spring for those who can handle the heat. Catch her at local festivals and other community events while you can.

BEST NIGHTCLUB
Club 90

Late last year, Club 90 sadly lost its longtime and popular manager when Randy Snyder passed away. He could promote anything, and he promoted Club 90 24/seven. Thankfully, the club remains in expert hands because it will have a handful to manage—gigantic buffets, raucous parties, the area’s best dance bands, the game room, the peaceful Green Room where pianist Dennis Nichols taps the ivory and the upstairs patio room which has housed everything from receptions to comedy performances to live theatre. Dining at Club 90 has always been affordable and fulfilling. This area’s most seasoned bartenders and waitresses man the thirst stations. Club 90 is also well-known as being a great place to meet singles, so just bring your high-heeled dancing shoes—they come in handy when looking over the tops of the big-hair babe brigades that venture up from Utah County.
155 W. 9000 South, Sandy, 566-3254

BEST SIGN THE WORLD IS STILL WATCHING
Salt Lake City Tattoo Convention

Three years ago, CJ Starkey took a gamble on Utah. Despite advice to the contrary, the heavily inked entrepreneur staged Salt Lake City’s first annual tattoo convention. The event, which continues to attract big-name artists from Ogden to Japan, is recognized as one of the most successful—not to mention, friendliest—conventions around. Starkey and partner Nate Drew showed the world how a conservative enclave can support and generate so-called alternative art. Relive the magic this fall when A&E’s Inked airs coverage of the 2006 convention.
SLCTattoo.com

BEST SILENT MOVIES
The Organ Loft

Return to the days before Al Jolson went and opened his big mouth at the Organ Loft, where their regular Silent Films Series has become a staple for lovers of vintage cinema. Features and shorts—from classic comedians like Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd to grand melodrama—all get the accompaniment of Blaine Gale and David Massey on the mighty Wurlitzer organ. Turn the cell phone off and pretend it’s 1925 all over again.
3331 Edison St., 485-9265

BEST WAY TO BRING ‘EM IN ON DEAD NIGHTS
Texas Hold’em

It was the hottest thing going on cable TV last year; now it’s the hottest way to lure patrons into private clubs on notoriously slow nights of the week. Texas Hold’em tournaments are popping up faster than Starbucks franchises—all for entertainment purposes only, of course—and usually on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays. Check out (just as a sample) Club 90, the Cell Block, Poolhall Junkies, Piper Down, South Shore or the Station on occasions other than the weekend for your fix of bluffs, blinds and bad beats.

BEST STRIP CLUB
Trails

Seriously: Whatever happened to the “Golden”? And why do you always roll your eyes when we tell you how good the burgers are? There are more reasons to go to Trails or Trails II than the stunningly hot dancers and unusually tasty pub food, but who needs one? If it’s good enough for A-list adult-film stars like Briana Banks and Tera Patrick (among others who’ve made Trails appearances), it’s good enough for us.
921 S. 300 West, 363-2871; 3055 S. State, 484-4846
2. Southern Xposure
3. American Bush

BEST FIRST-RUN MOVIE BARGAIN
Carmike 12 West Jordan

Yes, the cost of seeing a movie has skyrocketed in recent years, in part contributing to 2005’s plunge in tickets sold. But it’s still possible to get out to a theater without raiding the 401(k). At Carmike’s West Jordan theater, an adult can get in to a new theatrical release for just $5—a half-a-sawbuck that’s less than some local theaters charge for their “bargain” matinees. And that’s for quality stadium seating, not just a rinky-dink shoebox. See, you can even shop smart for Hollywood blockbusters.
1600 W. Fox Park Drive, West Jordan, 562-5760

BEST FOR DANCING
Area 51

Not a fan of rubbing up against sweaty strangers? Head to Area 51, where spacious dance floors ensure less uninvited bumps and grinds. The cavernous nightclub also features plenty of bathrooms so you won’t run the risk of waiting in line for 20 minutes, thereby missing your favorite hits by Psychedelic Furs or Erasure on ’80s night. So tip your friendly bartenders and don’t ever, ever hang the DJ.
451 S. 400 West, 534-0819
2. Shaggy’s Livin’ Room
3. Port O’ Call

BEST ENDANGERED BREASTS
Southern Xposure Cabaret

Before Costco and IHC broke ground, Murray City’s most notable erections were two Industrial Age smokestacks (ahem). The smokestacks came down in 2000, and since then, stucco-entombed retail has squeezed out a pawnshop, a used-car lot and a car-stereo outfitter, leaving Southern Xposure as a lonely testament to Murray’s blue-collar roots. But even now, boxed in by so much decency, the strip club refuses to be rubbed out. Of course, the city and IHC, which own the land and are nearing completion of a nearby 1.3 million square-foot medical campus, have done their utmost to boot the sexually-oriented business. But Southern Xposure intends to live out the eight years remaining on its lease—so that ogling men, for the time being, can live out their stripper-with-a-heart-of-gold fantasies.
5142 S. State, 288-1488

BEST POOL
Fat’s Grill & Pool

Sometimes it’s fun to go to a smoky dive filled with regulars who will let you on a pool table if you can guess which gang they joined last time they were in the joint. For other times, there’s Fat’s in the heart of Sugar House. Fat’s has pool, beer, pizza and good bar food, like you’d expect in any pool hall, but it’s also a clean, well-lit place with pleasant staff, friendly regulars and lots of pool tables kept in excellent condition. Nothing takes the edge off a workday like lunch with beer and a game at Fat’s.
2182 S. Highland Drive, 484-9467
2. Poolhall Junkies
3. Brewvies

BEST FORTUITOUS PHONE NUMBER
537-7827 (LDS-STAR)

You might expect Donny or Marie to pick up on the other end but, in fact, those are Walter Larrabee’s digits. Although Larrabee could probably fake a passable Marie, the self-styled “high-tech female illusionist” is better known for his Carol Channing, Shirley MacLaine and Marilyn Monroe. That’s right, Larrabee—known onstage as Walter!, with a pop!—is an excommunicated Mormon, homosexual and drag queen. If the church comes calling, though, Larrabee said he’d be willing to part with the number for the right price. In the meantime, dial LDS-STAR for your corporate events, private parties and singing telegrams.

BEST SUNDANCE VENUE
Rose Wagner Theater

Yes. You’re watching a four-hour movie in Icelandic in which nothing ever seems to happen, but—unlike the poor suckers freezing their asses off in Park City’s makeshift theaters—you’re enjoying your movie with a cold beer in the SLC. Plus you have comfortable seats and a greatly reduced chance of being slapped by Paris Hilton.
138 W. 300 South, 323-6800

BEST COZY DIVE
The Crater at the Homestead

Nestled in the Heber Valley is, of all things, the only warm-water scuba-diving spot in the continental United States. The ancient 55-foot-deep crater at the Homestead resort offers certification courses for those wanting to earn their stripes for scuba diving in open waters. Getting your scuba certification here is so popular that dive times are hard to come by on winter weekends when groups come from as far away as Denver and Las Vegas. You can’t see a damned thing below, but, with water naturally heated between 90 and 96 degrees, it’s a veritable hot tub.
700 N. Homestead Drive, Midway, 888-327-7220.

BEST AUTHENTIC KARAOKE
Wasatch Clubhouse

This isn’t for those who dream of someday being on American Idol, or those who make the rounds of karaoke nights at local clubs in hopes they’ll be discovered. This is the real thing: karaoke Japanese style. Rent a private room. Party down with your friends and sing like idiots. That plus pool and a little taste of the old country in Sugar House.
1053 E. 2100 South, 483-9277

BEST 88-KEY FUN
The Tavernacle

If by “piano bar” you’re thinking of a quiet little place where people sip martinis to the sounds of a tinkling piano, this ain’t it—but the Tavernacle is about as good a time as you can possibly have with your clothes on. Where else are you going to see a real Wyoming cowboy singing “I’m a Girl Watcher” on karaoke night? Or witness grown men throwing money at a piano player to stop playing “American Pie” during the dueling-piano show? Too much fun.
201 E. 300 South, 519-8900

BEST LOCAL BAND PHOTOGRAPHER
Ryan McCalmon

He’s been shooting local band photos for more years than most local bands tend to exist, but who’s counting? His compositions are bold, vibrant, expressive, natural, sophisticated—his images capture less a sense of energetic movement than the miracle of stillness that film-captured hummingbird wings evoke. Ryan consistently attends local and national shows every week, unassumingly taking his photos in a corner, never trying to climb the scene ladder, never asking for anything in return for his services—he just clicks away for the sheer joy and art of capturing a band on film.
Psychenaut.InsomniaNow.com/gallery

BEST PLACE TO PARTY LIKE IT’S 1949
The Murray Arts Centre

The Charleston, the cha-cha, the mambo, the fox trot, the polka … the list of time-honored dance steps one can learn at the Murray Arts Centre is as expansive as the 10,000-square-foot ballroom floor over which smartly dressed couples glide to live music. The Big Band era is alive and well at the MAC. Hey, it beats the Hot Pants era.
4868 S. State, 266-5999

BEST PUBLIC BONDAGE
Area 51 Fetish Night

Vinyl pants, corsets and club-goers tied up and suspended above the ground: just a few of the regular sights one will most likely see at Area 51’s monthly Fetish Night. On the last Saturday of the month, A-51 patrons, members of Utah’s bondage community, and various onlookers gather together for a bondage expo of sorts. Security is tight, nudity and any sort of activity that will leave a mark is prohibited, but the atmosphere is still positively titillating.
451 S. 400 West, 534-0916

BEST PLACE TO HOOK-UP (STRAIGHT)
Port O’ Call

So packed to the gills with eligible hunks and hotties is this megaclub, chances are good you’ll hook up while standing in the ever-so-L.A.-queue that trails up West Temple on a given Saturday night. The cavernous Port provides killer touring acts, DJs, a state-of-the-art sound system, dancing, dining, billiards, darts, pinball and ballgames galore. Just bring an ID and yo’ bad self.
78 W. 400 South, 521-0589
2. The Vortex
3. Green Street

BEST CLUB ADVOCATE
Bob Brown, Cheers to You

Year after year, the Utah Legislature and the DABC up the ante for private clubs in Utah. Year after year, the faint of heart throw up their hands and get out of the business. Not Bob Brown, proprietor of Cheers to You, Main Street’s smoky little paradise of cheap beer, pool tables and Friday night karaoke. Brown, as a leader of the Utah Hospitality Association, most recently galvanized industry members to speak out against a smoking ban in private clubs. His efforts gave them a three-year window before the ban kicks in. In years’ past, he’s taken on liquor laws and the very premise of a private clubs themselves. Outspoken, driven and direct, he’s a much-needed champion of Utah clubs.

BEST GAY CLUB
The Trapp Door

With a more diverse crowd than you might expect at a dance club, the Trapp Door’s probably the best place to witness re-enactments of scenes from Party Monster. It’s got well-maintained pool tables, attentive DJs and an elevated stage. You’d need a Palm Pilot to keep track of all the theme nights—with so much going on, things can get pretty random at times. But part of the fun is never knowing whether it’s going to be a drag show or Latino night. Plus, it’s got the biggest damned disco ball you ever did see—which, despite rumors to the contrary, does not contain Sheneka’s wig collection.
615 W. 100 South, 533-0173
2. Mo Diggity’s
3. The Paper Moon

BEST PLACE TO HOOK-UP (GAY)
The Trapp Door

Like all dance clubs, it’s described in Damron-type gay guides as being frequented by “a younger crowd.” While the energetic 20-somethings do like to congregate here—aww, they’re so cute when they’re little!—you’re not automatically disqualified for being over 30. In fact, for a trendy disco, there’s surprisingly little attitude on display—or at least the music’s so loud you won’t notice. On a good night, the dance floor holds more testosterone than an NFL locker room—and when the volume goes up, the shirts come off.
615 W. 100 South, 533-0173
2. The Paper Moon
3. Mo Diggity’s

BEST MARTINIS
Butcher’s Chop House & Bar

In the space formerly occupied by Lakota, this Park City eatery boasts not only great lunch and dinner, but an exquisite wine list to boot. While still an infant by Park City standards, Butcher’s is cutting it’s own reputation, notably as one of the stops on a recent visit by Food Network hottie Rachael Ray. Some may enjoy the food, sure, but there’s no shortage of excellence at the martini counter, either. Besides your standard fare of traditional martinis and cosmopolitans, also recommended among the 15 or so specialties are the Manhattan martini and the Stilleto (both with Woodford Reserve Bourbon base) as well as the Malibu Rum Rusher, with—you guessed it—Malibu Rum. Sit back and enjoy, enjoy enjoy.
751 Main, Park City, 435-647-0040

Best Friendly Bar
Duffy’s Tavern

This smallish place near Franklin Covey field is only minutes from downtown, but most people working downtown don’t make the pilgrimage. Their loss. In their place, Duffy’s regularly fills up with “locals” from all over the valley who are attracted to the friendly owner and staff, the friendly sit-down bar clientele, the friendly people in the booths and the friendly people playing pool. Duffy’s simply is not an uptight place; it’s more like the working-class bars along the tracks in Chicago, for instance, an Archie Bunker kind of place. And, wouldn’t you know it, Duffy’s sits along the Salt Lake City tracks from where railroaders made up the early clientele in previous lives of that bar which also housed an ice cream parlor in the front. Must have left some good vibes.
932 S. Main, 355-6401

BEST SUNDANCE PARTIES
Harry O’s

As Park City’s largest club venue, it’s only fitting that Harry O’s morphs into Hollywood East during the Sundance Film Festival. Hang out in front, and you’ll see a who’s who of moviedom walk by at all hours of the night. Yes, that was Paris Hilton. Trouble is, unless you know someone, watching is all you’ll do as getting inside and partaking in one of the studio or promotional shindigs can be challenging, to say the least. Year-round Harry O’s packs ’em in, but it’s during Sundance that it really shines. Next year, become somebody and party along with the A crowd.
427 Main St., Park City, 435-655-7597

BEST COOL BAR
Brewski’s

Ogden’s 25th Street is worth the drive to Ogden anytime, what with its wide mix of dining, club and entertainment options. A must stop for us anytime we’re in Ogden is Brewski’s, which is unlike any bar in Salt Lake. With its brick walls, old-beer-can collection, historic back bar and colorful signage, Brewski’s reeks of personality. You could take Brewski’s and plant it in Chicago, San Francisco or Austin, and it wouldn’t be in the least out of place. If you don’t want to try one of its “22 taps of beer along 60 feet of bar,” you can always move to the back room for a heavy dose of live music from blues to funk to country. Not just a cool club, Brewski’s has a cool Website, too, with such tidbits as this: If Salt Lake City is the Heart of Utah, then Ogden is the Liver.” ’Nuff said.
244 25th St., Ogden, 801-394-1713

BEST BAR BBQ
The Huddle

Open for just more than one year, The Huddle quickly made its mark as a premier destination stop for sports fanatics—big screens and monitors abound, and there are no obstructed views at all. Monitors over the urinals make sure you don’t miss that last-second touchdown, too. But, that’s only partly why people keep coming back—a primary reason is The Huddle food, especially the pulled pork sandwich and brisket, each deliciously seasoned. But don’t stop there, the rest of The Huddle fare stacks up equally well and matches well with the hunger pangs created by the four ski resorts just minutes away.
2400 E. Fort Union Blvd., 438-8300

BEST POKER NIGHT
Piper Down Pub

With state agents raiding bingo parlors what seems like every other week, Piper Down has gone great lengths to make sure its “Don’t mess with Texas Hold’em” tournaments bear no resemblance to real gambling. No buy-ins and no $30 burritos, but players are urged to tip their dealers. Cash and prizes are awarded to winners and losers, with total purses reaching upwards of $100. While the Tuesday night tournaments go off the hook promptly at 8 p.m., the competitive play and $2.50 steins can also be had Monday nights and Sunday afternoons. Maniacs welcome.
1492 S. State, 468-1492
2. Club 90 3. Poolhall Junkies

DAYLIFE

BEST BREAK-UP SPOT
Temple Square

Dudes, know that if your scorned dame wants to get lippy after getting the heave ho, temple security will have her gagged and hog-tied quicker than Lonnie Pursifull can desecrate a sacred garment. On the other hand, for gals wanting to trade up the drinking, cussing, cavorting numbskulls of their lives, there’s no more promising crop of upstanding men than right here at Mormon Central.
2. The Gateway
3. Port O’ Call

BEST AFTER-WORK HIKE
“The Living Room”

Not an easy hike, exactly. But once you’ve made it to the top, you’re afforded an incomparable view of the Salt Lake Valley. Make your way to the upper region of the Research Park-area near the University of Utah using Chipeta Way or any other thoroughfare. Next, park your car somewhere near Red Butte Garden or the surrounding area. Then head east using one of the Bonneville Shoreline trails. Find the trail winding around the back of the mountain that is Red Butte’s backyard, so to speak, and you’re bound to find your way to “The Living Room,” a resting spot of slab rock various hikers have arranged into furniture over the years. Sit, and gasp at the view.

BEST SHUFFLEBOARD
MacCool’s Public House

If the adjoining dartboard is occupied at this Irish-themed eatery, you can’t miss the sight of MacCool’s shuffleboard, which is a truly awesome distraction if you can’t decide on what to order. Never mind that it’s an invention of 15th-century England. Who’d have thought that watching discs glide atop silicon sand and wood for points would be so such a blast? Here’s to your evening respite, perfect with a pint of Guinness Stout and plate of potato-filled pierogies.
1400 S. Foothill Drive, 582-3111

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING
Main Street TRAX Stations

The natives are restless—at least while they’re waiting for a TRAX train. Where else can you find such diverse groups of people forced to unite for 15 minutes at time? While it helps to have a bird’s-eye view of the platform, even eye-level voyeurism yields awesome visual delights. Witness the apparent crack dealer talk up a returned missionary while middle-school students playfully push their friends in front of oncoming commuter trains; scratch your head at the women wearing Victorian-era dresses and hats made of peacock feathers.

BEST HARDCORE BIKE TRAIL
Slick Rock, Moab

Utah bikers find this unique red-rock terrain the best combination of physical biking matched with unparalleled desert scenery. This is the trail that has everything, including a 2.2-mile practice loop that’s practically a requirement for the more than 10 miles of main stretch. So check your brakes and get ready for the biking tour of a lifetime as you start on Sand Flats Road and wind your way through what’s perhaps the world’s most popular mountain bike trail. Mind you don’t run over the area’s delicate microbiotic soils, though. They’re crucial to the area’s fragile ecology.
2. Wasatch Crest
3. Pipeline, Mill Creek Canyon

BEST REASON TO LIVE IN SANDY
Sunbursts and other natural-light phenomena

The celestial light shows, best seen while driving down the mountains towards State Street, simply stagger the mind. Even a diehard atheist upon seeing the monumental pillars of light that plummet from a gap in the heavens to illuminate the valley floor might suffer a momentary twinge of belief in the existence of something on a higher plane.

BEST PLACE TO TAKE YOUR NOSE ON A DATE
Red Butte Gardens & Arboretum

Whether it’s the medicinal garden with its wonderful bouquets of strange English herbs and plants, the children’s garden or the floral walk, Red Butte is an attraction that never ceases to amaze. During winter, the snow turns many plants into forlorn yet oddly graceful creatures, and there are legions of animal tracks to follow. Spring gardening classes offered here can help turn your own little patch of earth—be it a garden or a box—into a humble imitation of Red Butte’s glories.
300 Wakara Way, 581-IRIS (4747)

BEST PLACE TO REV YOUR ENGINE
Cache Valley Cruise-In

Last summer, we traveled to a magical place called “Logan.” The town, situated near Ogden, is home to one of the largest vintage, hot-rod and classic car shows in the entire Western United States! It was a true eye-opener. Attendees salivated over, not only cool low riders and slick, ’50s-era roadsters, but also run-of-the-mill compact vehicles circa 1995. The experience inspired us to trick out our Ford Escort wagon, but we’ll still enter to win this summer’s giveaway: A red-and-white-striped ’67 Camaro. Vrrooom!!
CacheValleyCruiseIn.com

BEST POLYGAMIST SIGHTINGS
Starbucks at 700 East & 2100 South

If you live in Sandy, according to HBO’s Big Love, you only have to look out the window to see plural wives going about their business. While there may well be some truth to that, common lore has it that the one place you’re bound to see women in old-fashioned skirts is at Costco, buying in bulk. But if you want that more intimate, elbow-rubbing feeling, go to the Starbucks on 21st South, sit down at a table, and if you’re lucky, you might find yourself next to a man and one of his sister-wives deep in conversation.

BEST SLEDDING FOR HYPERCOMPETITIVE PARENTS
9400 South & 2100 East

Come a good snowfall and you’re liable to find on this split-level hill—there’s a path cutting through the middle of it—not only dozens of children crawling up and down the slope but also intense parents in flashy black ski wear fighting with their kids over whose turn it is to sled down the hill. With even snowboarding teens showing up, this is one sledding site that’s catching on fast.

BEST CLIFF JUMPING
Causey Reservoir

Lack membership to a swank country club? Need a break from the public pool? Jump on Highway 39 and head to Causey Reservoir, a swimming hole to end all swimming holes equipped with the finest cliff for extreme-sports enthusiasts. As part of the Weber Basin Project, the dam is protected under jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service, which means it’s in no danger of disappearing anytime soon. So grab your itsy-bitsy yellow-polka-dot bikini and “Get ‘r’ done!” Just don’t plan on staying the night—the Rez is for day use only.

BEST YOGA CLASSES
Sonic Yoga

Sick of yoga as a status symbol? Bliss out at Sonic Yoga, a studio whose mission is to provide a nurturing, nonintimidating environment for students who wish to achieve Zen—not increased popularity. Founded in the heart of New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, Sonic’s offshoots in Utah offer classes designed to accommodate individual needs. From community to prenatal, you’re certain to find something to further your physical, spiritual and emotional desires.
2927 E. 3300 South, 463-1549
2. Centered City Yoga 3. Soma Yoga Studio

BEST OFFBEAT SPORTS MOMENT
SLCKA vs. DKBC

You should have seen it. Maybe you did. Maybe your eyes bugged out when Denver Kickball Coalition’s brightly colored van screeched around the schoolyard corner blasting inspirational rock music as players spilled out in a cloud of smoke. Yes, it was a sight to behold. However, the spectacle proved a valuable lesson: Function always triumphs over form. Salt Lake City’s Kickball Association—a group of rag-tag artists, writers, musicians and waiters who brave wicked hangovers to kick around inflatable balls—simply outperformed their eastern neighbors. Sound like fun? Be a part of the next showdown. Practices are held every Sunday around 3 p.m. (weather permitting).
500 S. 800 East, MySpace.com/SLCKA

BEST WEEKEND ESCAPE
Moab

What’s hot, red, kinda groovy and “hippied-out,” but with a healthy dose of Mormons around the suburbs? Moab, Utah, of course. As the undisputed champion of the “Best Weekend Escape” you’d best not argue. For proof, see this issue’s other categories—“Best ATV Destination,” “Best Hardcore Bike Trail”—and just accept the fact that you should write M-O-A-B into your calendar post haste. Especially before the summer crowds descend.
2. Park City
3. Snowbird

BEST NATIONAL RECOGNITION FROM CANINE ENTHUSIASTS
DogFriendly.com Top 10 ranking for Salt Lake City

It’s time to get over that inferiority complex, Salt Lakers—the world loves this town for lots of reasons. In 2005, DogFriendly.com—an online guide for travelers with pets—added Salt Lake City to its list of Top 10 Dog-Friendliest Cities in North America. Coming at No. 6—after Seattle, but before San Diego—our fair city earned high marks for its trails and parks, particularly Liberty Park. Get ready for that influx of pup-fancying visitors any time now.

BEST OXYGEN SPA
The 02

Yes, it’s hard to get past the notion of paying for air. After all, isn’t that like paying for a bottle of water—OK, bad example. But in a valley where the air sometimes takes on an ecru tinge, this Sugar House spa spot might be just the place for an extra dose of essential gas. First-timers can take a 20-minute session, while more elaborate sessions can have you huffing away for an hour while you enjoy a massage chair. Plenty of other services are available—from pedicures to hot-stone treatments—but you’ll want to go to take that extra deep breath.
2150 S. Highland Drive, 428-3020

BEST SKIING
Alta

This is Alta? Old-time lifts replaced with super-fast quads, the venerable midmountain Watson Shelter thrown over for a deck-laden sunbathers’ dream. Utah’s most hallowed and once-unchanging resort even accepts credit cards nowadays. What’s next? Tissue dispensers in the lift line? That aside, the “improved” Alta remains the best ski resort in the country with 500 inches of annual snowfall, an Alf Engen scouted design that has stood the test of nearly seven decades and runs you can ski your whole life and still hope to ski better. And we have to admit we don’t miss the hill climb from the parking lot to the base lifts. (Actually, we didn’t just admit that.)
Little Cottonwood Canyon, 359-1078
2. Snowbird
3. Brighton

BEST SNOWBOARDING
Snowbird

The Bird is simply the best free-riding resort in Utah. It’s as if it were built for boarders, and increasingly it is, with ever-expanding terrain parks featuring tabletops, boxes and rails to challenge the beginner to the advanced boarder. The 400-foot superpipe off the Big Emma run is 50 feet wide and has walls climbing to 17 feet. But the parks aren’t what keep boarders coming to Snowbird. It’s the huge cliffs and chutes available on Mount Baldy, the treeless bowls in Little Cloud and Mineral Basin and the lake-effect powder the mountain captures year after year after year.
Little Cottonwood Canyon, 742-2222
2. Solitude
3. Brighton

BEST HIDDEN ART MURAL
Sam Weller’s Bookstore’s bookshelf on the wall

OK, so it’s not exactly hidden if you park at the ground lot in the alley behind Hotel Monaco and the bookstore, but it’s a shame more of us don’t have a view. It’s good someone thought of a wall mural that’s both pleasing on the eyes, and that serves as a polite reminder of some great books we’ve perhaps never read. Nice nod to Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow.
254 S. Main, 328-2586

BEST ONE-WAY COIN RELATIONSHIP
TRAX station ticket machines

Most TRAX riders know that platform ticket machines give change in shiny gold Sacagawea dollars. But have you ever tried to put those same dollars back into the machines to pay for a fare? Good luck. The finicky coin slots spit the dollar coins back at you like the world’s loosest slots, leading to the frustrating hard-currency equivalent of trying to feed a wrinkled dollar into a vending machine. If they’re good enough to give, they should be good enough to take.

BEST INTERSECTION
Van Winkle & 900 East

If there’s another intersection in our urban valley with stoplights and turn signals, yet with nowhere to go except forward, we don’t know where it is. What we mean is that from this Murray intersection, there’s nothing to do but drive—no gas stations, no fast food, no parking lots, no nothing except green space. The southeast corner begins the edge of a large vegetation patch in which nearly every type of animal is occasionally viewed. Across 900 East on the southwest corner is an area of tapered greenery that buffers the occupants of Lake Pine Apartments from the busy streets below. Through the northwest corner wends Big Cottonwood Creek and upon the edge of that sits the Pine Restaurant patio. But the star is the northeast corner, home to an expanse of grass, and a pond filled with geese and ducks. This might be the only place in the valley where driving can actually be viewed as a pleasure.

BEST HIKING TRAIL VIEW
Mount Olympus

Rearing up over the East Bench skyline, Mount Olympus just begs to be hiked up. The view from the summit is spectacular, which is why it’s the most popular in the valley. While it can be hiked in the winter—take plenty of water, waterproof boots, ski poles—most go for the six-hour, 6.4-mile walk during the summer months. Either way it’s challenging. The result though is worth the effort, something that the satisfied faces you’ll greet on top of the summit when you get there will confirm.
2. Mount Timpanogos
3. Bonneville Shoreline

BEST PARAGLIDER HAVEN
Cloud 9 Soaring Center

Veteran paragliders from literally the world over have noted that the wind currents at the Point of the Mountain are perfect for the sport. So it’s no surprise that a world-class facility popped up nearby to take advantage of it. Cloud 9 offers gear by the truckload, lessons for beginners and experts and factory-certified repairs. And because they serve so many long-distance travelers, they even have comfy on-site facilities when conditions aren’t prime for flying. No matter what your experience level, no one matches location with level of service like Cloud 9.
12665 S. Minuteman Drive, Draper, 576-6460

BEST INDOOR PAINTBALL PARTY
Paintball Addicts

Celebrating a birthday with guns and pizza—isn’t that the American dream? At the very least, it’s nice to be able to turn your kids (10-year-olds and older, please) loose on a massive indoor paintball field with all necessary gear provided, where they can ramble through the soft obstacles for two hours of private play. A spectator area allows parents and other older attendees to watch safely from a distance. Then enjoy the private party room for food and gift exchange.
999 W. 2610 South, 886-8899

BEST JURASSIC PARKS
Golf Courses

Just about every golf course these days is inundated by flocks—nay, swarms, herds—of geese. Fun to watch though they may be, their plentiful droppings make putting a virtual obstacle course. Most old-timers don’t remember geese in such numbers, and they also recall that either geese didn’t used to live here, or they used to migrate south for the winter. No longer, it seems, and why should they? Golf courses provide all the comfort and nourishment that any self-respecting goose might want—food, water, shelter, warmth, safety and lots of pickings from the opposite sex. Why head to Scottsdale when you don’t have to? A year-round pleasure or nuisance, depending on your NRA quotient, geese are especially visible during the winter when masses of them occupy swaths of many local courses. The best winter view of these remnant cousins of Utahraptor? Either Nibley or Mick Riley Golf Course.

BEST DOG-WALKING
Tanner Park

Located just south of Interstate 80 at the 2300 East exit, in recent years, this park has become a de facto off-leash area for dogs, but owners could still be cited. A group calling itself FIDOS got busy and changed all that effective Nov. 1, 2005. Dog owners still must leash their dogs in the parking areas and in Tanner Park until they reach the bridge. But for a one-year trial basis, dogs can be off-leash at adjoining Parley’s Historic Nature Park, also known as the “Gully” near I-80 and I-215. This makes Parley’s Historic Nature Park one of only three Salt Lake County public parks where dogs can unleash their fury.
2760 S. 2700 East, 483-5473
2. Mill Creek Canyon
3. City Creek Canyon

BEST PLACE TO RACE YOUR RADIO-CONTROLLED CAR
Intermountain R/C Raceway

You first got one as a kid, but the little kid in you never goes away entirely. When it’s no longer enough to take your radio-controlled vehicle for a spin around the yard, and the competitive juices get flowing, head out to Magna and pit your car against other enthusiasts. A 100’ x 50’ indoor off-road track and seasonal outdoor road track are available for practices, with races scheduled on Wednesday and Saturday evenings (for electric cars off-road) and Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings (for gas and electric cars on-road during the summer months).
8481 W. 2700 South, Magna, 250-8303

BEST-KEPT PARK SECRET
Miller Park

Residents of the Yalecrest neighborhood know and love this secret stretch of urban canyon turned into a park by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. They’d just as soon keep it to themselves. The park alongside Red Butte Creek features seven blocks of hiking trail, WPA stonework, fanciful bridges and stairs to nowhere.
Entrance at 1880 East and 900 South.

BEST HIKE FOR LETHARGIC HIKERS
Silver Lake

At 3/4 miles along an artificial boardwalk, Silver Lake rules if only because with little effort, you can absorb stunning mountain scenery and flora and fauna and then collapse by the waters—or marshland if the level’s dropped—and occasionally toss a line into the depths to see if you get lucky.

BEST HIKE TO SHANGRI-LA
Mossy Canyon hike, Bryce Canyon

It’s a landscape like no other with its bizarre Arthurian chess pieces made out of towering red stone. But the true pleasure of Bryce Canyon can only be experienced by hiking through it. The Mossy Canyon hike is atypical if only because it follows a manmade stream put in place by the Pioneers. It runs through a moss-walled grotto down to a waterfall and is at once both an escape from the tourist crowds on the rim looking down over the canyon and the ancient dust around you.

BEST ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
Utah Dodgeball

The first rule of dodgeball: Protect your giblets at all times. The second rule of dodgeball: Dodge the ball, of course. Utah’s foray into the sport that mortified untold numbers of uncoordinated kids in gym glass is lifting off. The Utah Dodgeball Association launched in 2004, and by 2005 one of its teams had claimed first place and $7,000 at the World Dodgeball Tournament in Las Vegas. So, if you’ve buffed up since grade school, and nothing short of revenge will do for all those rubber balls to the noggin, this is your chance to get back in the game.
347-6366, UtahDodgeball.com

BEST SHTICK FOR GOD
Community of Grace Presbyterian Church

For many Sandy residents, the sign that features weekly slogans outside this church is an oasis in an otherwise strip-mall desert. Church member Dusty Sackett has been doing it for eight years, collecting gems from the Bible Belt and the Carolinas. He describes it as his calling, and it’s hard to disagree. From “A clear conscience makes a soft pillow” to “I can think of 10 things that are carved in stone,” his verbiage, whether a simple moral or sloganeering for God, usually makes you smile.
2015 E. Newcastle Drive, 943-4043

BEST HUBBA-HUBBA HOT SPRINGS
Diamond Fork in Utah County

Take Spanish Fork Canyon about 17 miles to Rays Valley Road, and head north another 14 miles. The springs are another 2.5 miles from the trailhead, but it’s well worth the hump, according to an online diary by Monica from Salt Lake City. Monica reports the 100-degree springs make Diamond Fork “a great place to go top-free year around.” For timid first-timers, she counsels: “You can get into the pool with your top on, and then take it off once you are under the water. When you get comfortable with your breasts being exposed to the wonderful water, you will forget all your cares.” Monica, you’re a true patriot.

BEST FOURTH OF JULY BREAKFAST
Copperton

A small town founded by Kennecott for its workers, last year during Copperton’s 8 a.m. Fourth of July celebrations, a fire-engine relic gave rides round the town square, while old timers sat at the tables under the shade of the trees reminiscing about the good old days. But the real pleasure of Copperton is the town itself, the tiny, cramped houses that line the streets, a crowded bookshop on the main drag, a church on every other corner. These are the remnants of Americana, and sadly it feels like a world drifting away.

BEST BATTY ROMANTIC GETAWAY
Johnson Mill

For that romantic getaway out in the country, it’s hard to beat Johnson Mill. There’s the four-poster beds, the sweeping views of the surrounding Heber countryside, the walk around the over-size pond, and the pleasure of watching the sun go down behind the mountains. The only drawback is the occasional bat getting into your room—they supply a net to hunt the vermin down.
100 Johnson Mill Road, Midway; 888-272-0030

BEST MOTORCYCLE CRUISE
Alpine Loop

Open from late May to late October, this 20-mile drive offers views of Mount Timpanogos and other granite-topped peaks, making it a favorite recreational ride for motorcycles, not to mention cars, RVs and bicycles. Thus, the narrow road that curves through aspen and pine trees on Timpanogos Mountain can get pretty crowded. Entirely paved, the Alpine Loop follows Highway 92 up American Fork Canyon through Uinta National Forest into Provo Canyon on U.S. 189. Easy riders punctuate the trip with stops at Timpanogos Cave National Monument and Sundance Resort.
2. Emigration Canyon
3. Big Cottonwood Canyon

BEST ATV DESTINATION
Moab

There are those who love ATVs and those who hate them. If you be a hatah, best to stop reading now. You’ll likely not want to be reminded that for Utahns in search of ATV off-road fury, Moab is the center of the universe. The unique challenge and scenery of Moab’s roads and trails simply cannot be found elsewhere. There’s a slew of popular 4WD trails; there’s backcountry mining trails; there’s the nearby White Wash Sand Dunes. ATV riding is not allowed within Arches or Canyonlands National Parks, but some ATV trails allow you overlook the parks as you climb switchbacks and cross mesas of open slickrock. Moab: It’s what your ATV wants for dinner.
2. Little Sahara
3. Five Mile Pass

BEST PLACE TO LIGHT UP WITH A LATTE
MocCa Espress

Finding a place to smoke these days is near impossible. But for smokers who take to the street, Mocca Espress, run by two sisters, is a jewel in the south valley. It’s perched on a ridge that looks toward the Oquirrhs. As you sit in the sun on the terrace taking a deep drag on your smoke, you can count the church spires and try to tell them apart. Daytraders play poker on the Internet, real estate agents with their apprentices work the phone. But shut out all that money noise, light up another cancer-stick, sip on your coffee and waft away.
7978 S. 1300 East, 233-9151

BEST SERMONS
Father Dave Van Massenhove, St. Thomas More Church

Father Dave Van Massenhove’s sermons rock the aisle, no mistake. He pulls the congregation into his sermons, weaving together his passion for chocolate cake and football along with day-to-day life. His homilies are laced with a gentle, shy sensibility. But as much as the homespun content, it’s the way he stitches it together, his voice low, like he’s confiding something over dinner, that keeps you coming back for more.
3015 Creek Road, 942-5285

BEST CHEAP DATE
Picnic on Grandeur Peak

The relatively easy 2.7-mile hike to the top of Grandeur Peak on the Church Fork trail offers glimpses of Parley’s Canyon on the journey and ends with spectacular views of the Salt Lake Valley. At the top you and your honey can enjoy a picnic lunch in a clearing with the romantic view, or clamber back down and set candles out on tables at the Church Fork picnic ar
 
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