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
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.
BEST FOR LIVE MUSIC
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
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
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
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.
BEST NO-CLIQUES CLUB
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
BEST FORTUITOUS PHONE NUMBER
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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