BEST ROCK & TATS ONE-STOP
Bar Deluxe/Big Deluxe Tattoo
Bar Deluxe has cemented its rep as a diverse State Street rock & roll club, regularly hosting shows ranging from the mighty Supersuckers and Hell’s Belles to comic Doug Stanhope and house burlesque babes Slippery Kittens—but, apparently, something was missing. A tattoo shop right next door? Problem solved: Sister company Big Deluxe Tattoo opened a second location on State just a block away from the original shop last year, because all rock clubs should have an adjacent ink joint. It’s just good badass business.
Bar Deluxe, 666 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-521-5255, BarDeluxe666.com; Big Deluxe Tattoo: 662 S. State, Salt Lake City; BigDeluxeTattoo.com
BEST TIME ON 25TH STREET
If Salt Lake City had something, anything, like Ogden’s 25th Street—a vibrant strip of clubs, restaurants, shops and galleries—you’d never hear a gripe about Utah’s nightlife again. Of all the attractions, the prime party spot on 25th Street is Brewskis, a 15-year-old club raging all week with live music, pool and shuffleboard, TV screens, excellent pub food, mile-long bars and enough neon to potentially shut down the northern Utah power grid. If you visit O-Town without hitting Brewskis, you’ve missed half the fun.
244 25th Street Ogden, 801-394-1713, BrewskisOnline.net
BEST LIVE SURVIVOR
When the ambitious Depot opened three years ago, it was easy to be skeptical: How in the hell is Salt Lake City going to sustain a world-class nightclub like this? The phrase “we’re not worthy” never applied better, but a few hundred shows later, it’s obvious that The Depot is committed for the long haul—maybe Salt Lake City really does deserve its own House of Blues! More of a concert hall that happens to have a couple of bars than a “nightclub,” The Depot’s bookings are as consistently high-quality as the venue itself. Yes, even ’80s metalers Queensryche seem to have taken up residence.
400 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-355-5522, DepotSLC.com
BEST LUNCH & STRIPPER COMBOS
What’s better than hitting the strip club for lunch? Actually having lunch while you’re at the strip club instead of just giving the boss a line. Duces Wild makes it simple with daily specials like “Titillating Tuesday” (beer-battered cod, $4.25), “Wet Wednesday” (beer brats and fries, $3.25), “Frisky Friday” (burrito, $4) and three others, as well as a “Seductive Sunday” all-day breakfast special (rib-eye steak, potatoes and eggs, $6) that’s too good to pass up. Oh, and the dancers are even hotter than the food.
2750 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-467-4600, DucesWildSLC.com
BEST DANCE CLUB
New dance clubs arrive with much hype and bluster every year, but the decade-old Area 51 is still the space to beat—so much for that “location, location, location” mantra. With two floors of thumping music (in drastic contrast to the rest, none of it Top 40 or hip-hop) and a solid rep for defining trends rather than following them, Area 51 proves that you don’t have to force your patrons into a beer commercial to show them a good time. The club also claims to have “the largest ’80s night in the U.S. every Thursday,” and with this many disciples of Depeche Mode on hand, who can argue?
451 S. 400 West Salt Lake City, 801-534-0819, Area51SLC.com
2. The Hotel & Elevate
3. W Lounge
BEST ROCK-SOLID ROCK
All of your favorite clubs from those hazy, just-turned-21 days? Gone. Well, all but one: Liquid Joe’s is still here, and still as packed as ever with the newly legal. Nearly as impressive as Joe’s longevity in Salt Lake City’s notoriously fluid rock-bar scene is the club’s ridiculously successful one-two Thursday/Saturday punch of The Metal Gods and The Spazmatics, the former being the envy of cover/tribute nationwide: They’ve played to capacity crowds every Thursday for 6 1/2 years, which is longer than the real hair-metal era lasted … whoa, deep.
1249 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-5637, LiquidJoes.net
BEST LIVE MUSIC CLUB
This downtown fixture is a neighborhood hangout where regulars frequently enjoy performances by local favorites and popular touring artists including past headliners Stephen Malkmus, Silver Jews, Dead Prez, RZA, Peaches, Girl Talk, Liars, The Black Angels, Jolie Holland and Zion I. On Sunday, the club hosts Time To Talk ‘Tween Tunes, a weekly acoustic night well suited for quietly catching up with friends. The drinks are cheap, the bartenders friendly and the sound man is a pro. What more do you need?
241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-746-0557, MySpace.com/TheUrbanLounge
2. The Depot
3. Club Vegas
BEST SUGAR BOWL TEAM
Lumpys & Fiddler’s Elbow
No sooner was it announced that the University of Utah would be playing in the Sugar Bowl than two of Utah’s best Ute sports bars—Lumpys on Highland Drive and Fiddler’s Elbow in Sugar House—teamed up and took their show of support on the road. Literally. The two Utah private clubs gave fans a place to party on New Orleans’ Bourbon Street by taking over Bourbon Cowboy nightclub and making it Ute central. Redone in Utah red (including Utah Sugar Bowl neon signs) with banners and beer flowing equally, Utah fans were made to feel at home at the Bourbon Cowboy—with one major exception: Nobody was asked for a club membership. No wonder everyone was in a good mood. Thanks, guys.
Lumpys, 3000 S. Highland Drive, 801-484-5597, LumpysBar.com; Fiddler’s Elbow, 1063 E. 2100 South, 801-463-9393, FiddlersElbowSLC.com
This midtown establishment has long been a favorite destination of Salt Lake City Erinophiles, but even if fiddle music isn’t your thing, you can still find a way to get your groove on in these mellow environs. Traditional pub fare, a good beer selection and full liquor service keep the crowd happy; live acts include soul, alt-country and reggae; and the occasional underground comedy troupe has even been known to take over the mic. Monday and Tuesday poker nights bring out the card sharks, while “Kerry O’Kee” idols get pitchy with it on Wednesdays and Sundays. There’s a little something for everybody—but leave the diva attitude at the door; this is a place for people who like to have fun.
1492 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-468-1492, PiperDownPub.com
2. Cheers to You
3. The Tavernacle
Capitol Theatre intermission
When you stretch your legs midway through a Utah Opera divafest or a Ballet West bunhead extravaganza, you quickly realize that the intermission is the true star of the night. In the Capitol Theatre foyer, it’s as if the great and the good of Salt Lake City have wheeled themselves out of their mansions to display their waxwork-museum fashion sense. Along with the ostentatious jewelry on display, there’s the best in dusted-off 1960s haute couture and big-bird hairstyles to boggle the mind and send you back to your seat smiling.
50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-2787
BEST OUT-OF-UTAH EXPERIENCE
It already seems too posh, glam and fab (as well as several other adjectives) to even exist east of Hollywood; as soon as the private-club law goes out the window, The Hotel and its adjacent sister club Elevate might existentially transcend Utah altogether. The four-level, five-room downtown party magnet hosts everything from international DJs to ultimate fighting nights. You can just as easily get lost in an ocean of dancers on the main floor as duck out and chill in one of the intimate lounges upstairs and down. Check out The Hotel & Elevate before it declares its own statehood.
155 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-478-4310, HotelElevate.com