Sure, many touring bands say something like, "[Fill in the blank city] is our favorite place to play." But, we like to think they actually mean it here. With its beautiful mountain backdrop and abundance of clubs, Salt Lake City is a little oasis for bands touring the West. On top of that, the local music scene is burgeoning with renewed support from these clubs—so much so that there's hardly a free night on the calendar for many a music lover.
This Murray space has a little something for everyone, blending dance-oriented nights hosted by some of the valley's best DJs with live music ranging from raging rock to old-school hip-hop.
74 E. 4800 South, Murray, 801-266-1885, 5MonkeysBar.com
The space has changed names many times through the years, but the vibe remains the same: neighborhood bar meets music club. Depending on what night you pop in, you can find reggae bands, psychobilly trios or touring favorites like Mike Watt or the Supersuckers. A heavy dose of local talent assures a regular rotation of Salt Lake City music lovers.
666 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-532-2914, BarDeluxeSLC.com
Burt's Tiki Lounge
A Salt Lake City institution with the best wall art of fliers, graffiti and assorted flotsam to peruse over the course of a night, Burt's hosts a nonstop array of touring and local bands leaning heavily on punk, rockabilly and blues.
726 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-521-0572
The space for 1,200 is one of the best live-music spots around, thanks to great sound, multiple bars and bathrooms that could hold the entire populace of smaller clubs. On any given night, you might find country stars like Dwight Yoakam, hip-hop heroes like Snoop Dogg or rocking artists ranging from young (My Morning Jacket, Michael Franti) to old (Lindsay Buckingham, B.B. King).
400 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-355-5522, DepotSLC.com
In The Venue/Club Sound
A mix of live-music venue and dance club, this space boasts an impressive flow of artists coming to grace its two stages, including the likes of Band of Horses, Atmosphere and Janelle Monae. Concerts regularly end early so the place can convert into one of Salt Lake City's most active dance spots, complete with cages.
219 S. 600 West, Salt Lake City, 801-359-3219, InTheVenueSLC.com
A dedicated fan base, savvy management and a never-ending supply of young artists willing to play the garage-turned-venue has helped this all-ages venue outlast similar operations in far larger cities. The place continues to thrive and now has a record label, Kilby Records, to go with it. Early show times mean the kids can be home by 10, as can the fans with early-morning classes or jobs.
741 S. Kilby Court (330 West), Salt Lake City, 801-364-3538, KilbyCourt.com
This long-running mid-valley club might not look like a music club from the outside; its round exterior hints at its former life as a sports bar. Thankfully, a heavy dose of local bands on Wednesdays and Fridays and massively popular tribute bands that play every Thursday and Saturday keep music at the forefront.
1249 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-5637, LiquidJoes.net
The State Room
This 300-seat venue in a former children's theater offers arguably the best sound of any music joint in town—all the better to hear the jazz, blues, rock and jam-band favorites that stop by on a regular basis. The State Room has hosted the diverse likes of John Hiatt, OK Go and Heartless Bastards, and the drink prices won't make you cringe, unlike far too many clubs.
638 S. State, Salt Lake City, 800-501-2885, TheStateRoomSLC.com
The Urban Lounge
This hipster haven hosts live music virtually every night of the week, from touring big names to local showcases. Whatever your taste—psychedelic rock, hip-hop, acoustic folk and everything in between—you can find it at The Urban Lounge. Just be ready for a late night out; with a restaurant next door, opening acts never start before 9 p.m.
241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-746-0557, TheUrbanLoungeSLC.com
The patio out back is one of the best in town, and an eclectic mix of local bands and touring acts and some of the city's best street-taco vendors just steps away all make this spot a must-stop.
60 E. 800 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0805, TheWoodshedSLC.com
For some Salt Lakers, donning high-performance outerwear is their version of "dressy" (there's a reason people call Patagonia "PataGucci" here). It doesn't have to be so. The city's swankier establishments invite you to deck out to the nines. With live jazz, oak walls, candlelight and more, these classy joints will give you reason to revel in high fashion.
This bar inside the Hotel Monaco is officially called The Vault, but nobody calls it that; Bambara bar will suffice, and the joint's skilled bartenders make a stop before dinner at the Bambara restaurant or a show at the Capitol Theatre a must.
202 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-363-5454, Bambara-SLC.com
The Circle Lounge
Catering to a young, sophisticated crowd, Circle Lounge features an in-house sushi bar, tasty cocktails and a blend of jazz and house music that keeps the place humming and the dance floor full into the early hours.
328 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-531-5400, MyCircleLounge.com
A swanky midtown bar with sunken dance floor featuring DJ Scotty B's wizardry on sound, light and video. Habits' multiple bars, open space and inviting patio create a VIP atmosphere for special occasions. Lunch and dinner menus include daily specials, appetizers, sushi and steaks. For old-fashioned fun, there's Texas Hold 'Em on Mondays and karaoke on Thursday.
832 E. 3900 South, Murray, 801-268-2228, ClubHabits.com
Kristauf's Martini Bar
Find a fine martini waiting for you either right after work or late in the evening, when DJs fill the room with trance and house music. The proximity to one of Salt Lake City's best Japanese restaurants—Takashi, right next door—is a bonus.
16 W. Market St. (340 South), Salt Lake City, 801-366-9490; 6405 S. 3000 East, Holladay, 801-943-1696, MartiniBarSLC.com
Market Street Oyster Bar
The Oyster Bar fills up for happy hour nightly and gets hopping before most major events downtown, from Jazz games to concerts.
54 W. Market St. (340 South), Salt Lake City, 801-531-6044, MarketStreetOysterBar.com
The Red Door
A large menu of fine scotch and a number of specialty martinis (try the Mescal-ini) make this a fine spot for hipsters and suits alike. There's also a giant Che painted on the wall, chill tunes that let you hear your conversation and a creepy stuffed monkey overlooking the action from his post in the corner.
57 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-6030, BehindTheRedDoor.com