CITY GUIDE 2019 | City Guide | Salt Lake City Weekly


City Weekly’s 17th annual celebration of all things SLC

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  • Derek Carlisle

Holy Spirits
A-Z Cocktail Guide
By Darby Doyle

It seems like just yesterday when this intrepid booze writer was contacted by City Weekly's fearless editor and asked to assemble a comprehensive A-to-Z guide of all the goodly drinks action going down in Deseret. Now in its third year, this directory of delicious drinkables is a testament to how Zion's spirits culture has not only grown but is thriving with a capital T. No olive or maraschino cherry was left unturned in prepping this compendium. So hunker down with your favorite adult beverage and give it a go.

A is for Agave
Spirits 101: More than 200 varieties of agave plants grow wild throughout Mexico and the Southwest, and alcoholic products from this species include, yes, tequila, but also mezcal, bacanora, raicilla, sotol and a lower-ABV fermented agave nectar beverage called pulque. Distinctively smoky mezcal can legally be made with a bunch of different agave options, however, only the Weber blue (agave tequilana) plant may be used to make tequila. And much like Champagne or Cognac in France must be made in those eponymous regions with specific varietals, authentic tequila can only be produced in a small area of Mexico centered around the state of Jalisco. For a local connection, try top-shelf premium brand VIDA Tequila (, a company owned by Utah-based Lisa Barlow, who's a huge supporter of our craft-cocktail scene or, head up 50 miles north to Eden's New World Distillery (4795 E. 2600 North, Eden, 385-244-0144, and see how 100 percent agave spirits are fermented and distilled on site by artisans Chris and Ashley Cross to make their distinctive Rabbit and Grass Agave Spirit and (a rarity) agave-based vodka.

  • Darby Doyle

Blue Curaçao
Huge-ass hair, leg-warmers, shoulder-baring slouchy sweaters, heavy eyeliner for everyone. Apartheid, the Cold War, Reaganomics. Oh, the '80s: how we love and loathe the era of Me First. Whether your early clubbing years started out in this incubator of neon-bathed nightlife or you're young enough to consider the scene "retro," SLC's beloved Area 51 nightclub has been the go-to spot for New Wave and Alternative nostalgia, pop and a helluva lot of fun. If you can't wait for Thursday night to get your cocktail fashion fix, pick up a bottle of that sticky sweet synthetic wonder known as Blue Curaçao, and add it to your vodka-soda highball for that singularly '80s appeal to the outrageous. Area 51, 451 S. 400 West, 801-534-0819,

Cannabis-infused cocktails seem like the next big trend, right? Looking to our Left Coast neighbors for inspiration, it became immediately apparent that imbibing cannabis as an ingredient should be approached with a good dose of caution. In an article exploring the pros and cons of cannabis cocktails, bar industry mag Imbibe notes the biggest challenge (and this is talking in terms of home mixology) is that calibrating appropriate dosing still is a work in progress. Due to the solvent nature of alcohol and varying levels of cannabis strength found in the wild, you could be amplifying the sedative and psychoactive qualities of both ingredients. No bueno. But not to worry, the buzz in the bar scene indicates that there are plenty of bartenders out there doing the tough work of experimentation to make sure that by the time Utah gets the green light on ganja, we'll know what's what. Until then, when in West Hollywood, check out non-alcoholic cannabis mocktails like the one at Gracias Madre ( their "On The Wagon" drinks menu includes a CBD Snowcone ($15) made with lemon, hibiscus, agave and non-psychoactive cannabidiol oil.

... or apéritif: What's the diff? They're French terms describing when certain spirits are consumed while dining; in Italian, it's aperitivo and digestivo. Traditionally, European meals begin with an apéritif like sherry, vermouth or a lower alcohol cocktail served to stimulate the appetite. Digestifs, as their name implies, are imbibed following a meal to aid digestion (the beverages most synonymous with a classic digestivo are bracing Italian amari like Cynar, Fernet and luscious Averna). SLC's own Waterpocket Distillery makes a distinctive and complex digestif called Toadstool Notom Amari that's become an underground (and over-the-bar) hit with tipplers all over the state. "Like coffee to a kid, many hate bitter digestifs at first, but then find it's a standard adult pleasure they couldn't live without," Waterpocket Distillery owner/distiller Alan Scott, says. "Our senses signal warning with bitter flavors at first. But once you've crossed over, it's like realizing you've been looking at rainbows with only half the colors ... Finishing a meal with a classic bitter digestif like our Notom Amaro completes the picture." Scott recommends it as a classic pairing for a rich meal. I like it pretty much any time. Head to the distillery (2084 W. 2200 South, 385-202-5725, for the full experience.

  • Courtesy Photo

Eat Drink SLC
Held each July among the cool tree canopy and entertaining fowl at Tracy Aviary, Eat Drink SLC ( is one of our perennial favorite fundraiser/drinks events in a city brimming with great boozy fests. Looking for more opportunities to meet and sample sips from our state's growing cadre of brewers, distillers and winemakers? Mark your calendars for the ever-popular Taste of the Wasatch at Solitude Resort (, the fifth annual Made in Utah Festival ( at the Gateway Aug. 24-25 and Food & Wine Fest ( presented by the Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association, Sept. 11-16.

  • Darby Doyle

Flowery garnishes continue to grace both plates and cocktails with edible flair. Restaurants across the Wasatch Front have been fortunate since 2012 to source gorgeous veggies, fruits and flowers directly from Frog Bench Farms (, a private chef-oriented farm on SLC's East Bench foothills. Owners Paula and Joe Sargetakis and farm manager Stacy Semborski make a point that appearance has equal priority as flavor in everything they grow at the sustainable farm, which includes more than a dozen flower varieties like borage, marigold, lavender, nasturtium and viola.

... for the win! Only a handful of years ago, there was no such thing as Utah gin. Boy howdy, has that changed for the better! Within the popular spirits category, you can source local juniper-forward juice from all over the state. At the Beehive state's northern reaches, find Oomaw Gin from New World Distillery in Eden and Madam Pattirini from the 5 Wives Vodka bottlers at Ogden's Own. In SLC, Chris Barlow of Beehive Distilling has been batching up award-winning Jackrabbit and aged Old Tom-style Barrel Reserve, and relatively new kids on the distilling block, Hammer Spring Distillers' Hammer Spring Gin, is a botanical spirit with nice notes of sage and white peppercorn. Dented Brick Distillery now has two gins on distilling rotation, with a craft well gin that's as easy drinking as it is affordable, and their premium line Great Basin Bristlecone is raking in critical praise in its second year of production. Thirsty for more? When in Park City, visit Alpine Distilling and pick up a bottle of their Summit gin for a pleasant surprise. And in recent years, Utah distilling has expanded south, with the fine folks at Moab Brewery throwing their hats into the hard-spirits pool with Moab Distillery. When at the shop (next door to the popular brewery), purchase a bottle of Spot On, made with crisp botanicals and water from the La Sal Mountains.

Hard Cider
It's been brewed in the Americas since long before Johnny Appleseed embarked on his apocryphal mission of fruit propagation. In fact, hard apple cider was the most popular beverage quaffed in our nation's Colonial era, even more so than beer, wine or whiskey. In recent years, the refreshing beverage has made a big-time comeback, with fermented fruit ciders produced from coast to coast. Salt Lake's Mountain West Hard Cider (425 N. 400 West, 801-935-4147, makes a few delicious varieties of hard apple ciders, available by the bottle at state liquor stores, or try the whole lineup right at the source at Mountain West Cider's dog-friendly outdoor patio, The Garten, shared with the fine folks at Red Rock Brewing. For something unusual—with a nice citrusy zing and sweet melon notes—check out their Desolation Prickly Pear Hard Cider, infused with purée from the eponymous cactus fruit.

Reading is fundamental, and this tome by David Wondrich, is one of the top 10 drinks-history books for any self-respecting home bar bookshelf. Part drinks history, part cocktail cookbook plus all sass and badass bravado, Wondrich's books are the boozy bridge between vintage bar guides and the rest of a geeked-out collection of global mixology guidance. As John Waters said, "Don't sleep with people who don't read." The cocktail corollary? Don't drink with people who don't have interesting stories; pick up (or download, you techie bastards) a copy of any of Wondrich's books and you'll be chock full of cocktail-party drinks knowledge.

  • Luxe Luthor

... 24 cocktails in two hours and living to tell the tale. Last April, I was invited to be a guest judge at the Utah chapter of the U.S. Bartenders' Guild annual cocktail competition and evaluate eight bartenders' drinks in three rounds alongside UMOCA president Kristian Anderson and Brown-Forman sales manager Mark Kuehn (who knows a thing or two about whiskey). That's right. Twenty-four cocktails in just about two hours. Now, that doesn't mean we finished all those concoctions, but it was a nice night's work for my liver. Peep the USBG Utah Instagram feed @usbgutah for the 411 on this and future events, many of which are open to the public.

Competition winner Christian Saez shared one of his three cocktail recipes from the showdown, telling me, "The idea came from a smoothie I had in Manhattan, which was pineapple, cucumber and matcha. I thought it was super bourgeois and I paid $7 for it, so I named this cocktail the 'Woodford Bourbgeois.'" This whiskey sour variation was one of my favorites from the night (such as I remember it):

Woodford Bourbgeois
1 1/2 ounces Woodford Reserve Bourbon
1 ounce pineapple juice
3/4 ounce matcha syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a cucumber-shrub rinsed glass; garnish with an edible orchid and fresh ground cinnamon.

The brewery joined Utah's growing ranks of Beehive breweries in 2017, giving some serious cred to our cadre of craft brewers kickin' ass, takin' names and generally showing that our brewski-lovin' populace has cheerfully adopted a "more the merrier" sensibility. Hot out of the gate, the A. Fisher Brewing revival, as well as ventures RoHa Brewing Project and 2 Row Brewing have added some diversity to the brewing buzz. Shameless plug alert: You can meet the folks from Kiitos and other stellar Beehive state breweries at City Weekly's own Utah Beer Festival ( which turns 10 this year. Mark you calendars for Saturday and Sunday Aug. 17 and 18. Tickets sell out, so act fast.

Low ABV Upscale sippers with reduced or no alcohol continue to gain ground. Although folks still use the term "mocktail," many bars have changed their selections to embrace the middle way, so to speak, including lighter aperitif cocktails like those popular in Europe at lunchtime on their menus; a nice option when you'd still like a pretty potion but don't want to return to work plastered—à la a liquid lunch. A while back, I spoke with Under Current Bar (279 S. 300 East, 801-574-2556, managing partner Amy Eldredge about the trend, and she said there are many reasons why bar patrons choose to eliminate entirely or limit their alcohol consumption and that, "the customer experience and the drink presentation should absolutely be of the same quality" as full-strength cocktails. Whether it's a completely booze-free juice spritzer or a lower-ABV vermouth aperitif cocktail, the experience is equally elegant as that of our friends who are ordering barrel-strength bourbon.

Mexican Wine
Specifically that hailing from Baja's Valle de Guadalupe have made a huge splash in the wine world in recent years. At just 90 miles south of San Diego, the region's wine geography has been compared to California's Napa Valley for both culinary experiences and access to estate varietals, with more than 150 wineries now operating. And it's fucking gorgeous. "It's just like being in Italy, except you're speaking Spanish," CW editor Enrique Limón says. And you don't have jet lag or, let's face it, the sticker shock of either Napa or Naples. Win-win. State liquor store brass: Start stocking it, please?

  • City Weekly Staff

No Nonsense
Bartenders and bars that keep it real hold a special place in our hearts (and livers). For those times when we want our beverages served with a side order of zero fucks, here are some of CW staff's favorite watering holes:

1. Enrique Limón, editor
Greg Arata at Junior's Tavern (30 E. 300 South, 801-322-0318) is the real deal. He's shared more stories with local media types than he has collectible hooch cans behind protective glass. The man knows how to pour a frosty one—and how to keep a secret, to boot.

2. Kelan Lyons, staff writer
I love the dimly lit backroom speakeasy at Bar X (155 E. 200 South, 801-355-2287), where bartenders will make you a mystery drink if you aren't wanting a more classic cocktail. Initially skeptical because Utah laws prevent bartenders from having heavy hands, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste and strength of each adult beverage. That is, until I had a few and couldn't taste them anymore.

3. Sarah Arnoff, contributor
One face familiar to me since the wee age of 21 is that of bartender Ed at the Tap Room (2021 E. Windsor St., 801-484-6692). Ed and his mix of surly and friendly demeanor has presided over the haunt for years. I spent many a long afternoon sipping a draft and playing Medieval Madness pinball in their narrow basement digs at their old Highland Drive location. That lovably dingy basement is long gone, paved over with progress. But the Tap's Windsor Street home has the same vibe, with just Ed still slinging drinks behind the much more spacious bar.

4. Ray Howze, editorial assistant
Everyone needs a go-to bartender in their life. When they walk into a place and the bartender knows your name and your drink of choice. Megan Brown and Marley Bramble at Murphy's Bar & Grill (160 S. Main, 801-359-7271) have kept our beverages flowing for years and sometimes all it takes is a nod. As an Irish bar, they also know their way around an Irish Car Bomb or two. The dimly lit dive-bar salt-of-the-earth feel offers a chance for you to be yourself while Brown and Bramble—who don't take shit from anyone—and others keep your libations coming.

On Tap
At bars and restaurants all over town, you'll now find more than beer on tap. For example, Current Fish & Oyster ( has developed a delightful wine-on-tap program, with seasonally changing selections pairing with the popular restaurant's seafood-forward menu. At the lobby bar of the sleek and modern AC Hotel (225 W. 200 South, 385-722-9600,, drinks manager Tracy Gomez has worked within prescribed DABC service rules to create an on-tap cocktail, which is part of the hotel's brand. During a recent visit to what's become one of my favorite new downtown spots to sip on a blistering summer afternoon, Gomez pulled from the tap a zippy spin on a classic Negroni, which she batches with Wahaka Espadin mezcal, Campari and Lustau Vermut. "It's definitely an assertive cocktail, smoky mezcal goes toe-to-toe with the bitter Campari but it's softened beautifully by the Spanish vermouth," Gomez says. She anticipates they'll be changing the on-tap cocktail every two months or so to keep things lively. Cheers to that!

The brandy distilled in Peru and Chile from white muscat grapes is here to mix it up. In Utah liquor stores, the most popularly-exported brand is easily identified on the shelf by its famous black "Easter Island head" bottle shape. It's no surprise that cocktails hailing from pisco's countries of origin use bright, fresh flavors and quite a bit of citrus, such as the classic Pisco Sour. For a local spin on pisco mixology, head to Lake Effect (155 W. 200 South, 801-532-2068, and try their Zion cocktail with Logia pisco, a touch of serrano pepper and lots of fruit-forward yumminess like pineapple gomme, mango and fresh lime juice.

Aka quick pickles. In addition to being a fun word to say five times fast, you can add this technique to your Bloody Mary or Dirty Martini garnish repertoire for some serious cocktail cred (or, I guess, could spruce up a sandwich—your call). Rather than letting those fragile thin-skinned cucumbers turn to moldy mush in the fridge veggie drawer, make a few Iron Chef-worthy pretty knife cuts to make bias-cut thin ovals, or get out your mandolin or Y-peeler to create long wide strips of cucumber. No need to peel 'em first. Plop those in a clean glass-lidded jar with equal parts boiling water and vinegar (white, apple cider, champagne, rice, red wine, whatevs), plenty of kosher salt to taste, and the herbal profile of your choice. My faves? A few cloves of fresh crushed garlic, fresh dill, some black peppercorns and dill seed. Cool to room temperature, add the jar lid, shake well, refrigerate for at least four hours and shazam! You've got a pretty quick pickle (quickle!) that looks amazing threaded on a skewer accordion-style. Keep refrigerated for up to a week.

  • Darby Doyle

As in specialty salts and sugars. Move over, margarita, there's more to coating the rim of a glass with salt for that something extra to take your summer beverage to the next level. Whether it's bacon-infused salts for your Bloody Mary brunch or citrus-packed sugar for boozy lemonade, a sparkly sassy rim on the glass kicks the whole experience up a notch. For some local flair, source your salts and sugars from our favorite Spice Gal at Aimee's Home Cookin' (

Straws Suck
Caveat: There are some legit reasons why some people need straws; after all the bendy-straw was invented to allow bedridden patients, especially those with jaw injuries, an easier way to slurp. But do you really need the two black stirring straws that for decades seem to have been served de-facto with every highball? Nope, and neither do our landfills or oceans, let alone the environmental cost of producing more plastic shit. Other options abound, just ask the folks at East Liberty Tap House (850 E. 900 South, 801-441-2845, "If a drink needs a straw, we use paper," owner Scott Evans says. Hop on the straw-ditching trend now, that way you won't gasp as hard come next year, when Starbucks ditches the pesky tubes for good.

Tiki Time!
I'll preface by saying tiki drinks have somewhat of a complicated history. They're this close to feeling like there might be some dubious cultural appropriation going on, but for the most part, the spirit of tiki is a pretty benign celebration of pan-Polynesian ingredients and American wackiness. So says a middle-aged white woman living in Utah (send your rage to Longing for a taste of the South Pacific closer to home? Central 9th's Water Witch (163 W. 900 South, 801-462-0967, has you covered. "Sunday has become a great drinking day in SLC, and it's evolved into a big tiki party at the Witch," bar co-owner Sean Neves says. If you can't make it over there yourself, the hilarious videos they post to their @waterwitchslc Instagram feed show these guys might be serious about their drinks, but they don't take themselves seriously. At all. I asked barman Mike Wright to throw together a drink that he thinks represents Tiki Sundays at the Witch and I was not disappointed with his "The Blue Bird" tiki tipple.

The Blue Bird
1 ounce El Dorado 3-year rum
1/2 ounce Don Q coconut rum
3/4 ounce pineapple juice
3/4 ounce Blue Curaçao
1/2 ounce lime
1/2 ounce coconut simple syrup
Buzz with crushed ice and serve in wine glass. Garnish with lemon wedge and a paper flower. "The lemon is a color-contrast garnish. It looks cooler," Wright says, "it's gotta look cool." Damn right it does.

  • Darby Doyle

Utah's Badass Women Bartenders
A while back, a cover story in City Weekly ("Speed Racers" profiled the feisty Utah contingent of 10 female bartenders who traveled to Phoenix last spring for the annual Speed Rack bartender competition. Started in 2011 as a fundraising event in NYC to champion professional women bartenders' skills, the competition has taken a badass fundraising/advocacy turn. "They raise a shit-ton of money for breast cancer programs," homegrown Speed Rack competitor Jessica Sandberg says, noting that the now-international events exceeds $100,000 in proceeds each year. As expected, the Utah posse kicked boozy booty in the speed rounds where each contestant prepared four cocktails on the fly in head-to-head (or shaker-to-shaker) elimination, with Sandberg making it to the quarter-finals. She shook up an Irish Rose that one of the judges said was the best she'd ever had. And she did it in just more than a minute while also making three other on-point cocktails. No biggie.

It is the spice of life after all, which is why it's becoming more difficult every year to pick a "favorite" Utah whiskey brand. As mentioned before in these pages, the local/regional booze world is a pretty spot-on slice representing the spirits industry overall, with some brands purchasing spirits distilled in Kentucky and Indiana and re-bottling with their own labels (a common practice that still blows people's minds), whereas other brands choose to monitor the entire process from milling the grain for their whiskey on-site, fermenting with custom yeast and aging the distillate in their warehouses (bless their OCD hearts). Some brands do a bit of each strategy, depending on the spirit. In addition to now-established whiskey makers High West, Sugar House Distillery and Outlaw Distillery, last year, Waterpocket Distillery bottled a really delightful Robber's Roost Light Whiskey. For those palates that prefer sweet fruit-flavored whiskies, Alpine Distillery in Park City makes Lafayette spiced whiskey with apricot, primrose and cinnamon. From the folks at Ogden's Own, they're bottling three flavored whiskey options in the "Porter's" line-up: Porter's Peach, Apple and spicy Fire Canadian whiskey. In the classic easy-sipping bourbon category, look for Utah-owned brand Black Feather Whiskey, a super-smooth sauce that goes down easy neat. It's also equally nice on a sweltering night with a bigass ice cube, dash of bitters and splash of soda.

Wine & Mines
This quirky tour at the hands of Park City's Fox School of Wine ( should move to the top of anyone's "entertain the visiting relatives for an afternoon" list. The three-hour chauffeured trip around the historic mining sites of Park City starts at the Montage at Deer Valley and ends beside what was once the mining boomtown's red light district. Along the way, "Headmistress of Wine" sommelier Kirsten Fox narrates an entertaining and informative tour of the mountain town's history, with six thematic wine pairings—and snacks to boot.

It's about time locally produced moonshine gets some love. Did you know that Utah's first and largest-producing distiller back in the day, Hugh Moon, was one of Brigham Young's famous band of bodyguards, The Sons of Dan? That is until Young decided the church needed to get out of the distilling business and he basically backstabbed Moon by sending him on an extended mission. The legend goes that while Moon was in exile, Young confiscated all of his hooch-making equipment and supplies, essentially bankrupting the family. Dented Brick Distillery is built on one of Moon's old properties containing the original well used to make whiskey. And it's released Hugh Moon White Whiskey, an unaged spirit made with 100-percent locally-sourced unmalted rye in honor of his contributions to local distilling. With a little searching, you'll find quite a few Utah distilleries making limited releases of "white dog" unaged whiskey, which is basically whiskey before it hits a barrel (resting in barrels is what turns whiskey it's distinctive amber color). Sugar House Distillery makes a grain-to-glass New Make Whiskey with the same mash and process used to make their bourbon. Up in Wanship, High West Distillery bottles Silver Western Oat Whiskey, an oat-and-barley whiskey that barely touches the barrel.

... and a bottle of rum. There are times when a quick and easy highball (liquor + fizzy something over ice = highball) is about all the creative cocktail energy that a weary wordsmith can muster on a hot-as-blazes afternoon. Enter the Cuba Libre. Essentially, it's a rum and coke with a squeeze of lime, you know, to keep it classy. Ideally, you'll be using a local white rum like one bearing the cleverest name in all the land: Brigham Rum from those masterminds at Distillery 36 (2374 S. Redwood Road, 801-983-7303, Seal the deal with a full-strength Mexican Coke from a glass bottle and say, "Ahoy!" to good times.

Tanner Lenart - ENRIQUE LIMÓN
  • Enrique Limón
  • Tanner Lenart

Zion's Foibles
Oh, Utah. Just when we thought things were starting to be a little more "normal" around the restaurant/bar world—with those weird Zion curtains coming down and restaurants getting to pitch their confusing "this is not a bar" signs—the state throws a whole new set of WTF variables in the mix. I followed up with my favorite liquor lawyer Tanner Lenart with the firm Christensen & Jensen about what she considers to be the head-scratching highlights of her work. Two of the biggest misses of the season? "The multiple meetings I had about the definition of a wall, and whether a wall can have a door, or a window, or be glass, or made out of lattice." Sounds like a big waste of a lot of people's time. Lenart also finds issue with the arbitrary way some state legislators have defined restaurant spaces, saying, "I've never heard any rationale behind the 10-foot rule for where minors can sit in a restaurant. There's no basis for that number, or any evidence that minors sitting at different seats in a restaurant have a propensity to drink any more or less when they come of age." Amen, sister. Now, we hope our representatives will hear our perspective, too. You can read more about the attorney in a profile by CW staff writer Kelan Lyons ("Her Best Shot," May 3) regarding the latest liquor lunacy at the legislative session and Lenart's collaborative art project using recycled "This is a restaurant" signs.

To all the fine folks of our frequently befuddled Beehive, let's raise a toast to the weird, wacky and wonderful world of Utah's spirits. And, to the people who make, serve and imbibe them, we say a hearty cheers!

  • Enrique Limón
  • Squatters

Beer Lake City
Walk, bike or ride to SLC's cluster of craft breweries.
By Mike Riedel

It used to be that "Salt Lake City" and "beer" were rarely uttered in the same sentence. Now, our little mountain hub is finally finding its beer groove, and is in the midst of a craft beer boom that would make ol' Brigham blush. Need proof? Over the past three years, a baker's dozen of new breweries have opened across the state, six of those in the central downtown area. Here's a quick brewery guide to the craft beer spots in the capital city's inner grid.

Toasted Barrel Brewery
Billed as Utah's dedicated sour brewery, Toasted Barrel's goal is to push the limits of what sour and wild beers can be by producing exotic and standard styles, all with an emphasis on hand craftsmanship. Owners Sage Dawson and Lynn Litchfield came by craft beer beer through the joy of homebrewing, but found little in the way of regularly-available, local sour beers. Now the city's northernmost brewery has a regular selection of young and old sours, including beers like their Sour Farmhouse ale and their newest release, Black Currant Sour.
412 W. 600 North, 801-657-6942,

Red Rock Brewing Co.
One of Salt Lake's O.G. breweries, this downtown staple opened its doors in 1994 and has been upping the city's beer game since, challenging the public's perception on what quality local craft beer can be and nabbing the Great American Beer Festival's Large Brewpub of the Year award in 2007. No matter if you skew toward ales or lagers, low- or high-point, Red Rock's consistent portfolio of award-winning beers keeps the comfy brewpub packed on a nightly basis. Their Elephino Double IPA is the state's second-most popular local beer, and their Nut Brown Ale has more awards than the Osmonds have kids.
Multiple locations,

Squatters Beers
Think of them as brew pioneers. Way back in 1989, Peter Cole and Jeff Polychronis decided to gamble that their fellow Utahns would crave locally crafted beers in a cozy downtown setting. Apparently, they had a good read on our thirst for craft beer, because they've only continued to grow since. Initially, the brewpub occupied the first floor of its 300 South location; it now takes up all three levels. Building on that legacy, head brewer Jason Stock keeps the beer selection fresh, innovative and traditional all at once and handsomely adorns every bottle of Hop Rising, the state's best selling high-point beer.
147 W. 300 South, 801-363-2739; 1900 Park Ave., Park City, 435-649-9868,

Kiitos Brewing
One of Utah's newest breweries is all about gratitude. Hell, the word Kiitos means "thank you" in Finnish. Located on the far west side of SLC's Granary district, Kiitos has rapidly built a reputation for making excellent beers in the low- and high-point ranges. The large, unassuming brewery houses a bar, retail store and a Tommy-approved selection of pinball machines. Head Brewer Clay Turnbow committed early on to making full-flavor draft offerings while rolling out the barrels (literally) with a diverse range of barrel-aged beers. Try their Vanilla Stout. Yum!
608 W. 700 South, 801-215-9165,

Fisher Brewery - JOSH SCHEUERMAN
  • Josh Scheuerman
  • Fisher Brewery

Fisher Brewing Co.
It's rare when you can take a brand and successfully reinvent it. That's what happened back in February 2017 when four pals opened up the second incarnation of the A. Fisher Brewing Co. in Salt Lake's Granary district. The original brewery shuttered in 1963, and primarily brewed light lagers. This new iteration went in a completely different direction: small and localized. The hyper-local concept in brewing was just catching on around the U.S. when Fisher debuted, and nobody suspected just how popular this model would make the small draft-only brewery. Concentrating on small batches and wide variety, this brewery has become one of the city's greatest success stories.
320 W. 800 South, 801-487-2337,

Templin Family (T.F.) Brewing
The newest brewery in central Salt Lake is the brainchild of noted local brewer Kevin Templin, who made a name for himself as head brewer for Red Rock Brewing. Looking toward German traditions for his family-style brewery, Templin decided to concentrate on old-world beer styles with an emphasis on comfort beers. Long festival-style tables with benches that encourage social interactions, mixed with a variety of high- and low-point beers have created a cozy atmosphere that's drawing in beer lovers every hour of the day. Try a Schnitt pour when you don't want full beer. You know, just for schnitts and giggles.
936 S. 300 West, 385-270-5972,

Proper Brewing Co.
In early 2013, two brothers by the name of Connelly opened a brewpub in the Avenues neighborhood. The Avenues Proper and Publick House was an instant hit, and the beer gushed out of the small, neighborhood brewery. To keep up with demand, the Connellys created Proper Brewing Co. on Main Street, the heart of downtown. The beer flows much more freely here, with 10 rotating beers on tap and multiple bottled high-point offerings. Proper's Vienna-style Leisure Brau always puts me in my happy place.
857 S. Main, 801-953-1707,

Epic Brewing Co.
Utah's largest locally-owned brewery has been bucking the system since opening their doors in 2010. When this maverick brewery debuted, they were the first in the state to offer high-point beers exclusively. Eventually, they got into the lucrative draft-beer scene, but the State Street brewery's bread and butter has always been its cutting-edge big beers. From its Big Bad Baptist Imperial stout to a cornucopia of IPAs, this downtown staple continues to be ... well, Epic. Don't forget to check out their newly expanded taproom.
825 S. State, 801-906-0123,

Desert Edge Brewery
In 1972, a restaurant called The Pub opened in Salt Lake City's Trolley Square. Back then, it was mostly Coors that made its way down college students' gullets. In 1995, The Pub expanded into the craft beer business and dropped its generic name in favor of the jazzier Desert Edge. It won Utah's first gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival for its Happy Valley Hefeweizen the following year. Over its history, brewers have come and gone, but current head brewer Chad Krussel is making a name for himself at the east side brewpub with his American pale ales. If you haven't tried Krussell's Citra Rye Pale Ale yet, well, your life just sucks.
551 S. 600 East, Trolley Square, 801-521-8917,

RoHa Brewing Project
Chris Haas, RoHa's co-owner and head brewer, built a reputation brewing at the aforementioned Desert Edge Brewery by concocting classic beer styles with mass appeal. After decades in the biz, Haas and his partners established the RoHa Brewing Project in April of 2017. The philosophy remained the same: Create technically proficient beers that are appealing and interesting with the added freedom of no draft restrictions. Right out the gate, RoHa's Thursday India Pale Ale won a bronze medal at the North American Brewers Association competition. If IPAs aren't your thing, their Kensington Saison is sure to satisfy nicely. As always, cheers!
30 E. Kensington Ave., 385-227-8982,

Thirsty for more? Catch Mike Riedel's regular "Beer Nerd" feature in City Weekly.

Piper Down - RAY HOWZE
  • Ray Howze
  • Piper Down

Geek Lake City
Where and when to get your trivia on.
By Ray Howze

Being nerdy is cool despite what you might've heard during your adolescence. Being nerdy and drinking beer with your friends is even cooler. So, a roundup of places 'round town where you can show off your knowledge and throw back a few, was in order.

There are two main trivia styles around town, one hosted by Geeks Who Drink and the other put on by The Trivia Factory. Each has a different format—the former asks you a series of themed questions for each round, while Trivia Factory nights ask one question at a time followed by a song where you can identify the artist for an extra point. Whichever you choose, you can bet on encountering a few brain-busters.

Geeks Who Drink

Where: Piper Down (1492 S. State, 801-468-1492,

When: Sundays at 8 p.m., Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.

411: Popular Irish pub on State Street with plenty of Guinness and Irish grub to boot.

Where: Twist (32 Exchange Place, 801-322-3200,

When: Mondays at 7 p.m.

411: Two-level downtown bar located in an old, now renovated, 19th-century boiler room.

Where: Prohibition (151 E. 6100 South, Murray, 801-281-4852,

When: Mondays at 8 p.m.

411: Speakeasy-style bar with various theme nights, DJs and live music.

The Silver Mine Taproom at Whole Foods (6598 N. Landmark Drive, Park City)

When: Tuesdays at 6 p.m.

411: Trek up to Park City to see this taproom adjoining the new Whole Foods near the Tanger Outlets.

Where: Dick N' Dixie's (479 E. 300 South, 801-994-6919)

When: Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.

411: Cozy downtown bar with plenty of TVs to catch the latest Utah Jazz or Real Salt Lake game.

Where: A Bar Named Sue (3928 S. Highland Drive, 801-274-5578; 8136 S. State, 801-566-3222,

When: Tuesdays at 8 p.m., both locations

411: Salt Lake dive bar with food, live music and karaoke.

Where: Gracie's (326 S. West Temple, 801-819-7565,

When: Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.

411: Popular downtown SLC gastropub with plenty of outdoor patio space, two levels and plenty of American fare.

Where: Park City Brewery (2720 Rasmussen Road, Ste. A1, 435-200-8906,

When: Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

411: Instead of just drinking their beer in the valley, why don't you head to the source and visit their taproom?

Where: Strap Tank Brewery (1750 W. 596 South, Springville, 385-325-0262,

When: Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

411: Located south of Provo, don't miss this brewpub built inside a scaled-down replica of the original Harley Davidson motorcycle factory.

Where: Tap Room (2021 S. Windsor St., 801-484-6692)

When: Wednesdays at 8 p.m.

411: Small Sugar House bar where you can bring in your own food or order one of their hot dogs and wash it down with one of their many whiskeys.

Where: Wakara Bar (480 Wakara Way, 801-581-1000)

When: Thursdays at 7 p.m.

411: Located inside the Marriott at the U, this place still gets its geek on one night a week.

Where: Alleged (205 25th St., Ogden, 801-990-0692,

When: Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.

411: Three-story Ogden bar with a rooftop patio, live music and plenty of room for dancing.

The Trivia Factory

Where: SaltFire Brewing Co. (2199 S. West Temple, 385-955-0504,

When: Mondays at 6 p.m.

411: One of Salt Lake City's many new breweries with a taproom and plenty of beers to taste.

Where: Proper Brewing Co. (857 S. Main, 801-953-1707,

When: Tuesdays at 7 p.m.

411: Part of the Proper Burger/Brewing family, this brewpub has plenty of delectable beers to try while you test your knowledge.

Where: Bout Time Pub & Grub (5502 W. 13400 South, Herriman, 801-878-3600,

When: Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.

411: Sports bar located in Herriman with plenty of bar food and TVs to catch your favorite sports team.

Where: Green Pig (31 E. 400 South, 801-532-7441,

When: Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

411: With one of the city's funnest and well-known trivia hosts, you won't get bored at this bustling downtown hotspot with a view.

  • John Taylor
  • The Bayou

Nightlife Directory

Essential Beer Bars / Sports Bars

A Bar Named Sue

This Johnny Cash-themed bar hosts Cash-themed signature events like a JC Birthday Tribute and Sing O' Fire Karaoke nights. Take a selfie with the Johnny Cash murals for extra points. 3928 S. Highland Drive, 801-274-5578; 8136 S. State, Midvale, 801-566-3222,

The Bayou

The O.G. of all SLC beer bars. Owner Mark Alston regularly picks out new flavors to bring into The Bayou. For the best approach to new suds, download their app. 645 S. State, 801-961-8400,

Beer Bar

Locals talk about going to Ty Burrell from Modern Family's bar, but Beer Bar could live on its own merits as a solid watering hole offering 140-plus beers and locally sourced pub fare. 161 E. 200 South, 801-355-3618,

Beerhive Pub

A Main Street mainstay and easy to see why. Several staffers have been around for years and are extremely helpful navigating their extensive beer list. Sporting Utah's only ice bar is a nice complement. 128 S. Main, 801-364-4268

The Break

Being nestled in the Daybreak community, you're offered some respite in Salt Lake suburbia. 11274 Kestrel Rise Road, South Jordan, 801-987-3354

Fiddler's Elbow

One of the few cornerstone Sugar House businesses left after the urban development facelifted the area. Fiddler's has been a draw for decades and looks like it will remain as such. 1063 E. 2100 South, 801-463-9393,

Ice Haüs

Beers. Brats. Booze. Right on its logo. You'll want to find yourself in Murray to experience this charmer. 7 E. 4800 South, Murray, 801-266-2127,

Johnny's On Second

$4 shot and a beer. Come on, let's be real: In any metropolitan area that's just a steal. 165 E. 200 South, 801-746-3334,


Here's a solid family-friendly sports bar just outside of downtown proper. Great for youth sports team dinners and hangouts with friends if you can't score tickets to the Jazz or RSL. 677 S. 200 West, 801-355-3598,


Salt Lake's original neighborhood sports bar and supporter of all teams that rep Utah.

3000 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-484-5597,

Essential Clubs

The Depot

The Depot holds it down in the Gateway district. And with one of the best lineups, they continue to help grow the thriving music scene. 400 W. South Temple, 801-355-5522,

Duces Wild

A Cheers-style bar, only with dancers. Call it your "slightly naughty" neighborhood bar. 2750 S. 300 West, 801-467-4600,

Hog Wallow Pub

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more unique pub in Salt Lake. You'll certainly want to find yourself on their one-of-a-kind patio after summer hikes in the Cottonwoods. 3200 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, 801-733-5567,

  • Josh Scheuerman
  • Piper Down

Piper Down

For St. Patrick's Day, Piper changes all its taps to Guinness. What else do you need to know? Oh, befriend a bartender and ask about its namesake. Straight-up Utah bar lore. 1492 S. State, 801-468-1492,


This 1920s-themed bar in the heart of the valley serves up some fancy craft cocktails and taps that only pour local beer. 151 E. 6100 South, Murray, 801-281-4852,

The Royal

The Royal taps into a wide variety of genres making it a Murray destination bar attracting fans from all over the valley. Reggae Thursdays are a staple and its Tuesday open mics night have been known to feature local celebrities. 4760 S. 900 East, Murray, 801-590-9940,


Owner Ken Dinsmore got his inspiration for Sky from some of the best clubs and music festivals around. For EDM lovers, Therapy Thursdays are top notch. 149 W. Pierpont Ave., 801-883-8714,

The State Room

Do these guys know how to book acts or what? A must-visit for intimate vibes and big names. 638 S. State, 800-501-2885,

Trails Men's Club

Not far from downtown, Trails is Salt Lake's premier gentlemen's club with the biggest stage and the hottest ... steak dinner specials. 921 S. 300 West, 801-363-2871

The Westerner

This unpretentious west-side country bar doesn't require a cowboy hat, but you're going to want to line-dance, nonetheless. 3360 S. Redwood Road, 801-972-5447,

Essential Dives / Neighborhood Bars

Bongo Lounge

Cheap drinks flow like manna at this Millcreek dive bar. 2965 S. Highland Drive, 801-466-1577

Cheers to You

Norm hasn't been here, to our knowledge, but come enough and everybody will know your name. For a downtown bar, it certainly has that neighborhood feel. 315 S. Main, 801-575-6400; 7642 S. State, Midvale, 801-566-0871,

Cruzrs Saloon

With darts, billiards and bar-staple game nights like Texas Hold 'em tournaments, there's something for everyone here.

3943 S. Highland Drive, 801-272-1903,

Dick 'n' Dixies

A Real Salt Lake fan and player favorite. Don't worry, though, Nick Rimando won't stop you from having a good time. 479 E. 300 South, 801-994-6919

Funk 'n' Dive

One of the fanciest "dive" bars you'll ever see. If you haven't tried Tatchos, do it. Do it now. 2550 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 801-621-3483,

Mid City Pub

Not just a stopping point before and after you pretend to be Rory McIlroy at TopGolf. 7101 Bingham Junction Blvd., Midvale, 801-566-0505,

O'Shucks Bar & Grill

This unassuming basement bar features $3 schooners on Wednesday nights and adjacent Ahh Sushi serves up some mean rolls. 22 E. 100 South, 801-359-6770

Patrick's Pub

Conventioneers need a break between sessions. Kitty-corner to the Salt Palace Convention Center, Patrick's is the perfect place to use that company card you snagged. 163 W. 200 South

Twilite Lounge

Where cheap beer, good times and a tabletop Pac-Man can be found.

347 E. 200 South, 801-532-9400,

Quarters Arcade Bar - JOSH SCHEUERMAN
  • Josh Scheuerman
  • Quarters Arcade Bar

Quarters Arcade Bar

Stiff drinks plus the state's only Killer Queen 10-player arcade game can be found at this new downtown fun hub.

5 E. 400 South,

The Tap Room

There are no frills at this Sugar House staple. Just the good hooch and a friendly staff. 2021 E. Windsor St., 801-484-6692,

X-Wife's Place

One of Salt Lake's last stands against credit card machines. It's cash-only at this dive bar that won't come close to breaking the bank. 465 S. 700 East, 801-532-1954

Essential Lounges


This upscale lounge in Ogden features one of the neatest rooftop patios around. 201 25th St., Ogden, 801-990-0692,

Bourbon House

Bourbon House sells the most Jameson in all the land. You'll never feel more sophisticated throwing down a few picklebacks than you will here. 19 E. 200 South, 801-746-1005,

Club 90

Game room, dance floor and the Green Room for private events. Club 90 has it all. 9065 S. Monroe St., Sandy, 801-566-3254,

Good Grammar

This new hip cocktail lounge has a colorful feel and an amazing drink selection. 69 Gallivan Ave., 3 85-415-5002,

Harp and Hound

Located above the Funk 'n' Dive, the Harp and Hound is Ogden's newest and prettiest gastropub. 2550 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 801-621-3483,

Keys on Main

A dueling-piano bar perfect for large parties and company outings. Flip the musicians a solid tip and your favorite tunes will be next on their list. 242 S. Main, 801-363-3638,

No Name Saloon

Easily one of the most popular bars in Park City, this rustic watering hole is a must-see. 447 Main, Park City, 435-649-6667,

Owl Bar

Robert Redford spared no expense to bring in the bar-top where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid used to belly up. Finding yourself in Utah County isn't all that bad if you make your way here. 8841 N. Alpine Loop Road, Sundance, 801-223-4222,

The Ruin

Adhering to the motto "Work is the curse of the drinking class," this place delivers. 1215 E. Wilmington Ave., Ste. 120, 801-869-3730,


A former boiler room that once heated up an entire city block, Twist owns that 19th-century look and now heats up on the weekends. 32 Exchange Place, 801-322-3200,

Essential LGBTQ Bars

Area 51

Where theme nights and good times abound. 451 S. 400 West, 801-534-0819,

Club Try-Angles

Play a game of pool or darts and expand your social circle at this friendly neighborhood bar. 251 W. 900 South, 801-364-3203,


For the best Sunday night party, look no further than this Sugar House haunt. 1051 E. 2100 South, 801-696-0639,

Metro Music Hall - STEVE CONLIN
  • Steve Conlin
  • Metro Music Hall

Metro Music Hall

The place to enjoy nationally renowned drag queens, as well as SLC's own Jason CoZmo.

615 W. 100 South,

Pose Lounge

SLC's newest hotspot rests atop Himalayan Kitchen. 360 S. State,

Sun Trapp

Everybody might not know your name at first, but they will after a couple of signature Mason-jar cocktails. 102 S. 600 West, 385-235-6786,

New Kids on the Bar Block


Bartender-managed and urbanite-approved, this downtown hub has quickly become a crowd favorite. 369 S. Main, 801-532-2707,

Bar George

Looking for a natural wine bar smack in the middle of downtown? Your ship has come in. 327 W. 200 South, 801-487-0699,

Button Down

This establishment delivers on its promise to deliver "the ultimate sports bar experience." 122 W. Pierpont Ave., 385-259-0573,

Button Up

Fresh event center and lounge with a classy vibe. 134 W. Pierpont Ave., 801-971-6660


A new take on "biker bar" that has become a Marmalade community staple. 751 N. 300 West, 801-953-0588,

London Belle Supper Club

Stellar cocktails and small plates call the downtown supper club home. 321 S. Main, 801-363-8888,

Post Office Place

Give their smoky Oaxacagroni—a mezcal- and chicha-infused take on the classic—a go. 16 W. Market St.,


The only place in town to get a tequila shot with a yuzu lime Jell-O chaser. 'Nuff said. 62 E. 700 South, 801-596-2294,

  • Courtesy Photo
  • Tin Tiki


Dubbed the city's "Best Secret Rum-Fueled Hideaway" in City Weekly's Best of Utah, the kitchy spot is just that. 837 Main, 801-953-1769,

White Horse Spirits & Kitchen

Give the Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters-misted White Horse Old Fashioned a go, and witness your worries melt away. 325 Main, 801-363-0137,

Jacob Khalil - ENRIQUE LIMÓN
  • Enrique Limón
  • Jacob Khalil

And Now For A Musical Interlude Of Note
Meet your friendly airport pianist, Jacob Khalil.
By Enrique Limón

If Bugs Bunny cartoons are to be believed, music has the power to calm even the most savage of beasts. No one sees that adage in action as much as Jacob Khalil, the 25-year-old self-taught pianist, who perched on the bench of a baby grand by the airport's Terminal 1 food court, croons visitors and locals returning home alike.

What have been some of the highlights you've experienced as airport pianist?
"I keep a list of all of the comments that people make to me, and most of them are, like, 'Wow, I was having a crappy day, I missed my flight' or 'My flight was delayed and you were the one highlight of my day' or something like that. I realized very quickly, a few days into the job, that I was kind of a relief for lots of people."

What's a regular shift like?
"I take no more than maybe three breaks, and I work for anywhere from five to seven hours."

Oh, wow.
"That's actually the reaction I get a lot of times: 'How do you sit there for so long?' But I dunno, I just love it. Time goes by, and then I look at my watch and I'm, like, 'Oh, man. I have to go now.' Or there are moments I'm, like, 'Oh, my gosh. I gotta pee. I'm about to pee my pants.' Because I really enjoy [playing] a lot, I don't ever feel like, 'When am I gonna be out of here?'"

How do you keep it varied?
"There are moments there are a lot of people in the airport, so I bring out all the popular songs that people know. I can see people who are coming down the escalator, and when I see that, it's basically when I know tons are people are coming, so I'll play kind of loud, and maybe a popular song most people know ..."

Like what?
"Nowadays, I play 'A Million Dreams' from The Greatest Showman a lot—people love that one. People also ask me to play The Phantom of the Opera songs, 'All I Ask of You' and 'The Music of the Night.'"

Any odd requests?
"Let me think. You know, most of the time people will come up, and they know I'm a piano player. I haven't gotten a Metallica song request yet, although I'd be happy to take that on. There was somebody who asked me to play 'Flight of the Bumblebee.' It's crazy-fast, and it's a tough piece. A lot of the times, I can make it up; hear it on my phone and I can play it. But something like that, there's hardly any way I can make it up. I should probably learn that one."

Quickfire round. What song would you play for someone who just lost their flight and is bummed out?
"Probably 'Changing Cars.' There's something about that one. It's almost a meditative song that puts people in a good mood."

What song would you play for a family at the food court with a crying baby?
"Charlie Chaplin's Smile when your heart is breaking ... that one."

Last question: What's your favorite part of the job?
"Definitely all the people I meet, and being able to see people get their burdens lifted. Because, man, the airport—I don't know what it is—but there are a lot of people who are just upset."

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About The Authors

Enrique Limón

Enrique Limón

Editor at Salt Lake City Weekly. Lover of sour candies.

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