Best of Utah 2016 | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Best of Utah 2016 

Get Schooled

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Best Place to Play a Game you Thought was Only for Oldsters on Cruise Ships
A Bar Named Sue
Does anybody remember the hit '70s-'80s television program The Love Boat? You know, where hot little cruise director Julie McCoy reminding these star-crossed lovers that there will be shuffleboard on the Lido Deck that evening if they weren't gonna be, as TLB's game-show peer The Newlywed Game likes to say, "making whoopee." If memory serves, it was only the gray-hairs who actually played the game, which is like curling, hopscotch and bowling rolled into one—and is exponentially more fun with alcohol. Maybe that's why it's so fun to play at Sue. They have that. Alcohol, I mean. Plus, they play music for old-timers, which the youngsters seem to like, and the two just go well together. If only they could make whoopee; old music and games for old people, that is. (RH)
3928 S. Highland Drive, 801-274-5578, ABarNamedSue.net

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Best Boozy Deal
Johnny's on Second
The 2nd & 2nd area might have become popular because of the rise of bars and businesses, but one of the best drink deals you can get anywhere in the city belongs to Johnny's. Throughout the week you can pop in and snag a shot and a beer for a mere $4—more than enough to fuel the conversations on their sidewalk patio, play a few rounds of pool, watch the game on TV or enjoy one of their single-band shows. It's an awesome way to get out and socialize over a few drinks without busting your wallet. (GS)
165 E. 200 South, SLC, 801-746-3334 JohnnysOnSecond.com

Best Bar's Bar
The Republican
Such is the Republican's modesty that the only external sign that this 12-year-old staple of State Street exists is an Irish flag and a red door. As Irish pubs go, it's quiet, friendly, well-stocked and a tad cavernous. Come in out of the daylight after 4 p.m. when it opens and you'll stand there blinking owlishly. But what makes this bar so great is its reliability, its sense of place and purpose. There's a heart to this bar best defined by the bar itself, the largest in Salt Lake City. While there's bristle dart boards and a shuffleboard to distract and entertain, the more you go there, the more the bar draws your admiration and affection. It stretches a good two-thirds of the hall, and has hooks for jackets in front of stools. When you belly up and order a Guinness or a PBR and a shot of Jameson, it provides the undeniable pleasure of making you feel truly at home. (SD)
917 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-595-1916

Best Date That Allows You to Pretend You're in Fight Club
The Soap Factory
Not talking about the iconic parking lot brawl scene, actually. Nor a cinematic view of a demolishing cityscape, either. Not fibbing to support groups, or redundant rules, or the Pixies' credit role. In fact: Forget the entire film except for the part where Brad Pitt and Ed Norton make soap. If you want to break from the dinner-and-movie date script, try your hand at crafting a bar from, say, seaweed salt for exfoliation. The Soap Factory in the heart of Provo is stocked with options of 400 shapes, 150 essential oils and dozens of colors. Plus, the soap ingredients are all natural. Owner David Peterson says the shop is great for a date night, party or corporate retreat. (DWH)
54 W. Center St., Provo, 801-376-5799, Facebook.com/TheSoapFactoryProvo

Best Resource for Downtown Club Hoppin'
The Society
A few years ago, Josh Webber relocated to Utah from Los Angeles, full of all the usual outsider ideas about Salt Lake City being dead for nightlife. When he found that wasn't the case, he wanted to create a way to encourage even more people to discover that reality. The result is The Society, a membership card offering discounts and perks—from bypassing lines to avoiding cover charges—at locations including Area 51, Sky, The Urban Lounge and more. Suddenly, you can experience SLC nightclubs while holding VIP status in the
palm of your hand. (SR)
TheSocietyU.com

Best Bar to Get Your Booze Geek On
The Rest
Step 1: Make a reservation by phone or online. Use a false name if you're feeling particularly 007, Mr. Bond.
Step 2: Show up and give the bartender at (equally excellent) Bodega your 411.
Step 3: Glide on down to one of the most badass basement bars in the 801.
Step 4: Soak up the vibe: taxidermy, vintage vinyl spinning, crazy-ass reliquaries of the seven deadly sins peeking out of every booth.
Step 5: Order the 'bitters tasting' at the bar and prepare to get schooled—in the best possible way—on all the ins and outs of this esoteric cocktail ingredient. All flavors are handmade at The Rest and bottled under the rather mysteriously marketed brand Honest John Bitters Co.
Step 6: Lather, rinse, repeat as needed. (DD)
331 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-532-4042, Bodega331.com

Best Midvale Bullseye
Scofy's Social Club
This watering hole covers all the bases. For starters, it's a great spot to catch the game and chow down on a garlic burger. But Scofy's is also the bullseye for the High West Darts league Tuesday nights and Blind Draw tournaments on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. On weekends, there's live music, DJs, stand-up comedy nights and even Paint Nites for the creatively inclined. Choose from 16 beers on tap along with a full bar and a satisfying pub menu that includes steak dinners, appetizer samplers and the decadent fried-onion "flower." There are spacious meeting rooms, perfect for your company shindigs. And, of course, there's an expansive patio out front for when things get rowdy. It's just a classy but comfy Midvale hangout that appeals to a wide swathe of humankind. (JW)
7176 S. 900 East, Midvale, 801-938-4505

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Best Old-World Fare
Bohemian Brewery
Man cannot live on Bohemian's Old School 1842 Czech Style Pilsener alone, although we wouldn't mind trying. Luckily, Bohemian Brewery's menu is spiked with plenty of Old-World eating options, leaning toward Eastern Europe. Splendid choices include pierogies stuffed with dill-seasoned spuds and cheese, topped with caramelized onions and bacon bits, and served with a dollop of dill sour cream on the side. For Continental fare, there are robust dishes of chicken paprikash, schweinshaxe, beef stroganoff, goulash, Czech fruit dumplings and Moravian apple strudel. Na zdravi! (TS)
94 E. Fort Union Blvd., Midvale, 801-566-5474, BohemianBrewery.com

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Best Way to Make It Home Safely After Your DD Bails and Uber is on Surge
Salt Lake City Pedicabs
Pedicabs cruising around the streets of Salt Lake City aren't just for the ambience. And it shouldn't be much of a challenge to stumble from the barstool and hail a driver. Thanks to a new city ordinance, customers and pedicabs are required to negotiate a price before the trip begins, which will help both sides avoid disputes once a destination is reached. If you want the driver to drop a beat, most of the carriages are equipped with speakers. And if you're fearful your drunken ass won't be able to stay in the seat, the cabs are now required to have seat belts. (DWH)
SLCBikeTaxi.com; SaltCityCycleCab.com

Best Arthouse Add-On
21+ Balcony Screenings at Tower Theatre
It's pretty bitchin' now that our beloved arthouse cinema, Tower Theatre, is getting in on the action with special 21+ VIP balcony screenings. That means you no longer have to sneak your PBRs into the cinema. That's a good thing, because the VIP ticket gets you free delicious craft beer, and you also don't have to muffle the sweet whisper-crack of your 12-ounce frosted barley pop, lest you disturb your fellow cinephiles as they watch Nosferatu with live musical accompaniment. One qualm, however: Each successive trip to see the beer dude—in the dark, on those skinny steps, obscuring the view of others—is dicier than the last. But ultimately, it's a win. (RH)
876 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-321-0310, SaltLakeFilmSociety.org

Best Sub-Zero Suds
Copper Creek Pub & Grub
Tucked behind a Rancheritos out in West Valley City, Copper Creek has some of the best pub food you can find in the west end of town. But the true selling point to hang out is the beer, as it was tested to be 34 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the coldest beer served on tap in the city. And to keep it that way, the bar crew keeps all their steins readily frozen to ensure that the drinks they pour won't hit room temperature too soon. That's some service and dedication we can drink to. (GS)
3451 S. 5600 West, Ste. A, SLC, 801-417-0052, CopperCreekPub.com

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Best Après Cocktails in the City
Elixir Lounge
The classy Elixir Lounge is just a stone's throw from the Cottonwood canyons. Which means after you crush the mountain slopes, this is the place to meet your pals and clink your cocktail tumbler, wine glass or beer stein and swap tall tales. It's also a cozy neighborhood bar and a great place to meet for after-work drinks. The bartenders take pride in slinging all kinds of martinis and Manhattans, made with locally crafted liquors when possible. One sip of these magical concoctions will leave you with a rosy glow. Order some appetizers or a delicious Italian entrée from Trio (located next door) to make the night complete. (JW)
6405 S. 3000 East, Holladay, 888-991-8147, ElixirLoungeSLC.com

Best Dive Bar Secretly Started By a Former Mayor of Ogden
Funk 'n' Dive
Doesn't matter what decade—Ogden seems to know how to do things right. Started during the prohibition era, former mayor Ora Bundy founded the original Funk 'n' Dive as a speakeasy in the shallow basement of the city's courthouse. The courthouse has moved and the façade has changed, but the bar remains as the only five-star bar in town with cheap food, poker nights and acoustic music showcases. If you're ever feeling nostalgic for the true spirit of Utah in the face of adversity, take a trip up to Washington Boulevard and toast one of the few public officials to completely ignore a government mandate. (GS) \
550 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 801-621-3483, Facebook.com/FunknDive

Best at Raising the Bar
Whiskey Street
When we think of bar food, we're usually in the realm of pretzels, peanuts, pickled eggs and maybe Buffalo chicken wings, right? Well, that is certainly not the case at Whiskey Street, where bar snacks and appetizers are elevated to an entirely new level. Instead of reaching for a bag of Corn Nuts, how about a bowl of bourbon-bacon caramel popcorn? Rather than mixed nuts from a can, Whiskey Street dishes out curried cashews with Moroccan-spiced peanuts and pecans. Short-rib polenta poutine in the place of pretzels, anyone? And we're pretty certain you'd prefer Parmesan truffle fries over stale potato chips while you imbibe. (TS)
323 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-433-1371, WhiskeyStreet.com

Best Way to Get Drunk Playing Donkey Kong
Bricks
The resurrection of Bricks in it's original downtown location was a club phenomenon that was sorely overlooked. But that's OK, because the new incarnation brings about an entirely different vibe as Utah's only barcade. With arcade machines reminiscent of those found in Japanese bars, you can slide over for a quick drink between bands at In The Venue and catch Pac-Man fever again with your friends. Or pop in for one of their many themed Saturday nights that have included drunken lazer tag and costume parties. (GS)
579 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-359-3219, Facebook.com/BricksSLC

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Best Well-Deserved, Undeserved Reputation
Liquid Joe's
Somehow, Liquid Joe's developed a reputation for being a meat market for meatheads in backward baseball caps, cover bands and third-rate metal and white-boy funk bands with laughable names. It's kinda fair, but mostly not. Liquid Joe's is the United Nations of SLC nightlife. The meatheads and woo girls still come around, but so do bikers, B-boys, geeks, heshers and hipsters. Cover bands remain a big part of Joe's live music offerings, but it's the goodness: The Spazmatics, Metal Gods and tribute bands like Irony Man and Dirt Cheap. Joe's also books the stuff you can't always find at other venues: old-school '80s hard rock and metal bands like Kix and Grim Reaper, hip-hop like Madchild and Locksmith, cult bands like Guided by Voices and Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, and rock en español acts like Leyenda Oculta and La Calavera. All this, without going all the way downtown? I pledge allegiance. (RH)
1249 E. 3300 South, Millcreek, 801-467-5637, LiquidJoes.net

Best Woodsy-Themed Bar
Campfire Lounge
What's not to love about Campfire? Their drinks are fantastic, their food is delicious, their prices are more than reasonable and their service is great. Best of all, though, is the camping theme that ties it all together. Outdoorsy cocktails include the S'mores-tini ($7.50), Trail Mix (Chambord, Irish cream, Frangelico and heavy cream, $7) and the Trailer Park (Tito's vodka, Kool-Aid and lime, $6). Food menu items range from "hobo dinners" (your choice of meat and/or vegetables wrapped in tin foil and cooked over a campfire, $5.50-$9.50) to standard pub fare like burgers, tacos and wings. And, of course, it wouldn't be woodsy with out plenty of outdoor seating. The spacious patio has several fire pits, and it's even dog-friendly. (AH)
837 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-3325, CampfireLounge.com

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Best for Office Parties
Bourbon House
Admittedly, we might be biased since we've held several City Weekly soirées at Bourbon House. But, try it, and we think you'll be convinced that this Official Pub Partner of Real Salt Lake is an excellent spot to host your own private shindig. Whether it be an office gathering, going-away party, birthday bash or anniversary celebration, the super friendly and accommodating staff at Bourbon House will welcome you with open arms, great brews, signature drinks (the pickle-back shots are unbeatable) and nibbles like burrata, carne cruda, bourbon meatballs, flatbread pizzas and more. Oh, and they are open to the public, as well. (TS)
19 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-746-1005, BourbonHouseSLC.com

Best Hair-of-the-Dog Brunch
The Royal
Tucked behind a mall, nestled in the trees and overlooking the creek, The Royal is a roomy concert venue, but also fills the bill as a sports pub, karaoke and open-mic hot spot, and a damn decent bar and grill. This spot is sure to make your weekends memorable, and that includes offering great brunches. Serving up a bodacious menu of chicken-and-waffles, huevos rancheros burritos and Grand Marnier French toast (just to name a few offerings), the Royal's drink and wing specials are sure to help you crawl out of any hole and rejoin the living. (JW)
4760 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-590-9940, TheRoyalSLC.com

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Best Place to Cut Community College Classes
Piper Down
OK, Piper Down is a lot more than a dark corner where you can hide from your responsibilities as a student at Salt Lake Community College's South City Campus. It's a real Irish pub, their live music bookings are well-curated, there's a nice back patio, and they have poker and geek trivia weekly. Plus, they serve booze and a delightful thing called a Smothered Leprechaun. Then again, all that—and proximity—are why you want to take a respite from your studies at Piper Down, too. (RH)
1492 S. State, SLC, 801-468-1492 PiperDownPub.com

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Best Place to Get Day-Drunk
Sky
Just barely a year old, Sky is a popular three-story event space and nightclub in downtown SLC. It's hosted numerous shows this year, including City Weekly's Best of Utah Music winners show last March, and are particularly known for electronic/DJ shows, such as the regularly occurring Therapy Thursdays and Sky Saturdays. Lesser known, however, is the series of Sunday day parties—which they call Seven—co-hosted by Live Nite Events. Various touring and local DJs played on Sky's patio outside starting in April and ending just this past month, including Bakermat, Shaun Frank and Michael Calfan. The crowd's always fun and their dance moves always shameless—yes, even at 2 p.m. on a Sunday. (AH)
149 Pierpont Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-883-8714, SkySLC.com

Best Tryptophan-Induced Dance Party
Club 90
From Taco Tuesday to Jazz Wednesday to a ladies Bunco night and an unexpected weekend brunch, you gotta give a hand to Club 90 for being one of the most diversified nighttime playgrounds around. Knowing that you'll need a post-Thanksgiving escape (no amount of clapbacks will wear down your Trump-supporter uncle, who will be both on a winning and a gravy high), Club 90 hosts a Thanksgiving after-party aided by the sounds of DJ C Horse on November 25 and 26. Already dreading Christmas? Their "Naughty or Nice" burlesque night on Saturday, Dec. 17 is guaranteed to put the rose back in those cheeks and raise the temperature to 101, Mr. Heat Meiser. (EL)
9065 S. Monroe St., Sandy, 801-566-3254, Club90SLC.com

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