Best of Utah 2007 | Nightlife | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City

Best of Utah 2007 | Nightlife 

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Huka Bar & Grill
While most private clubs tighten up and prepare to go smoke-free, Huka Bar & Grill throws caution to the wind and packs another ornate pipe with Shisha fruit paste tobacco. Customers choose from one of 50 flavors, including coconut and grape, then sit back and indulge in a pastime that, by today’s standards, seems downright deviant. Don’t want a puff? Pass it to the left and grab a slice of pizza, pita or numerous other pub-fare options. Top it off with live music by local blues, folk, reggae and acoustic rock bands. Let the good times roll. 151 E. 6100 South, 281-4852,
2. The Red Door
3. Circle Lounge

BEST NEW CLUB Readers’ Choice
All dressed up and the only place to go is packed with college kids gone wild? Head to Habits, a classy private club for men and women who know what they want and aren’t afraid to pursue the finer things in life. With a spacious dance floor, Utah’s largest music video catalogue, full bar, upscale restaurant and outdoor patio, Habits is a great place to get down or chill out. Ladies, stop in on Tuesday night for the state’s only nonsmoking male revue. 832 E. 3900 South, 268-2228,
2. The Hotel/Elevate
3. The Huka Bar & Grill

BEST COCKTAILS Readers’ Choice
The Red Door
Someday soon, we’ll have enough cosmopolitan clubs and restaurants that make you feel like you’ve “stepped out of Utah” to retire the term—until then, however, The Red Door still most defines it. The cocktails are works of art, and priced as such; one our favorites is the “Antifreeze,” a blue-green vodka concoction with a hint of dark humor about it (Big Love reference there—we’re still in Utah). They also have beer and wine … if you’re into such pedestrian fare. 57 W. 200 South, 363-6030,
2. Port O’ Call
3. The Mynt

Bar Deluxe
Back in the day, there was The Annex. Then Club Six, The Green Guinea, Ichabob’s—none really left a mark on 666 S. State. Shaggy’s Livin’ Room (with the modified and less Satan-y 668 address) finally made a success of the place before moving downtown, and Ego’s enjoyed a storied run as an excellent live music venue before shutting down last year. Then came another Shaggy’s, which opened and closed before anyone could even dispute the name. As of last month, Bar Deluxe is the latest resident, and we’re happy to report that the owners (Big Deluxe Tattoo and Slippery Kittens Burlesque people—a good sign already) plan on restoring the joint to its rock & roll glory. Good luck to ’em—but will the address be evil again? 666 or 668 S. State, 521-5255

Bonwood Bowl
Ten frames after 10 p.m.? Throw in 10 beers (per team, of course) and it’s a date. Bonwood Bowl’s balance of retro cache (the place feels like stepping into ESPN Classic circa 1977) and modern convenience (digital scorekeepers that actually work, what a concept), not to mention cheap rates and in-house Chinese food (not exactly a bowling staple but still good stuff), make for a fun alternative to another night at the club. Bonus: Sunday mornings and afternoons are even more inexpensive, should you need to strike off that hangover. 2500 S. Main, 487-7758,

The Republican
Plenty of local clubs claim varying degrees of Irish cred, but only The Republican thinks Irish Republican Army (hence the club’s name, if you were wrongly thinking elephants and GOP) paraphernalia lining the walls makes for better décor than green Budweiser clovers. Other than the sprawling 70-foot bar and a shuffleboard table, that’s as fancy as The Republican gets—no distractions from the drinkin’ at hand, and it doesn’t get more Irish than that. 917 S. State, 595-1916

The Wine Cellar
While Ogden’s Wine Cellar is a below-street-level club with an extensive wine selection, the name doesn’t let on that some of the hottest local jazz and blues artists (as well as the occasional touring act) wail in the elegant room. From Ogden mainstays like Joe McQueen and the Legendary Porch Pounders to SLC heavy hitters like the Kenji Aihara Trio and Blues on First, the stained glass and stone walls swing several nights a week. Take a trip. 2550 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 801-399-3600,

BEST DIVE Readers’ Choice
Burt’s Tiki Lounge
It ain’t glamorous, but it’s home. Sure, you could act like a poser if you wanted to, but what would be the point? Just get down, get funky, get drunk and get out—the reason those friendly faces look so familiar is because you’re seeing double. Nettie, of course, is a Salt Lake City institution, but even on a slow night, you could entertain yourself by mounting an archeological dig through the accumulated layers of wall- and ceiling-mounted souvenirs—a jar of Buddy Holly brand hair grease? Cool! 726 S. State, 521-0572
2. X-Wife’s Place
3. Twilight Lounge

Lumpy’s Downtown
Is there such a thing as too many TVs? Lumpy’s Downtown doesn’t think so, since there’s pretty much a screen everywhere you turn—even the booths have their own flatscreens you can tune to whatever you want—which comes in handy if you consider America’s Next Top Model can’t-miss sports programming (don’t judge, curling fans). The club is large enough to still accommodate folks who just want to dance and karaoke-butcher the hits, but when it comes to catching every game everywhere at every angle, this place is tough to beat. 145 W. Pierpont, 938-3070,

Johnny’s on Second
Poolhall Junkies was fun, even if it did come with the smell of that Christopher Walken flick. Even better is the rechristened Johnny’s on Second. If you can manage to be bored here any night of the week with five pool tables, seven TVs, one shuffleboard, two poker nights, five music nights and over 30 beers, you might have to face the possibility that you’re just a boring person. Have a killer Johnny’s pizza; it’ll cheer you up. 165 E. 200 South, 746-3334,

Junior’s Tavern
The old Junior’s on 500 South in Salt Lake City was something of a cultural landmark, a neighborhood bar everyone knows or at least knows of. So when the original closed and moved downtown last year, the obvious question was: Can a neighborhood bar retain its charm in a new (and decidedly more metro-sterile) neighborhood? After many, many, many an after-work drink in the new joint, City Weekly staffers will tell you “Oh, hell, yeah.” The old pinball machine’s back, as is the eclectic crowd, and the nonsmoking thing is a definite plus, too … well, for some of us. 30 E. 300 South, 322-0318

BEST FOR DANCING Readers’ Choice
Area 51
Once upon a time, Area 51 was known solely for its goth, black-eyeliner-wearing crowd. And while it still holds on to its dark roots, Area 51 has proven itself a magnet for all music and social types. The large, two-story club with two spacious dance floors gives ample room to dance to Tina Turner on ’80s nights (Tuesdays and Thursday), sing karaoke on Wednesdays and dance to techno and industrial music on the weekends. The club also has pool tables and dart boards in the 21-plus section, as well as an outdoor patio to cool off and mingle. 451 S. 400 West, 534-0819,
2. Port O’ Call
3. The Hotel/Elevate

Slippery Kittens
There ain’t nothin’ wrong with a little bump and grind—especially when it’s produced in an artful manner. Case in point: Slippery Kittens, a burlesque troupe tracing the stiletto steps of classic pin-up beauties Bettie Page and Veronica Lake, all curves and no nonsense. Founded by workaholic model/business owner/licensed permanent makeup technician Lorrie Ann Dohoney, the Kittens shake what their mamas gave them in retro garb which they promptly disrobe in choreographed fashion. They make the tease look easy. It’s not.

Jordan Pines Campground
Under the star-filled sky, surrounded by pines, distant pipe wailing can stir the blood like no other sound. Thoughts of Culloden, of Bonnie Prince Charlie and William Wallace rise with the melancholic-tinged tunes the lone piper gives breath to. In the case of a piper heard one weekend evening last September practicing his (or her) bagpipes, the chosen location may have had more to do with sparing neighbors or friends’ ears than anything else. But, for nearby campers, it was hard to shake the sense of kilted ghosts stirring in the darkness. Big Cottonwood Canyon, 877-444-6777

The Depot
It’s no surprise The Depot took the gold two years running. Its convenient downtown location (across the street from TRAX), massive quarters (1,200 capacity) and pristine sound system are appealing to both music lovers and big-name touring bands, including The Fall, Ray Davies, Queensryche and hip-hop collective Wu-Tang Clan, who extended the illusion of performing in a big-city concert hall by lighting splifs and inviting ladies onstage for a little bump-and-grind. Check out Ice Cube on April 13, or the Prism dance party every other Friday night to see what all of the fuss is about. 400 W. South Temple, 456-8999,
2. Urban Lounge
3. In the Venue

Movies 9 & Olympus Burger
How can you go wrong with a $1.50 movie just around the corner from an Olympus Burger drive-in? OK, so the second-run cinema can lack a little in the presentation department, what with the sticky floors and the film that starts without sound. But, exiting the flick, you’ve got a few yards away one of the city’s best burger drive-ins at your disposal. Pop the suggestion of a moonlit walk in the canyon to digest and who knows what pleasures await—as long as you both ate onions. Movies 9: 9539 S. 700 East, 571-0968; Olympus Burger: 9400 S. 826 East, 572-7995

When Chicago’s The Autumn Defense first learned their tour included a stop in Provo, red flags shot up. Friends and colleagues relayed popular rumors about the conservative burg likely referencing Footloose and the evils of rock. These skeptics obviously never met Corey Fox, the man, myth and legend behind Utah County’s premiere all-ages music venue, Velour. It took about a year for the savvy entrepreneur to turn his business into not only a routine stomping ground for local alt-country/acoustic/folk acts but increasingly popular club for national bands including Starlight Mints and Rocky Votolato. Oh, and The Autumn Defense show went off like gangbusters. Here’s to faith in the unknown. 135 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-818-2263,

Tower Theatre Open-Mic Night
Why just go to the movies when you can write, direct, produce and maybe even star in your own epic short film? Salt Lake Film Society answered the call of aspiring Martin Scorseses (or even wannabe Brett Ratners) with its monthly open-mic night, projecting local filmmakers works-in-progress or completed masterpieces on the big screen. Besides ego-stroking, the event serves as cheap, satisfying entertainment for cinephiles—or anyone who’s just so over amateur poetry nights. 876 E. 900 South, 321-0310,

Black Market Babies
Salt Lake City’s newest burlesque troupe seems more inspired by Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Little Orphan Annie than the traditional Slippery Kittens. Salt Lake City’s downtown performance artists make no bones about their passion for Tom Waits, using the legendary musician’s gruff poetics as background sound for strutting, tapping, stripping and shimmying with gorgeous neo-bohemian grace. Don’t miss another chance to experience them live.

BEST POOL JOINT Readers’ Choice
Fats Grill & Pool
It’s the little things that make life worth living, like all-you-can shoot pool for the price of a juicy burger at Fat’s Grill & Pool. Bright, spacious and smoke-free, the Sugar House establishment is much more inviting than a noisy, crowded bar, cold basement or friend’s garage. Get back to basics and rack ‘em right. 2182 S. Highland Drive, 484-9467
2. Johnny’s on Second
3. Port O’ Call

Murphy’s Bar & Grill
By definition, leprechauns are small male elves, cobblers by trade, usually bald and usually drunk on homebrew. They vanish the second you take your eyes off them. They guard pots of gold and avoid human treachery as much as possible. If caught, they’ll bribe you with great wealth in exchange for their freedom. But beware of gold coins they offer, for the coins crumble into ashes once they’re free. This advice should prepare you for your leprechaun encounters at Murphy’s, where you will spot many of these little beings. Not all are male, by the way. And not all are cobblers, either: They’re barbers, dentists, doctors, bakers and photographers, among others. Go ahead and ask the kindly wait staff at Murphy’s about the leprechauns. It’ll be worth the trip. 160 S. Main, 359-7271,

Piper Down Poker
The Piper Down hosts several Texas Hold ’Em tournaments throughout the week, but Tuesday nights are when the dead man’s hand comes alive. In other words, it’s aces and eights and the place is packed. On any given Tuesday, nearly 100 people play Texas Hold ’Em (for free). And, if you can make your way past the fishes and the sharks, you’ll find your way to the final table with Dankers dealing, Kyle in the kitchen and a bevy of beauties keeping your beer mug full. Games start at 8, but if you’re not there by 7, then you’re out of luck. 1492 S. State, 468-1492,

Ogden’s historic 25th Street strip has undergone a renaissance of late, as all the Ogdenites go, but the most reliable night out for a good time still remains the street’s stalwart, Brewskis. The name still sounds frat-ish in tone, but this is the one private club in Ogden that has something for everyone, and a good time for all, with live music on the weekends, and hearty pub food to adorn a plethora of televisions so you can see the game and check in with friends. Long may those John Wayne cardboard cutouts stand, and long may Brewskis reign. 244 25th St., Ogden, 801-394-1713,

Studio 600
A country/salsa/hip-hop dance club that caters to Utah’s underage and straight-laced youth. This recently opened 18-years-and-up club offers karaoke, dancing, pool and foosball five nights a week with no smoking or drinking allowed. What are the benefits? You get to listen to people who can actually sing, dance without being groped or spilled on, and head home without smelling like an ashtray. 26 E. 600 South,

Port O’ Call
People have been getting down at this corner club since the Berlin Wall fell to its knees in 1989. If you want to hook-up on the dance floor, over pub fare or at one of three bars, there’s a place for you at this establishment. And if that’s not good enough, there are pool tables downstairs and a veranda on the second floor, if it’s a particularly sticky night. 400 S. West Temple, 521-0589,
2. The Hotel/Elevate
3. Green Street

Club 90
Actually, this Sandy monster of a private club could house any number of parties at the same time at various locations. And, naturally Club 90 does frequently serve up several parties at one time—a wedding group here, an anniversary party there, a golf or bowling banquet everywhere and so on. But the real color of Club 90 comes through when it hosts its own shindig, be it a car show gathering, an Elvis party or a holiday bash. If it’s worthy of a gathering, Club 90 is the place to be, especially when serving up one of its famous banquet spreads. Dig in and literally let your hair down. (Uh, that was a reminder to all the Utah County girls who come up north for fun). 155 W. 9000 South, 566-3254

Club Sound
Friday nights are totally gay at Club Sound. You can grind your way to Club Gossip oblivion to the pulse of house music and top 40. For a change, every other Friday, they have a drag show—if you’re feeling sexy, bring your heels and a wig. This club is known for its younger crowd and they like to get crazy, so if you’re into smooth jazz and quiet conversation, this may not be the place for you. 579 W. 200 South, 328-0255
2. The Trapp Door
3. The Paper Moon

Not too many of Oscar’s youngish clientele would know this, but the building that houses this Midvale fun house has been operating as a private club since the 1950s, making it one of Utah’s most enduring watering holes. Today’s crowd isn’t exactly the mix of blue-collar workers mingling with a dinner club set of the old Sage Supper Club, but night after night you can still count on plenty of down-to-earth folks to gather round for a game of pool, a hand of poker, great steak specials and, of course, a nice cold beer. If music’s your thing, slip in for karaoke on Thursdays or some DJ sounds and dance away your weekends. By the looks of things, Oscar’s could be around for another few decades. 8136 S. State, Midvale, 569-8958

The Point After
Nearly every athletic sports facility in town boasts some kind of tie-in to healthy drinks, protein powders or power shakes. But Point After does them all one better: It’s a private club joined at the hip with the Sports Mall in Murray. After that sweaty workout, why settle for a mocha flax nutritional spritzer when you can mosey just a few more feet and rehydrate as nature intended with a Bloody Mary or a Budweiser? Or better, why settle for wheat germ when you can get a BLT on wheat bread? BTW, the Point After has some killer daily specials—high-calorie, of course. Now that the weather is getting better, try its fine patio as well—a great spot to catch the envious eye of the people entering Sports Mall who relax by beating themselves to death. 5445 S. 900 East, Murray, 266-9552

Cyber Slut Bingo
They’re here, they’re queer and they’re faaabulous—they’re the Utah Cyber Sluts, a group of charitable and over-the-top camp drag queens. Just about the last place you’d look for them would be in church, right? Welcome to Utah, Land of Perplexing Ironies: When the Sluts’ ingenious weekly fund-raiser became so popular that previous venues turned SRO, it moved to the social hall at the First Baptist Church—reminding us that not all Baptists are the frothing-at-the-mouth “God hates gays” kind. One hundred percent of funds raised go to charity—and it’s a hilariously fun and freaky way to spend an evening. First Baptist Church, 777 S. 1300 East,

Tracks Brewing Co.
With beer mugs sporting the slogan: “Nerve gas, Germ Warfare, Nuclear Waste & Beer,” it’s hard not to love this Tooele sports bar and community gathering spot. A major draw is the selection of microbrews concocted by Louisiana-native Karl Menzer (real estate agent by day, brewmaster by night and on weekends). In addition, Tracks hosts national music and comedy acts and serves killer pub fare. A weekend breakfast menu highlights the in-house brewery with items like Hefeweizen wheat waffles. As T-Town emerges as ground zero for all loud engines on wheels, it should come as no surprise when the building starts to rumble and a train whizzes by outside, hence the name. 1641 N. Main, Tooele, 435-882-4040,

The Bar in Sugar House
The Bar may be the only extent example of something the city used to have and currently needs a lot more of: a neighborhood watering hole. Located inside a brown wooden building about as wide as aparking space, The Bar appears to literally be hanging on by its fingertips to the side of one of Sugar House older mall buildings. The inside is just large enough for the namesake bar, behind which are lined many tiny cups which you can have filled with beer on tap for a little more than $1. 2168 Highland Dr., 485-1232

The Filling Station
Nothing like a trip to Magna’s salt-of–the-earth Filling Station to get you out of your city-slicker rut. Their Web page says it all: “Magna is not known for much of anything but the bad water, but we locals have to admit that when Elliot and Darren bought The Filling Station in December 2002, we found ourselves to be regulars.” And “regulars” consist of any combination of bikers, rockers and hip-hoppers showing up for Texas Hold ’Em, pool matches and groovin’ to local bands on weekends, karaoke, DJ Viper or even the jukebox. Or, after work, you can just kick back and watch sports on plasma TVs and gaze at the oversize skanky photos on the wall. How real is that? 8987 W. 2700 South, Magna, 250-1970,

Stansbury Park Observatory Complex
Some folks lurk at Sundance hoping to see stars, but when you want to catch a glimpse of the Pleiades star cluster, or Mars’ polar caps or Saturn’s rings, you need the people with the really big equipment at SPOC. The Salt Lake Astronomical Society hosts frequent star parties at this facility just 26 miles west of Salt Lake City where members provide free telescopic tours of Utah’s night skies. Here, you’ll find the Harmons Observatory which houses two large reflecting telescopes and the Donna Pease Wiggins Refractor House with a roll-off roof and a large refracting telescope. Truly, one cool way to experience a starry, starry night. Stansbury Park, Tooele County, driving directions at

The Jackalope
The award was inspired by a blurb on The Jackalope’s MySpace page: “Because both owners [Lost Art Tattoo artists Nate Drew and Anthony Anderson] are originally from Virginia, you can catch every Redskins game during football season. Don’t let this fool, you, however … The Jackalope is not a sports bar, but an extreme sports bar.” True: Fuel TV is the norm at The Jackalope, not the diversion. As for ambience, the year-old club is virtually unrecognizable as the dump that previously occupied 372 S. State; the clean ‘n’ classy facelift could qualify as an Extreme Bar Makeover. And the drinks are so cheap, they haven’t even sprung for an outside sign yet. 372 S. State, 359-8054

Steve “Daddy-O” Williams’ (KUER 90.1)
Desperate and dateless tonight? Then tune into Daddy-O, Nighttime Jazz host on KUER 90.1. In his nearly 40 years at the station, Williams’ love of jazz and soothing voice have coaxed a few back in from the ledge. “One night, someone called and was going to commit suicide,” he recalls. “I talked him out of it, but I was going to cuts and had to come back to him.” So if you haven’t a place to go tonight where everybody knows your name, turn your radio on and let Daddy-O and his great taste in jazz be your best friend. KUER 90.1, weeknights, 8 p.m.-midnight

The Empress Theatre
In 1916, this 178-seat historic theater served as a burlesque hall for Kennecott miners and later as a silent movie theater. It remained open through the 1930s. Long after it closed, engineer and actor Leo W. Ware traded the theater for real estate in 1983 and proceeded to nearly single-handedly renovate the structure, despite attempts by the Salt Lake County Commission to raze the building in 1984. Due to an injury, Ware was unable to complete the job, but in 2006, the nonprofit Oquirrh Hills Performing Arts Alliance leased the building and is now renovating it. After more than 50 years, the theater re-opened in November 2006 with Forever Plaid. Leo Ware was able to attend one of the first few performances before he passed away on Jan. 3, 2007. 9104 W. 2700 South, Magna, 347-7373,

Ken Sanders Rare Books
Attending any event with a Ken Sanders stamp on it is always a life-enhancing experience. Most folks know he operates an antiquarian bookshop specializing in the West, Utah and Mormons. He is, in fact, the honored guest bookseller at this year’s Gold Rush Book Fair, awarded for ethical leadership and scholarship in American bookselling. Sanders’ in-house Dream Garden Press publishes local books that otherwise might not see the light of day. And many evenings—gallery strolls and the like—his bookshop is the place to meet an author, an activist, a musician, a photographer, a filmmaker or a visual artist. He forks out his own dough to host myriad literary events, seldom breaking even. It’s his way of nurturing the local arts community. So dig it, man. 268 S. 200 East, 521-3819,

The Bayou
They don’t call themselves “Beervana” for nothing. Whether your taste runs to a Guinness on tap or a bottle of Tsingtao, or pretty much anything else that has ever been touched by yeast and/or hops, you’ll probably find it at The Bayou. Think of it this way: You could sample a different one of the 230-plus beers on their roster every single day, and you wouldn’t repeat yourself for nearly eight months. At which point, there’s no reason why you couldn’t start all over again. 645 S. State, 961-8400,
2. Port O’ Call
3. Fiddler’s Elbow

IAMA Coffee Houses
The nonprofit Intermountain Acoustic Music Association is the area’s mainstay of acoustic music, including bluegrass, British isles, folk, old-time and related musical forms. To keep the dream alive, IAMA, under the tutelage of Guy Benson, hosts twice-monthly coffeehouses at the Unitarian Church on the second (open mic) and fourth (hosted) Fridays of each month. Here, you can bring your coolers packed with a picnic dinner and wine and beer (though the church asks that no hard liquor be served). In addition, coffee from the Coffee Garden is served. It’s a great place for pluckers and for those who love the sound of pluckin’. Unitarian Church Elliot Hall, 569 S. 1300 East, 582-5856 (Guy Benson)

All those great touring acts that used to come to Salt Lake City via sadly defunct clubs like The Zephyr (no, we’re still not really over it) and Ego’s (just last year) are now heading eastward—but at least it’s not Colorado. The grumbling over having to drive all the way to Suede in Kimball Junction is getting quieter as the club’s dance card fills up with bands like Blackalicious, Jedi Mind Tricks, B-Side Players, Stephen Marley and, perhaps the biggest favorite, the Drive-By Truckers. Suede is always worth the trip—for the music and the club. 1612 Ute Blvd. (Kimball Junction), Park City, 435-658-2665,

Club Vegas
A true rock & roll joint that hosts plenty of national and local shows that are very much in the here-and-now of modern metal, Club Vegas is also becoming the place to catch long-lost faves of the ’80s: Winger, Vicious Rumors, Tesla’s Frank Hannon and Ratt’s Stephen Pearcy have all played Club Vegas in the past few months; it arguably all began with a rip-roaring Krokus (yes, Krokus) show in 2005. Local-wise, SLUG magazine’s hella-packed 18th birthday bash in February may have ushered in the next wave: ’90s nostalgia. 451 S. 400 West, 364-8347,

Broken Record Bar & Grill
The club formerly known as Todd’s follows the Spartan philosophy: Instead of adding more furniture and accessories as most newly reopened venues tend to do, the Broken Record ripped most everything out to make for a better traffic flow—booths just aren’t conducive to thrashing, after all. The new stage ain’t bad, either, better presenting the loudest extreme rockers and hippest alt-hipsters, local and not. 1051 S. 300 West, 532-4775

Most clubs don’t bother booking live music—much less anything that doesn’t involve acoustic guitars and “feelings”—on Sunday nights, but not Monk’s: The “underground for the underground” can be counted on for Sabbath sounds every bit as good as what’s booked on Friday, sometimes even better. Then sleep it off and come back on Monday night for DJ Rebel’s Reggae Lounge, the hands-down best reggae night in the city. Traditional weekends are so overrated. 19 E. 200 South, 350-0950

Cheers to You
When/if that smoking ban finally comes to pass in 2009, Cheers to You may be one of the more unrecognizable bars in the city—who knows what the joint looks like behind the haze? Our killjoy Surgeon General wouldn’t agree, but that’s part of Cheers’ hole-in-the-wall charm, along with the inexpensive booze that keeps the college students and workin’ folk packing the place most nights of the week. Shot? Come on, just one … 315 S. Main, 575-6400
2. The Jackalope
3. The Cell Block

The Cabana Club & Rib Alley
It was a fine barbecue and soul-food joint, but Neil Ellis’ Rib Alley just didn’t last as long it should have on the west side—thankfully, the Cabana Club has brought it back and given it a home. Takeout is available, but if you’re dining in, the Cabana even suspends smoking until the kitchen’s closed, a classy move. Good tunes and good food, all in one place—score. Cabana Club: 31 E. 400 South, 355-9538; Rib Alley: 746-0835,

The Metal Gods & The Spazmatics (Liquid Joe’s)
The Metal Gods. The Spazmatics. Kitschy ’80s franchise acts. Still packin’ ’em in. Every Thursday and Saturday night. After all these years. There are shows on Broadway that don’t last this long. Color us impressed. Now fix your wigs. 1249 E. 3300 South, 467-5637,

Iggy’s Sports Grill
From humble beginnings, Iggy’s has grown into Utah’s sports bar juggernaut with six locations stretching to St. George and plans to franchise throughout the Western United States. So powerful is Iggy’s that it recently convinced stingy Logan city leaders to pry open liquor law books there to allow booze service. Still, Iggy’s likely won as a sports “bar” because of its huge food menu containing whatever a sports fan could desire: half-rack of ribs and Yankee pot roast alongside every conceivable kind of steak, burger, pasta, lasagna, pizza and sandwich. Oh, there also are games playing on huge screens. Multiple locations,
2. Lumpy’s Downtown
3. Port O’ Call

The Sunday Funnies (Mo’s Neighborhood Grill)
Staring through bloodshot eyes into another workweek, a few laughs could be the only thing to make the Sunday-to-Monday transition worth it—the Sunday Funnies at Mo’s Neighborhood Grill is just the ticket. The stand-up free-for-all begins ‘round 9 p.m. every Sunday, experienced and rookie comics throwing down their best (and uncensored) routines throughout the night while grownups consume adult beverages and kiddies gnaw on wings. Plus, you never know when someone like The Daily Show’s Lewis Black will drop by for a set (really happened). 358 S. West Temple, 359-0586

The Urban Lounge
Just as “indie music” doesn’t just mean scruffy dudes playing rock anymore, The Urban Lounge keeps evolving with the times better than most local 21-plus clubs by remaining all-inclusive to live hip-hop, hardcore, goth and myriad genres while still leaving room for the good ol’ indie-hipster rock that put ’em on the map. Bonus: The bartenders are some of the quickest and most attentive in town. 241 S. 500 East, 746-0557

Harry O’s
Other than a handful of V.I.P. Sundance shows every year, Park City has never been known as Utah’s hip-hop destination. But over the course of a year or so, Main Street’s Harry O’s has almost single-handedly changed that perception with a seemingly endless string of mainstream rap and R&B bookings, including The Roots, De La Soul, Common, Talib Kweli, Akon, Redman, Raekwon, Ciara, John Legend and, one of the club’s biggest coups, Nas and the upcoming Hip-Hop is Dead tour. 427 Main, Park City, 435-655-7579,

BEST GAY CLUB Readers’ Choice
The Trapp Door
It used to be that the city’s gay clubs tried to exist under the radar in out-of-the-way decaying-warehouse neighborhoods. But now, thanks to Gateway and the glitzy sprawl enveloping it, the Trapp Door and its more low-key neighbor, The Trapp, find themselves in the thick of things. They’re none too bummed, either, about being part of the Gateway “night on the town” experience. Salt Lake’s largest gay dance club has a quality sound and lighting system to complement its massive dance floor. It offers weekly themed dance nights that keep the crowds coming for hip-hop, Dance Evolution, Tongue & Groove, Club Rebellion, and the hot-hot-hot Club Pachanga Latin Night on Sunday (complete with a 10 p.m. drag show). 615 W. 100 South, 533-0173,
2. Club Sound
3. The Trapp

5 Monkeys
If you’re a former regular of Uncle Albert’s and the various other clubs that have occupied 7 E. 4800 South between State and Main in Murray over the past 20 years, 1. Congratulations on still being alive; the place has seen some rough times and clientele, and 2. You may want you check out the new 5 Monkeys—you won’t even recognize the joint. We’re hard-pressed to recall a more radical makeover of a former dive than this; every inch of the new 5 Monkeys seems to have been scrubbed, repainted and swank-ified, with live music or DJs kicking most nights of the week. Nothing against neighboring vets Frankie & Johnny’s and Club 48, but if you’re young and ready to party in Murray, this is the place. 7 E. 4800 South, 266-1885,

Lumpy’s Social Club
Prior to the University of Utah football team’s major fan letdown of last season, one could count on parking anywhere near Rice-Eccles Stadium to be nigh impossible. Thus a small industry was born, that being chartered bus transport to and from the games. Leading that crowd for over a decade has been Lumpy’s on Highland Drive—a certifiably Ute red club if there ever was one. Despite the Utes’ poor play on the field last year, the Lumpy’s buses transported the faithful from club to seat and back to club faster than you can say, “BYU is for pansies. Pour me a Patrón.” With UCLA coming to town early next season, you might be wise to reserve your seat now. BTW—the bus ride comes with some Lumpy’s amenities besides food, if you get our drift. 3000 S. Highland Drive, 484-5597

Hog Wallow
For too many decades to remember, the site that now houses Hog Wallow in the Cottonwood area has been home to a venerable drinking hole with more names than we can remember. It used to be an isolated drive along Little Cottonwood Creek with most passersby simply looking for ghosts (or holding keggers in) the abandoned Old Mill. Then came civilization, if you can call it that. Today, Hog Wallow is surrounded by plush homes that all look alike—some occupied by a certain crowd that doesn’t cotton to a club in their “back yard.” Uh, it’s the other way around! Even when the Wallow tried to make simple structural changes that would amend some of the noise escaping the club, those silly NIMBY’s balked and prevented it from doing so. Trust this: Give us Hog Wallow or give us death. 3200 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, 733-5621

BEST STRIP CLUB Readers’ Choice
The dancers are gorgeous (and athletic); the food is better than you’d expect (yes, we’re pushin’ the burgers again); adult-film stars frequently grace the stage (including Utah’s own Bella Donna); no other strip club comes within dollar-tossing distance year after year in the Best of Utah voting—we know all this. For a brand-new thrill, check out Trails’ über-slick Website (, a sleek and functional beauty that puts most others’—no matter the business—to shame. Need to know what time Trinity is dancing? Full hourly schedule. What night is “Two Girls, One Stage”? Right there. Want to fill out a dancer application? Upload a photo and list your favorite grindin’ tunes. Or get off the Internet and go to the damned club already. 921 S. 300 West, 363-2871; 3055 S. State, 484-4846;
2. Southern Exposure
3. American Bush

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