City Guide 2015: Nightlife & Eats | City Guide | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

City Guide 2015: Nightlife & Eats 

Salt Lake City's tastiest cocktails, friendliest bars and coolest clubs

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We can finally say it—and mean it. When it comes to exceptional venues for live music and swanky joints for booty-shaking, Salt Lake City's got game. Whether you lean toward rowdy sports bars, after-work martini haunts or low-key dives, this town's got you covered.

Even though we live in the shadow of the LDS Temple, ordering a drink at a bar is as easy as pie. Whatever you fancy—a classic cocktail, a craft-brewed beer, a glass of fine wine or, hey, even a Jell-O shot—all you need to do is walk into a bar and order it (but do bring valid ID to prove you're at least 21!).

At restaurants, we still have a few kinks to work out. For example, before you order a drink, you must tell your food server you're planning to eat. Restaurants aren't allowed to prepare drinks in view of patrons, so as to not to displease alcohol abstainers or arouse the interest of children who may be present.

Liquor stores in Utah are state-owned. As such, most liquor stores close by 10 p.m. (some earlier), and all are closed on Sundays and holidays. But fear not, you can still buy 3.2 beer in convenience stores when liquor stores are shuttered.

To help in your quest to find intelligent nightlife, we've prepared a guide to 60 or so venerable establishments located in the heart of downtown, just outside of downtown, in the suburbs and out of town. In a city that truly does love its pubs and clubs, there sadly isn't space to include them all, so if we missed your favorite haunt, let us know so we can consider listing it next year.


The well-lit liquor showcase is the first thing that will catch your attention at one of Salt Lake City's oldest bars. Bar-X has an old-fashioned speakeasy feel to its atmosphere, but with a few modern twists. Bar-X has a reputation for making some of the best cocktails in the city, and it's always packed with people craving a professionally made drink. 155 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-2287,

Beer Bar
A hip, young hangout, Beer Bar is a relative newcomer on the downtown scene, but it has already become a Salt Lake City favorite (everyone loves the baby of the family). There are lots of places to sit, and lots of young people to meet and mingle with. Beer Bar takes great pride in the way the beer is served—in the appropriate glass, and at the appropriate temperature. And that secret door to the west? Heads right into Bar-X. 161 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3618,

Beerhive Pub
There are a few bars around town that are known for their incredible beer selections; Beerhive Pub is the one the others try to keep up with. Not only does it have 24 taps, but the list of bottled beers is impeccable, and the reason transplants flock to the place to get a nostalgic taste of brews they left behind. The fact that there is a chilly ice bar on hand is a small but beautiful bonus. 128 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-364-4268

Bodega is a tight fit that makes the most of its limited space with a small bar, tables for various board games and a few pinball machines tucked away in the back. Bodega's real gem, though, is the speakeasy-style restaurant, The Rest, that's located in the basement. It's reservation-only, so make sure you plan ahead. 331 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-532-4042,

click to enlarge Bourbon House - AUSTEN DIAMOND
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  • Bourbon House

Bourbon House
Bourbon House is underground, dark and as classy as a leather lounge. The music choice is spot-on for the crowd of young professionals. Yes, sports are on the TVs, but Bourbon House doesn't feel like a sports bar; it feels smooth and sophisticated, like the whiskey used in the Old Fashioneds. It has recently been remodeled, and still has that new-car smell. The whiskey display, a tribute to the alcohol of choice here, survived the remodel. 19 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-746-1005,

BTG Wine Bar
Offering over 75 wines by 2-ounce taste, by the glass or by the bottle. Also available are cocktails, beers, small bites and the full menu from adjacent Caffe Molise. Here you'll find an upscale ambience where you can people-watch or simply belly up to the bar. It's also the perfect place to host a party or a special event. 63 W. 100 South, 801-359-2814,

Cheers to You-Downtown
Located right in the middle of Salt Lake City's downtown action, Cheers to You is one of the chillest bars in the area. The round red booths give you a sense of privacy while still allowing you to enjoy the full bar experience. Karaoke Friday nights might be the busiest, but with a back room full of pool tables and events going on every night, this neighborhood dive bar is a Salt Lake City favorite. 315 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-575-6400,

Circle Lounge
Dress up in your shiniest shoes and get ready to take some shots and move your hips at Circle Lounge; the music is fresh, chic and mixed by talented local DJs. The good-size patio is a breezy, romantic break from the dance floor, with hookah booths under the strings of lights. Besides, where else can you find a club scene with electronic dance music and hip-hop, and a full sushi bar, all rolled into one hot little spot? 328 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-531-5400,

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  • Gracies

This two-level sweetheart of a gastropub is a sophisticated but comfortable place to grab a beer and watch the game, appreciate a local band over a cocktail, or take in the spectacular view of downtown from the rooftop deck with a glass of wine. The food is top-notch, and the place stays busy. There is almost-nightly entertainment, which ranges from classy jazz music to trivia, and the Sunday brunch makes locals regulars. 326 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-819-7565,

The Green Pig Pub
With live music, trivia nights and amazing breakfast buffets, not to mention the stellar atmosphere and killer menu, The Green Pig Pub has everything you could want from a bar. Since its opening in 2006, The Green Pig Pub has been one of the most popular—and often busiest—bars in Salt Lake City. 31 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-7441,

Jackalope Lounge
Probably the most hipster bar in Salt Lake City, the Jackalope Lounge has more to offer than just a unique atmosphere. Cheap drinks and friendly staff are what keep the Jackalope Lounge's faithful customers returning every weekend. 372 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-359-8054

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  • Johnny's on Second

Johnny's on Second
Johnny's is a low-key, go-to kind of bar that invites great local bands to play on Saturday nights and fills the rest of the week with various entertainment, like poker and football. The bar is divided into two main sections, so if you're in the mood to focus on the game, you can watch without distractions. Drinks are inexpensive, and the crowd is far from pretentious. 165 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-746-3334,

Juniors Tavern
A hole-in-the-wall type of place that genuinely feels like it belongs in a bigger city, Juniors Tavern has been a mainstay in Salt Lake City since 1974. In 2005, it relocated from its old location near the Salt Lake City Main Library to where it sits now. The newer building may not be as authentically urban, but the interior, complete with a rather impressive collection of old beer cans and jazz nostalgia, still feels like the comfortable watering hole of old. 30 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-322-0318,

Keys on Main
There is a raucous, energetic party going on every weekend at Keys on Main. Whether it's Tuesday-night karaoke or the dueling pianos, this is the place to belt and to boogie. The piano players keep the energy level high and the fun going. You can sit back and watch the show, but plan on some hilarious audience participation. On the weekend, make a reservation or you may not make it in to this local favorite. 242 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-363-3638,

Kristauf's Martini Bar
This classy martini bar gets creative with its cocktails. There are already plenty of martinis to choose from (with great names, like Kimmie Come Lately, with grapefruit and lemon juice, or the Halle Berry, with creme de cocoa and chocolate). Or, try to stump the bartenders—they know their way around gin and vermouth. As if being a martini bar weren't elegant enough, Kristauf's Martini Bar is full of art and leather couches. 16 W. Market St., Salt Lake City, 801-366-9490,

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  • Lumpys Downtown

For those looking for the ideal downtown spot to watch sports of all kinds, it's hard to beat Lumpys. The upstairs is plastered with dozens of TVs along the main wall, and a number of booths have personal TVs as well. There are also games, nightly entertainment, food and a Sunday brunch. Keep an eye out for the spring 2015 opening of Sky SLC, a 12,300-foot concert venue/event center adjacent to Lumpys Downtown, complete with a retractable roof. 145 W. Pierpont Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-883-8714,

Maxwell's East Coast Eatery
Maxwell's has figured out the weekend formula—it has the sports; the thin-crust, East Coast-style pizza; the frothy beer; and the dancing (for when the sports games are over and the pizza and beer calories need to be burned off). The crowd is friendly and the atmosphere is casual and fun, like a party at a friend's house. Right outside is a beautiful little courtyard, tucked away on Main Street if you need a break from the action. 357 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-328-0304,

Murphy's Bar & Grill
Between its enviable location (nestled on Main Street), Irish theme, inexpensive cocktails and dark, cozy atmosphere, Murphy's is the place to launch a pub crawl (or game-day gatherings, you crazy day-drinkers). The half-circle booths will remind you of Mad Men days, the bar stools are reminiscent of your mother's kitchen, and the carpet is greener than almost anything you've ever put your feet on—yes, including grass. 160 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-7271,

This windowless, hole-in-the-beautiful-brick-wall is everything an underground sushi bar should be: inexpensive, unassuming and chock-full of regulars. A self-proclaimed peanut bar, there are peanuts everywhere. Don't worry about making a mess with your shells, that's part of the charm! O'Shucks is conveniently located near City Creek and almost hidden if you miss the sign and stairwell. Specials on Tuesdays and Wednesdays keep the locals loyal and also bring in a college crowd. 22 E. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-596-8600

Poplar Street Pub
There's a really nice natural light that comes into this casual pub in the afternoon (yes, light in a pub!) and it makes for a good Sunday brunch spot. Friday and Saturday nights are good for live music (mostly acoustic singer-songwriter, but with some blues and reggae thrown in), and every night is good for a champion-size burger. To top it all off, there are lots of places to sit and socialize with your pals. 242 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-532-2715,

Tavernacle Social Club
What more could you ask for from Salt Lake City's first dueling-piano bar? This weekend hotspot is usually jam-packed as patrons sing along with the pianists to ensure there is never a dull moment. Although it can get crazy sometimes as people take to the dance floor, you won't want to miss out on the antics. 201 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-519-8900,

The Hotel/ Club Elevate/ The Barrel Room
Hello, swanky Salt Lake City nightlife! Located in a restored Salt Lake City 1910 landmark—with 32,000 square feet—this complex is really five bars. The Hotel Lobby Bar pays homage to a bygone era, complete with period bartenders. The Barrel Room has a speak-easy vibe, hosting live bands and serving craft beer. Need to cool your heels? Head upstairs to the Opium Lounge, where low, comfortable booths await. The third floor features hookahs and an above-it-all view of the lounge. Take a second to appreciate the décor, especially in the Ballroom, which is elegant and sensually mood-setting. Club Elevate features a high- energy dance floor. The people-watching is primo, partly because of the eclectic crowd, but mostly because of the layout of the floors. 155 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-478-4310,

The Red Door
The only thing not relaxing about The Red Door is wringing your hands over which martini to try next. There are a whole bundle of them, with seasonal menus adding even more. But martinis are only as good as where you are drinking them, and The Red Door's shadowy recesses are the best in town for a serene sip. 57 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-6030,

Wasted Space
Open seven days a week, Wasted Space is a tree-shrouded State Street watering hole, whose powerful air conditioners and lively crowd,make it a perfect after-work destination. Wasted Space regularly features DJs and live music of every genre on a small stage in the middle of the bar, as well as karaoke on Mondays. 342 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-531-2107

Whiskey Street
Back in the good ol' territorial days when Mark Twain aptly described Utah as the Union's only theocracy, Salt Lake City residents had a different idea of what finding the spirit was about—and for the Gentiles, the spirit was to be found in a nice brown bottle at one of the taverns along this very stretch of Main Street where Whiskey Street now proudly celebrates its rebel heritage. It's a bar-straddling history: Whiskey Street has speakeasy class and style and also a modern selection of drinks and food items. The stellar selection of spirits and liquors are the perfect match to a menu that defies the "bar food" classification. Appetizers include inspired snacks like braised pork-belly corn dogs, and entrees ranging from seared halibut to rosemary lamb chops with mint pesto sauce. 323 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-433-1371,

Zest Kitchen & Bar
Tucked into the corner of the building behind P.F. Chang's, Zest Kitchen & Bar is a high-end all-vegan eatery and specialty-cocktail space. The cool thing about Zest is that as the night wears on, the space smoothly mutates from a dining establishment into more of a bar/club environment. So, while sitting there enjoying your guilt-free healthy eats, a DJ might start spinning records, or a jazz trio might begin running through the standards. 275 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-433-0589,


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  • Area 51

Area 51
Get weird, Salt Lake City. Themes are taken seriously at this dance club, and they keep club-goers on their toes: hip-hop, '80s, carnival, heavy metal, traveling vampire and much more. It's not for nothing, either: The club posts the photos of the festivities to Facebook, so patrons can show off their outrageous ensembles for weeks to come. The music is fast enough to dance to. Talk about aliens and your new friends will love you. 451 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-534-0819,

Bar Deluxe
This old building, with one heck of an address, has been home to a number of different bars over the years. Bar Deluxe, though, came in and made the place home, making the small bar area in the front of the building comfortable enough for regulars while renovating the bigger concert space in back for rocking live shows. Though Bar Deluxe regularly books bands—think reggae and hard rock—this venue is also known for raucous alternative performances such as burlesque shows. 666 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-532-2914,

Batters Up
Batters Up is a haven for sports fans, with everything they need to enjoy the game in style. TVs in every corner cast a warm glow, and an abundance of tavern games and classic American fare far surpass the expected necessities of a sports bar. Batters Up also hosts pool tournaments three nights a week, beer pong on Saturday, and live events and bands throughout the year. 1717 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-463-4996,

The best thing about Brewvies is right there in its name: movies combined with beer. Sure, there's a large bar space complete with eating area, billiards, several video games and a couple of televisions. But really, the reason to go to Brewvies is to be able to sit in a dark theater with a full meal in front of you and a nice frothy beer in hand as you watch the latest blockbuster. 677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-355-5500,

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  • Campfire Lounge

Campfire Lounge
Campfire Lounge is perhaps best known for camping-themed fare, including variations on cherished campfire delicacies such as tots, s'mores, wieners and hobo dinners, but the real reason to go is for the patio. Getting better by the minute, the large patio has plenty of shade and cooling misters during the hot summer, and three fire pits and heaters during the chillier times of the year—not to mention it's dog-friendly. 837 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-3325,

Club Jam
A staple of the Marmalade District and the gay community for years, Club Jam shows no sign of giving up its position as one of the top gay clubs in the city. Voted Best Gay Club by City Weekly readers for six years running, Club Jam features legendary karaoke contests, an enormous dance floor and bar staff who are always incredibly friendly. If there's a gay bar in Salt Lake City that's more fun than Jam, it hasn't been proven yet. 751 N. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-382-8567,

Club Try-Angles
This welcoming neighborhood gay hot spot—complete with ample room for booty-shaking, a comfortable patio and friendly service—will sate your need for non-boring drinks that couldn't be more unusual. With drinks like Purple Kool-Aid, Sweet Swampwater and the Va-jay, your tastebuds will be rocked. Try the Cyber Slut, a tasty combo of Malibu Black, peach schnapps, vanilla rum, raspberry rum and triple sec. Stop by on Sundays for barbecue on the patio or, in inclement weather, enjoy Gene's legendary beer-soaked weenies indoors. 251 W. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-3203,

Devil's Daughter
Get your sin on at this spacious, recently opened bar with unholy drinks like Jim Beam 90-proof Devil's Cut bourbon and a signature Devil's Daughter drink called the Blue Devil—a demonic combination of Stoli Blueberi vodka, blue curaçao, sweet & sour mix, grenadine and a cherry. Nonliquid attractions include house-smoked barbecue, free gaming—including pool, darts and shuffleboard—a free jukebox, live music on the weekends, and an entire second floor available for party reservations. 533 S. 500 West, Salt Lake City, 801-532-1610,

Dick N' Dixie's
Located on the corner just down the street from The Urban Lounge, one of the city's best alternative music venues, Dick N' Dixie's is always packed with concert-goers either pre-gaming or rehashing the setlist. At other times, this corner neighborhood bar is a perfect sports bar for those who abhor sports bars. There are enough televisions to watch what you want (like RSL soccer matches) without being blinded by all that HD light. 479 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-521-3556

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  • Fats Grill

Fats Grill
Long known as a great place to get a burger and play some billiards, Fats Grill has been a Sugar House mainstay for nearly 15 years. During those years, the place has expanded into the basement, where there's a small stage and a perfect place for local musicians to get their song on. And with the separation of floors, Fats can easily remain the comfortable place of old while still drawing that music-loving crowd. 2182 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-484-9467,

Fiddler's Elbow
While it doesn't bill itself as a full-blown sports bar, Fiddler's Elbow might be the best sports bar in Salt Lake City. With a multitude of TVs showing just about any sporting event you could ask for, a full bar plus a great lunch and dinner menu (and brunch on the weekends), Fiddler's Elbow is the perfect spot to meet up with friends and catch a game. 1063 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-463-9393,

The rare sports bar that actually welcomes the entire family, Legends shows pretty much every University of Utah sporting event and just about everything else. It's more of a sit-down restaurant, but still maintains the feeling of a sports bar, so the youngsters can join in, too. Minors are allowed when accompanied by an adult, but after 10 p.m., the age limit is raised to 18-plus. 677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3598

Lucky 13
This food-oriented sports bar is willing to pony up $500 to those who can finish two of its mile-high burgers with fries. If power eating isn't your thing, come by for Sunday brunch and sip on a bacon-filled Bloody Mary while watching the morning game, or order one of Lucky 13's famous, flavorful garlic or bacon burgers. Show off your smarts on geek-quiz Wednesdays or relax outside on the large patio, complete with heaters in the winter, booming sound and big-screen TVs. 1300 S. 135 West, Salt Lake City, 801-487-4418,

Metro Bar
Metro earned its reputation for fun by serving up refreshing beverages and throwing great dance parties and special events. Home of one the longest-running all-request night (Thursday) and LGBT-friendly Fusion Saturdays, Metro Bar caters to the varied tastes of Salt Lake City's diverse party crowds. 615 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City

The Moose Lounge
Whether you're in the mood for a relaxing night with old friends or the possibility of meeting eyes with someone new over a fancy cocktail, The Moose Lounge has you covered. Settle in to one of the parlor suites, which are like a more upscale version of your living room, complete with TV, fireplace and customizations. 180 W. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-739-3337,

Piper Down Pub
If you happen to be missing your homeland, Piper Down Pub is your place for a bit of the "Olde World" pub experience. Complete with plenty of dark wood, ample dark beers and a slew of scotches, the point of Piper Down is to make you feel like you've stepped off of State Street and into a local High Street drinking establishment. It also has a hellishly good brunch with free bloody marys. 1492 S. State Street, Salt Lake City, 801-468-1492,

Sugar House Pub
One of the newer kids on the block in Sugar House, "The Pub" has quickly become a favorite of the locals, including many of the Westminster College students residing in the vicinity. One of the best things about Sugar House Pub is that it's basically two separate bars under one roof. So, when the younger bro crowd is getting rowdy in the small arcade or watching a game, a much chiller vibe can still be had on the other side of the dividing wall. 1992 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-413-2857,

The Tap Room
The Tap Room is one of those places that's been around forever but most people haven't been to. It seems like the owners would like to keep it that way, too. The previous location was in a basement, and the brand-new location is tucked away in the middle of a block in Sugar House. But with a great patio and excellent selection of the hard stuff, for those in the know, The Tap Room is everyone's long-lived little secret. 2021 S. Windsor St., Salt Lake City, 801-484-6692,

The Bar in Sugar House
Blink as you're driving by and you'll miss this place—not just because it's so small but also because it looks like one of those temporary Santa shacks during the holidays. But that very charm is what has long made this cozy, off-the-radar place a staple of Sugar House. Settle in, throw a couple of quarters in the jukebox and rub elbows with any number of locals who commonly refer to The Bar as home. 2168 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-485-1232

The Bayou
The Bayou isn't called "Beervana" for nothing, and if you doubt the extent of this Salt Lake City institution's beer list, then drop on by and prepare to get enlightened. It's so expansive you could spill beer anywhere on a globe and likely pick a brew from that country and find it stocked at The Bayou. Whether your brew is a Gulden Draak triple dark ale from Belgium, a Taj Mahal from India or a Kona Longboard lager from Hawaii, you can find it in The Bayou's United Nations of beer, along with beers from all the local microbreweries. During the weekends, there's all that beer to choose from while you listen to live music and nosh down on some tasty Southern cuisine ranging from jambalaya and muffaleta sandwiches to deep-fried Twinkies and alligator cheesecake. 645 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-961-8400,

The Garage
This off-the-beaten-path bar & grill has all the gritty charm of a classic roadhouse with none of the Patrick Swayze-instigated violence. Instead, you'll find friendly staff, a full bar and some of the tastiest fried victuals in town, like the sumptuous fried chicken and the deep-fried funeral potatoes, a devilish twist on some nostalgic Mormon cuisine. The Garage has two bars, two stages, a cornhole setup in the back and a regular lineup of killer local and national blues and rock bands. The Garage, 1199 N. Beck Street, Salt Lake City, 801-521-3904,

The Republican
It may not look like much from the outside, but that's part of its charm. Once inside, this Irish pub is about as close as you're likely to get to an old-fashioned soccer bar. There's always a match on TV, but if you're not in the mood, you can pass the time with drinks, the occasional pub quiz and plenty of pub games. 917 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-595-1916

The Sun Trapp
This cozy, friendly LGBT-owned and -operated social club is all sparkly, remodeled and under new management. A spacious patio and two bars accommodate weekend crowds, but a friendly group of regulars is sure to greet you any day of the week. Johnny Disco's bloody marys are a surefire cure for what ails you, and co-owner/manager Frank Chugg slings a midweek mind eraser you wouldn't believe. The bar offers a range of iced-tea-style drinks along with IPAs, Moscow mules and some top-shelf booze at moderate prices. Dart tournaments Friday, karaoke Mondays. 102 S. 600 West, Salt Lake City, 385-235-6786,

The Urban Lounge
With the owners of The Urban Lounge having opened Rye Diner & Drinks next door in 2014, you can now think of pre-music and post-music visits to Rye as necessary bookends to a night at The Urban Lounge. Before the music—ranging from electronic, rock and metal—enjoy munchies like shoyu fried chicken and truffled mac & cheese, and afterward, duck back into Rye for craft cocktails like the Smoking Jacket, made with (what else?) bourbon. And with recent adjustments to the Urban Lounge's schedule—including early and late shows being booked in the same night, and frequent free concerts—as well as the option to reserve a VIP booth so you can have a comfortable spot from which to watch the stage, there are more reasons than ever to visit. 241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-746-0557,

The Woodshed
Billing itself as "a fun neighborhood dive with a touch of class," The Woodshed is a local favorite for live music, the occasional art show and much more. It boasts one of the city's largest outdoor patios, ideal for summertime get-togethers. Being located in close proximity to some of the best taco carts around town certainly doesn't hurt, either. 60 E. 800 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0805

Trails Gentlemen's Club
When asked what it's best known for, the response is "boobs" with a frank smile. Here you can enjoy watching exotic dancers while you eat an 8-ounce steak— it's just $5. The service is always friendly and prompt. Don't plan on a soulful conversation since the music is loud and the lights dim—but then again, isn't that the point? 921 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-363-2871,

Twilite Lounge
In downtown Salt Lake City, Twilite Lounge has the classic feel of a cozy, neighborhood bar. The interior is a throwback to yesteryear, and just about everything retains the old-school '70s vibe—except for the recently remodeled bathrooms. 347 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-9400,

Willie's Lounge
Founded in 1948, Willie's claims to be among the longest continuously operated bars in Salt Lake City. Now, they cater to snow bros, the hip, the humble and the Derby Girl crowd. Willie's has 15 specialized drinks, all named after roller derby's high rollers. There's also a "mind-eraser" menu of drinks sure to live up to their names. Willie's has your appetite covered: A delivery service brings in food from nearby restaurants. 1716 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-487-9578,

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  • x-Wife's Place

X-Wife's Place
Contrary to the rumors of out-of-towners, it is possible to get a drink in Utah, and if you do as the locals do, you'll go to a watering hole where you can get a drink or four that won't break the bank. A destination for the discriminating patron of dive establishments, X-Wife's Place is a bar with character and friendly vibes where you can also get a shot and a beer for around $5, if not cheaper. The cheap drinks are just an added bonus at this cash-only bar when you also factor in the classic pinball machines, multiple pool tables and great summertime patio. It's insane how this much fun won't cost you that much. 465 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-532-1954


5 Monkeys
Owned and operated since 2007 by father & son team Craig and Ryan Oliver, 5 Monkeys is hidden on the edge of the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray. It's not tough to pick out, though, with its giant monkey mural. Once inside, you'll be hooked by the free pool (on well-maintained tables), hot wings and cold draft beer (one year, 5 Monkeys took first place in City Weekly's Coldest Beer Issue at 28.8 degrees). 7 E. 4800 South, Murray, 801-266-1885,

A Bar Named Sue
With a friendly staff and an abundance of gaming options, A Bar Named Sue is a great choice for a night out. There's live entertainment four nights a week, free pool, darts and shuffleboard, as well as great appetizers, salads and burgers to go with your drinks. A weekly lineup includes karaoke, live bands, a pub quiz and just about anything else you might need from a bar. 3928 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-274-5578,

A Bar Named Sue on State
The sister location to Sue's eastern basement spot hasn't been around nearly as long, but has quickly created the same vibe. A Bar Named Sue on State is a wide-open space that manages to not feel too cavernous allows patrons to enjoy live music while still being able to have conversations over the diverse menu of pub fare. A visitor on any night can participate in gaming—like pool, darts and shuffleboard—and the watching of games on the TVs spaced throughout the bar. 8136 S. State, Midvale, 801-566-3222,

Barbary Coast
The only Salt Lake City bar that we know of guarded by an elk skull, the Barbary Coast isn't just for bikers. This place packs it in for Monday Night Football like few sports bars can. Chase the Saturday- and Sunday-morning blues away with the biker breakfast. Wednesday nights feature Italian cuisine. Meat-lovers will love Thursday steak night. Live music Friday and Saturday. In the summer, try the amazing 1/2-pound burger on the open-air, covered patio. 4242 S. State, Murray, 801-265-9889

'Bout Time
With nine locations throughout Utah (and a couple more in Colorado), 'Bout Time is exactly what a sports bar should be. There's a fun, inviting atmosphere, gaming tables, darts, food, drinks, and, of course, dozens of TVs scattered throughout the bar. If it's competitive and broadcasted, 'Bout Time will be able to find it for you. Multiple locations,

Canyon Inn
Located since 1948 at the foot of Big Cottonwood Canyon, Canyon Inn is a favorite of skiers—but that doesn't mean nothing's happening during the warmer months. Outdoor Sunset Sessions concerts liven up the summer and live music keeps the house lively on weekends throughout the year. The legendary Chicago-style pizza will keep your hunger at bay. Thursday "Sin" Nights are a good opportunity to mingle with those in the ski industry. 3700 E. Fort Union Blvd., Cottonwood Heights, 801-943-6969,

Cheers To You Midvale
Cheers To You Midvale lives up to its name as a friendly neighborhood bar where everybody knows one another's names—after a few Ricky Specials, you'll get to know them, too! (But beware: After a few more, you might be apt to forget.) With free pool tables Sunday and Monday, Saturday karaoke and Wednesday trivia nights, there's almost always something fun going on. 7642 S. State, Midvale, 801-566-0871,

  • Austen Diamond
  • Club 90

Club 90
Sandy's Club 90 is big: two floors, a stage and dance floor for the karaoke crowd on Thursday nights and live music on Fridays and Saturdays, a 150-seat patio and a newly remodeled game room. For anyone with an appetite, Club 90 is all about the best in food and drink at unbeatable prices. Order a Crown & Coke for $4.50. Other daily specials include $2 Tuesday tacos and $6.95 half-pound New York steaks on Monday. Karaoke with the bar's own band on Thursday, or enjoy live music Friday and Saturday. 9065 S. Monroe St. (150 West), Sandy, 801-566-3254,

Duces Wild
The owner and staff describe the bar as "Cheers with boobies"—it's your "slightly naughty neighborhood bar." A full bar with an affable wait staff and performers who talk to the clientele, Duces' amiable spirit means that whether you're there for the beer or the girls, it's all good. 2750 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-467-4600,

There are three big attractions at Habits: food, dancing and poker. Wait—four. Forgot the fashion shows. Make that five: karaoke. And televised sports, so six. The thing is, Habits does them all exceptionally well. The food—steak, salmon, sushi, appetizers and more—is prepared by a real chef. And where else will you find a sunken dance floor with video mixes? Or an '80s night where the music and food prices are retro? Be advised: Habits enforces a dress code on weekends—check the website for details. 832 E. 3900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-268-2228,

  • Austen Diamond
  • Hog Wallow Pub

Hog Wallow Pub
The best feature of Hog Wallow Pub—located near the historic Old Mill in Cottonwood Heights—isn't even available for several months out of the year. With a number of secluded tables tucked among the trees, the large patio is the perfect space to get a post-hike or -bike beer and snack. Luckily, for those cold winter months, the interior is also a cozy space to hear live local bands, ranging from funk to folk. 3200 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Cottonwood Heights, 801-733-5567,

Huka Bar & Lounge
If you haven't made the Huka scene lately, you're missing out. The Huka Bar & Lounge features hookah-adorned tables, go-go dancers on Thursday, DJs Thursday through Saturday, and sexy barkeeps and servers to ensure you remain perfectly lit. An ample draft-beer and -cider selection, drink specials every night and a diverse menu featuring the ever-popular Huka pulled pork make it an inviting place for a relaxing date night. Thursday night specials include $5 AMFs and $4 fireball shots. 151 E. 6100 South, Murray, 801-281-4852,

Liquid Joe's
A popular draw in Salt Lake City's Brickyard neighborhood since the mid-'90s, Liquid Joe's hasn't changed much, and it hasn't had to. Live music—mostly cover bands like '80s dorks the Spazmatics and '90s act Sounds Like Teen Spirit (wherefore art thou, Money Shot?)—remains a priority. You can still get a huge, frosty mug of domestic beer as well as well-chosen microbrews—or a nice, numbing Long Island iced tea. Maybe, if you're, y'know, charming, you can make a friend. If not, the taco cart is a great last-call consolation prize. 1249 E. 3300 South, 801-467-5637,

Lumpys Highland
If you have ever wondered what the classic Cheers (the one from TV) would look like if it had been updated for the 21st century, Lumpys Highland would be a pretty good bet. A mix of vintage and new autographed jerseys, bats and memorabilia adorn the walls and are flanked by TVs at every turn. The basement is full of pool tables, a second bar, a DJ booth and the occasional live band. 3000 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-484-5597,

Paper Moon
Recently celebrating "twenty dyketastic years" in Salt Lake City, the Paper Moon is a whole lot of fun. Dancing is the main attraction (besides ladies), especially on Saturday nights, when the club's shejays are spinning. Fridays are reserved for drag or variety shows and fundraisers, and cover is only $5 after 8 p.m. on those nights. Thursdays are for poker, with The Wasatch Poker Tour dealing cards from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. There's also an art gallery and a sweet backyard patio. 3737 S. State, Salt Lake City,

Sandy Station
If you really want to get sandy in Sandy, why not spend a summer evening on the 4,000-square-foot outdoor patio at this nightclub, with a little strip of beach and fire pits for cozy socializing? Sandy Station has club nights to get your groove on and special events and live music on occasion throughout the year. 8925 S. 255 West, Sandy, 801-255-2289,

The Jolly Roger is for real. In fact, Scallywags is bedecked in all kinds of pirate memorabilia—and it has a full-on poopdeck (there are a lot of birds flapping around) with a view of scenic State Street. Inside, though, Scallywags is clean—almost too clean for a pirate joint. In fact, it looks more like a downtown dance club than a neighborhood bar. Actually, it's kind of both: a hipster joint minus the pretentiousness, plus hookahs and a bumpin' sound system. 3040 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-604-0869

The Huddle
The Huddle stands out as one of Utah's best sports bars, with unobstructed views of its 24 monitors equipped with big-ticket games: NBA, MLB, NASCAR, NFL, PGA, etc. And, as if that weren't enough, friendly servers keep the food & drinks coming, which is much better than hopping up and down all afternoon to grab a cold one from your fridge. Try the manager's favorite steak sandwich or chow down on a chile verde burrito. 2400 E. Fort Union Blvd. (7200 South), Cottonwood Heights, 801-438-8300,

The Leprechaun Inn
This nice little neighborhood bar is tucked away in Ivy Place, where 700 East turns into the Van Winkle Expressway. It's divided between a rumpus room with tall tables, pool and a great jukebox, and a darker area with booths where you can shoot the breeze with buddies or watch the game. The food, typical pub fare, is above par—or at least it seemed that way after quaffing a few hefty mugs. And shots. But that's all that matters, right? That you had a good time? 4700 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-268-3294,

The Royal
The Royal doesn't hedge its bets: It's all about the music here. Yes, there are TVs and food, but the clientele comes to rock out to all manner of bands that rotate in. Thanks to The Royal's suburban location, the patrons cover a wide age spectrum. Show up on a weekend and you'll be dancing alongside 25-, 45- and 65-year-olds all having a good time. 4760 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-590-9940,

The Spur
Dating back to the 2002 Winter Olympics, the Spur does everything in its own, feisty way. As the bartenders swap jokes, you can't help but admire what they say is one of the last all-live music venues in town. During the winter season, dinner, drinks and live music start at 5 every night of the week; in summer, the Spur is open Thursday through Sunday. Charming, rustic and always good fun, The Spur sums up the good-natured soul of Park City like no other bar. 352 Main, Park City, 435-615-1618,

The Westerner
I hate line dancing, but I love this place. A West Valley City fixture since 1962, the Westerner's dance floor will fit a fleet of big-ass trucks, or a handful of honky-tonk badonkadonks—either of which will crush you when "Boot Scootin' Boogie" plays. There's also a mechanical bull, and on Fridays, somehow otherwise innocent drunk girls are convinced to ride sans blouse. And maybe pants. There's also a mean bacon cheeseburger that goes well with a parade of rum & Cokes. 3360 S. Redwood Road, 801-972-5447, CONCERT VENUES

In the Venue/Club Sound
In the Venue might be well known as a popular all-ages venue, but its full bar, upstairs viewing area and outdoor rooftop patio make it easy for the 21-plus crowd to enjoy a drink while partaking in live music. But younger and older concert-goers alike can enjoy the eclectic music that comes to In the Venue—ranging from post-hardcore to pop to ska and more—and its central location (the Old GreekTown Trax station is across the street). Plus, the adjoining Club Sound hosts its popular LGBT-friendly Gossip night, an EDM-fueled party held every third Friday. 219 S. 600 West, Salt Lake City, 801-359-3219,

Maverik Center
The Maverik Center, which the cool kids call "The Mav," is like the Transformer of concert arenas. It can morph in size to suit ticket sales, resulting in a more theater-like setting. But with acts like Muse, Judas Priest and Barry Manilow (on 4/20, what?) coming through, it's not always necessary. Beyond that, it sounds great and there's not a bad seat in the house. 3200 S. Decker Lake Drive, 801-988-8800,

The Complex
Addressing the serious lack of music venues around town, The Complex added four in the same building, with the ability to host an event in each simultaneously. The largest, Rockwell, has a 21-plus beer garden, and two others are only available to 21-plus patrons. Vertigo is a venue with VIP seating and a mezzanine, while The Vibe is outfitted with TVs and plays host to weekly events. 536 W. 100 South, 888-316-5387,

The Depot
Modeled on concert spaces popularized by Hard Rock Cafe, The Depot is one of the bigger, non-arena music venues in downtown Salt Lake City. One of the best features of this place is the multiple viewing levels, which allows for all-ages shows where 21-plus attendees can grab a drink upstairs. The other big benefit? There truly isn't a bad vantage point in the house for when you don't wish to be crammed in the front with the über-fans. 400 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-456-2800,

The Great Saltair
Have you ever wanted to watch a concert in a rebuilt 19th-century castle that has burned down three times but usually feels pretty chilly inside and has a briny aroma? Hey, it ain't Castle Donington, but it's ours—and it was good enough for Dio (miss you, shawty!). Besides, if you're gonna see a metal show, do it somewhere freaky. Bonus creeps: Saltair was the setting for the 1962 horror film Carnival of Souls. 12408 W. Saltair Drive, Magna, 801-250-6205,

The State Room
As is more and more often the case, being able to sit down at a concert is a rare luxury. And, even if you find an oasis among the crowd, it's almost never the case that you get to sit and actually see the onstage proceedings. That sought-after combination is one of the reasons discerning music fans know that The State Room—housed in a former theater—is a top-shelf spot to experience live music, one where you can catch every second of a singer-songwriter's intricate guitar solo without getting an elbow in the eye. Add in an excellent sound system, a bar, a diverse music lineup and a space in front of the stage for dancing, and you've got a venue that knows how to keep everyone happy. 638 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-596-3560,

Usana Amphitheater
"Utah's Concert Experience" brings arena shows outdoors. That means you can choose from reserved stadium seating or—for fans on a budget—first-come, first-served general-admission lawn space. Wherever you land, it's a blast to watch Motley Crüe or Toby Këith under the stars. You know, alternating gulps of fresh air with swigs from the $9 beers in each hand, giving backhanded fist-bumps to people who just left the Honey Bucket and not thinking twice about it. That's real freedom. 5125 S. 6400 West, 801-417-5343, Usana-Amp.Com


New Kids on tHe Block
What's new and tasty in Salt Lake City dining.
By Ted Scheffler

The past couple of years have been a bonanza for food and drink lovers in Salt Lake City. Never before has such a concentration of excellent restaurants opened their doors, nor have we seen such culinary diversity. Menus spanning the globe—from pizza, sandwiches and pasta to ceviche, ramen, pho, dim sum, Mexican street tacos and Indian are now the norm on the Salt Lake City dining scene, rather than the exception. Here are a few of the new kids on the block that are worth your attention.

Alamexo Mexican Kitchen
Modern-Mex might be the best way to describe the vibe and cuisine at Alamexo. The ambiance combines contemporary design with classical Mexican themes, and so does the menu. AnoutstandingAlamexo starter is the a fresh-made tamale with seared shrimp and silky chipotle-cream salsa.Don't miss the poblano: two enchiladas filled with tender pulled pork seasoned with avocado leaf, then baked in a rich, dark poblano sauce and topped with fresh Mexican cheese, white onion and toasted sesame seeds. 268 S. State, 801-779-4747,

click to enlarge The Annex by Epic Brewing - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • The Annex by Epic Brewing

The Annex by Epic Brewing
When is a brewpub not a brewpub? When the food is as distinctive and delicious as it is at The Annex, where menu items like steelhead trout with Beluga lentils, herb-fried chicken with fried green tomatoes, and Niman Ranch beef tartare mingle with selections such as steamed Bouchot mussels and housemade tagliatelle with beef-cheek ragout. And, of course, an epic selection of Epic brews is always available, to boot. 1048 E. 2100 South, 801-742-5490,

Beer Bar
When Ty Burrell decided to open Beer Bar with his partners, he wanted to keep the menu simple: mostly sausages in their many-splendored forms. So, customers select from a bevy of handmade artisan sausages, with flavors ranging from curry bratwurst, Mediterranean turkey, and lamb with herbs, to buffalo with chipotle, hot Louisiana and vegetarian. Pick a brew from the massive beer list, and you're on your way. 161 E. 200 South, 801-355-2287

Bistro 222 - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Bistro 222

Bistro 222
The ambiance at Bistro 222 is as snazzy and modern as the food is comforting. Chef Dave Bible's inviting menu offers up stick-to-the-ribs dishes like lamb osso buco, buttermilk fried chicken, five-spice pork and beans, and Utah Red Trout, along with a selection of can't miss wood-fired-oven pizzas. At lunchtime, it's hard to resist the pot roast sandwich made with braised Wagyu beef. 222 S. Main, 801-456-0347,

Boulevard Bistro
This restaurant's low-key exterior doesn't really prepare you for what's inside: a gleaming, inviting dining room with modern art and contemporary furnishings; a long, sleek bar; and turquoise placemats on each granite tabletop. The Pacific calamari is reallygood, and the pan-seared red trout looks like a work of art, sitting on a rectangular plate with curved corners: a large fillet drizzled with brown butter and topped with hazelnuts and capers. 1414 S. Foothill Drive (Foothill Village), 801-953-1270,

Del Mar al Lago
Del Mar al Lago is justifiably well-known for its outstanding fresh ceviche. However, there's a lot more going on here than delectable citrus-marinated seafood. Try the for instance: strips of beef marinated in soy sauce, vinegar and Peruvian spices, then stir-fried with onions and tomatoes. It's heaven with a Pisco sour to sip alongside. 310 Bugatti Drive, 801-467-2890

Dim Sum House
They say about dim sum: "You win some; you lose some." But not at Dim Sum House, where the dim sum dishes are all winners. House faves include the porridge-like soup ; delicate shrimp dumplings known as pork buns; pan-fried scallion pancakes; chicken feet (yes, I said ); and scrumptious rice-flour rolls. 1158 S. State, 801-359-3838,

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Eva's Bakery
This cozy French-style brings a little slice of Paris to our town. Owner Charlie Perry and his talented team make rustic breads such as Kalamata olive loaves and crunchy baguettes starting with nothing more than organic local flour, water and salt. Those tasty breads are the basis for the decadent open-face croque monsieur, but you'll also find personal-size pizzas, muffins, sandwiches, croissants, cookies, pastries and much more at Eva's, including wine. 155 S. Main, 801-355-3942,

Even Stevens Sandwiches - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Even Stevens Sandwiches

Even Stevens Sandwiches
This little sandwich shop oozes good karma. That's because for every Even Stevens sandwich sold, another is donated to someone in our community who is underfed. So, with every sandwich purchase, you're really buying sammiches: one for you, and one for someone who is hungry and in need. Top pick: The Sloppy Tina, a spot-on vegetarian version of a sloppy Joe, made with mushrooms and chickpeas in a zippy tomato-based sauce.414 E. 200 South, 385-355-9105,

From Scratch
From Scratch is aptly named, since virtually everything is made in-house, from scratch, including breads, buns and pizza dough made from flour milled on the premises, along with mustard, pastas, and even ketchup—all housemade. The wood-fired pizzas are irresistible, but don't overlook the bodacious burgers and sensational salads. 62 E. Gallivan Ave., 801-538-5090,

Harbor Seafood & Steak Co.
A welcoming lounge area and communal table invite patrons into the Harbor experience, where you'll find top-notch seafood and steaks at prices that won't destroy your dining budget. Begin with the generously portioned tuna carpaccio with light citrus vinaigrette, then move on to tempting entrees like seared black cod with citrus butter, or hanger steak with peppercorn sauce. Like the food, service at Harbor is A-1 as well. 2302 Parley's Way, 801-466-9827,

Ho Mei BBQ
At Ho Mei BBQ, you'll find a dizzying array of dishes—more than 200 menu items—with a focus on Cantonese-style barbecue. That means Peking duck with a glistening sheen, barbecued pork belly and ribs, whole spiced cuttlefish, and non-barbecue treats like the luscious rice rolls and free-range soy-sauce chicken. Friendly servers help decode the sometimes mysterious menu for gringos. 3370 S. State, 801-486-8800,

click to enlarge Karma Indian Cuisine - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Karma Indian Cuisine

Karma Indian Cuisine
Breaking the standard Indian eatery mold, Karma Indian Cuisine is an eye-popping restaurant that would be as at home in Las Vegas as in Sandy. The interior is stylish and fashionable and the food is fab. Try coconut-cream-based korma, in any of its Karma iterations, and you'll swoon. The tangy vindaloo is top-notch, too. 863 E. 9400 South, Sandy, 801-566-1134,

Kimi's Chop & Oyster House
Sugar House's main fine-dining venue features luxurious décor combined with excellent steaks and seafood. Kick things off with oysters on the half-shell before diving into dishes like the sliced bavette steak with a rich port reduction, or perhaps delicious cashew-crusted sea bass with leek-butter sauce. Decadent desserts round out the Kimi's dining experience. 2155 S. Highland Drive, 801-946-2079,

Pho Thin Famous Vietnamese Noodle House
Bringing contemporary styling and Vietnamese cuisine to Sugar House, Pho Thin offers a wide range of delectable Southeast Asian dishes ranging from classic phoand stir-fry options to assemble-at-the-table rice rolls. And don't miss the five-spice chicken or the tender beef with yellow curry. 2121 E. McClelland St. (1050 East), 801-485-2323

Luna Blanca Taqueria
Opting for a "less-is-more" approach, Luna Blanca's menu consists of a handful of appetizers, a soup of the day, a couple of salads, three quesadillas, a selection of tacos and burritos, side dishes and desserts. The taco is delicious: a freshly made corn tortilla topped simply with chile-braised pork morsels, roasted pineapple pieces and cilantro. But be sure to save room for the housemade frozen treats. 3158 E. 6200 South, 801-944-5862,

Self-described as "an American craft kitchen," Provisons offers innovative modern American cuisine in a small-plate/large-plate format. Tempting small plates include roasted meatballs with Rockhill Creamery Gruyere, barbecue Niman Ranch pork ribs and spiced fried quail. On the large-plate side, there's with braised rabbit, seared diver scallops with celery-root puree, caramelized black cod with Meyer lemon confit and more. 3364 S. 2300 East, 801-410-4046,

R&R Barbecue
The twin brothers behind R&R—Rod and Roger—have garnered first-place awards at various barbecue competitions, including SLC's Rock 'n' Ribs contest, and invitations to cook at the Jack Daniel's World Barbecue Championship. So, this is barbecue. The brisket is as great as any you'll find in Texas, and even side dishes such as hushpuppies and fried okra are gold-medal winners. 307 W. 600 South, 801-364-0443,

Rye Diner & Drinks
Operated by the same folks who flood the town with live music at The Urban Lounge, Rye Diner & Drinks is a casual, hipster eatery with food that'll bowl you over. Chef Tommy Nguyen's shoyu fried chicken is nothing short of awe-inspiring, and his Asian-style "street dumplings" are a delicious slam-dunk. steak frites are absolutely killer, especially with a side of spicy seasoned french fries. Rye rocks. 239 S. 500 East, 801-364-4655,

Saffron Valley East India Cafe
Cooking up some of the most savory cuisine in The Avenues, Lavanya Mahate's Saffron Valley East India Cafe specializes in Indian and Indo-Chinese cuisines, particularly street foods such as samosaspakoraskebabsand such. Highlights include fiery chicken madras curry and the triple-delightful , a trio of Swiss chard, spinach and mustard greens bathed in a light, creamy, cheese-curd sauce. Excellent service and beautiful décor provide extra added appeal. 26 E St., 801-203-3325,

Skewered Thai
Situated in a cozy brick house across the street from Trolley Square, this one-off Thai eatery is a veritable gold mine of bold flavors. Fresh spring rolls or skewered beef and chicken satayare excellent starting points, and pad thai, of course, is a must-have. Be sure to order the (drunken noodle), a platter of wide, pan-fried rice noodles and a distinctively spicy mélange of tender shrimp, red bell pepper, mushrooms, broccoli, carrot, tomato, fresh chili, egg, onion and fragrant Thai basil. 575 S. 700 East, 801-364-1144,

Sole Mio Ristorante
If you're looking for family-friendly ambiance and hearty Sicilian fare, Sandy's Sole Mio Ristorante has your number. It's a family affair, with Chef Franco at the helm in the kitchen and relatives cooking, serving and greeting patrons like they, too, were family members. The pizzas are great, and so are the pasta dishes, especially the housemade gnocchi and ravioli. 8657 S. Highland Drive, Sandy, 801-942-2623

Spitz is the self-proclaimed "home of the kebab," which is very similar to what, in other locales, might be called , or gyro. It's sandwiches and wraps filled (mostly) with rotisserie-cooked meats like beef and lamb. But don't pass up the addictive fried chickpeas with olives, which are a nice nosh with a Spitz craft cocktail, beer, sangria or glass of wine to sip alongside. 35 E. 300 South, 801-364-0286,

Taqueria 27
Taking the classic Mexican street taco and elevating it to gourmand quality is the M.O. at Todd Gardiner's Taqueria 27. The innovative tacos come with varying toppings: The, for example, is slow-roasted pork with pickled red onion, and charred tomatillo salsa. There's also a wild-mushroom taco made with an assortment of roasted mushrooms,queso fresco, chimichurri and garnished with crispy fried leek strips. Bonus: an excellent tequila selection. 1615 S. Foothill Drive, 385-259-0712; 4670 Holladay Village Plaza, 801-676-9706,

Tosh's Ramen
Named for owner/chef Toshio Sekikawa, Tosh's Ramen has quickly become Salt Lake City's ramen mecca. Tosh makes his ramen from scratch, simmering meat bones overnight, and the best way to experience the rich-yet-subtle ramen is to order ramen. It's glistening broth served in a huge ramen bowl with a very generous helping of excellent wheat and egg noodles and adorned with crunchy bean sprouts, thin-sliced pork belly, half a hard-cooked egg, and minced scallions. 1465 S. State, 801-466-7000,

Valter's Osteria
Although Valter Nassi has been pleasing Utah customers for decades at restaurants such as Cucina Toscana and Il Sansovino, his most recent venture—Valter's Osteria—is fairly fresh and new. As always, Valter serves as maestroof his domain, warmly greeting patrons old and new like family. And classic Italian fare such as Nassi's signature chicken , and luscious housemade gnocchi with mushroom-cream sauce, combined with über-professional table service, make Valter's a can't-miss downtown dining destination. 173 W. 300 South, 801-521-4563,


They Built This City
These best-loved eateries paved the way for the new stars of Salt Lake City dining.
By Ted Scheffler

With all of the hip, shiny new eateries to come our way in the past few years (see p. 74), it's easy to forget about those brave restaurateurs who paved the way for the newbies. It wasn't very long ago that Salt Lake City was a culinary desert, and finding fresh, wholesome foods in local restaurants was no more than a food lover's pipe dream. But thanks to a few bold pioneers who went "all in" and bet on Salt Lakers' palates to support high-quality restaurant fare, new trails were broken. Here are a few of those trailblazers to whom newer restaurateurs might owe a debt of gratitude.

Bombay House - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Bombay House

Bombay House
One of Utah's first Indian eateries, Bombay House was started by Daniel Shanthakumar, Harpal Toor and Ajmer Singh in 1993. Since then, it's provided the template for excellence in Indian cuisine in our area. Menu highlights include favorites like chicken tikka masala, lamb vindaloo and saag aloo, along with more contemporary dishes such as tofu vindaloo and mushroom jalfrazie. As always, Bombay House service and ambiance is top-notch. 2731 Parley's Way, 801-581-0222,

click to enlarge Cafe Madrid - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Cafe Madrid

Cafe Madrid
When the original Cafe Madrid opened its doors in 1997, it filled a much needed hole in the culinary landscape: a distinct void and absence of Spanish cuisine here in Salt Lake City. Today, and after moving to a larger, more attractive home, Cafe Madrid continues to cater to those looking for the flavors of Spain, with a far-reaching menu that ranges from hot and cold tapas to entrees like sea bass in creamy shrimp sauce, traditional paella, grilled duck breast with apple-honey glaze, and tuna with roasted piquillo peppers. 5244 S. Highland Drive, 801-273-0837,

Caffe Molise
For more than 20 years, Caffe Molise has been filling the bellies of customers with authentic, upscale Italian fare in a friendly and warm setting. In spring and summer, there's no place you'd rather be than sitting by the fountain on the Caffe Molise patio, sipping a glass of sparkling Prosecco and diving into dishes like housemade polenta cakes with tomato-basil sauce, the hearty pappardelle al sugo, scrumptious gnocchi di patate, or the crowd-pleaser since 1994: classic Sicilian lasagna. 55 W. 100 South, 801-364-8833,

Cedars of Lebanon
At Cedars of Lebanon, the first family-owned Mediterranean restaurant in Salt Lake City, owners Raffi and Marlen have been feeding customers from recipes dating back to their childhoods for more than three decades. Warm hospitality and an exotic ambiance are an invitation to enjoy Lebanese and Moroccan flavors such as kebabs, kibbeh, shawarma, lamb pastilla, shrimp tagine and much more. Don't miss the belly dancers performing on Friday and Saturday evenings. 152 E. 200 South, 801-364-4096,

Gourmandise the Bakery
Now in its 24th year, Gourmandise has been supplying Salt Lake City's sweet tooth with its dizzying array of European-style pastries and desserts for decades. And yet, there is so much more to this eatery than just sweet stuff. Gourmandise has a terrific wine and beer selection to pair with foods such as seafood risotto, au poivre slow-roasted tri-tip steak, Mediterranean ragout, and, of course, famous fresh-baked quiches. 250 S. 300 East, 801-328-3330,

Since 1948, when Frank Granato founded his namesake company, bringing imported Italian and Mediterranean foodstuffs to Utah, Granato's has been a cornerstone of culinary culture in Salt Lake City. Along with a grocery stuffed full of pastas, olive oils, vinegars and the like, Granato's is renowned for its overstuffed deli sandwiches like the Godfather and the Il Grande, along with hot entrees such as chicken parmesan and classic lasagna. Multiple locations,

click to enlarge Grove Market - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Grove Market

Grove Market
Originally opened by Greek immigrant Pete Savas in 1947, Grove Market is among the most beloved institutions in Salt Lake City—for food lovers, at least. The market is stuffed from floor to ceiling with every type of imported food you could imagine, yet there's still room (barely) for a line to form as people belly up to the deli counter to order ginormous sandwiches like the ever-popular Big John, which features seven deli meats—salami, ham, corned beef, pastrami, bologna, turkey and roast beef—piled 3 to 4 inches high, then topped with both Swiss and American cheeses, plus mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickle and pepperoncinis. Whew! 1906 S. Main, 801-467-8860,

La Caille
Originally opened in 1975, La Caille is an iconic restaurant and special-event venue, styled as a 18th-century French chateau with 20 acres of gardens, streams, ponds, peacocks, vineyards and more. Gone are the bustiers that the female servers once sported, and the menu, too, has been updated with contemporary choices like fresh Koosharem trout, Mary's free-range duck, roasted Morgan Valley Lamb loin, and potato-crusted halibut. 9565 Wasatch Blvd., Sandy, 801-942-1751,

Lamb's Grill
Most restaurants are considered a success if they last a decade. Well, here's longevity for you: Lamb's Grill recently celebrated its 95th birthday. Greek immigrant George P. Lamb opened Lamb's Grill on George Washington's birthday, Feb. 22, 1919, in Logan. In 1939, Lamb's relocated to its current location in the Herald Building in downtown Salt Lake City, where the eatery has remained largely unchanged since. Along with tried & true dishes like trout Amandine and sautéed calf liver, Lamb's also offers up more contemporary flavors such as Moroccan lamb burgers and crab cakes with honey-basil vinaigrette. 169 S. Main, 801-364-7166,

Log Haven
Originally constructed in 1920 as a log mansion and converted into a restaurant in 1958, the current incarnation of Log Haven restaurant is 20 years old. Through the years, Chef Dave Jones has continued to thrill Log Haven diners with his eclectic cuisine—a mélange of Pacific Rim and Southwestern flavors, as evidenced by dishes such as his sambal-miso chicken drumettes, tempura-sprouted tofu, and pozole rojo with shrimp and chorizo. 6451 E. Millcreek Canyon Road, 801-272-8255,

Lone Star Taqueria
Since 1995, Lone Star Taqueria has been providing Salt Lakers with authentic Mexican beach-style cuisine, including justifiably famous fish tacos. The seaside-shack ambiance and tempting south-of-the-border specialties like carnitas, carne asada, pollo asado, carne desebrada, and machaca just beg for a cold cerveza to sip alongside. 2265 E. Fort Union Blvd., 801-944-2300,

Mazza Middle Eastern Cuisine
It's hard to imagine a time without Mazza, since this appealing Middle Eastern eatery has become such a Salt Lake City culinary landmark. Owner Ali Sabbah opened the original Mazza as a tiny cafe more than 10 years ago, then followed up with the larger and more elaborate 9th & 9th location a few years later. At both spots, authentic Middle Eastern fare is the order of the day, along with interesting libations including wines from Lebanon and Morocco. 912 E. 900 South, 801-521-4572; 1515 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9259,

The New Yorker
Built in 1978 with a 1940s art deco ambiance, The New Yorker has been one of Salt Lake City's most enduring and venerable fine-dining establishments for decades. It's the kind of place that makes you want to don your best suit or party gown as you enjoy classic cocktails or a glass of Champagne alongside Chef Will Pliler's impeccable modern-American cuisine. 60 W. Market St., 801-363-0166,

Pat's Barbecue - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Pat's Barbecue

Pat's Barbecue
For more than two decades, barbecue pit master Pat Barber has been satisfying Salt Lake City's barbecue hunger with his smoked meats and poultry. Folks line up on Fridays for "burnt ends" day, but every day, customers can enjoy Pat's killer barbecued chicken, pulled pork, brisket, ribs and the like, plus soulful live music and a fun and funky ambiance. 155 W. Commonwealth Ave., 801-484-5963,

The Pie
University of Utah college kids, Salt Lake City pizza lovers, families and just about everyone else have been flocking to The Pie for their pizza needs for more than 35 years. The original Pie pizzeria, located underneath the University Pharmacy, has graffiti-covered brick walls that help tell the eatery's long and beloved history. Indeed, writing on walls at The Pie locations is de rigueur. Today, there are five different locations to enjoy The Pie's award-winning pizzas, brews and more. Multiple locations,

click to enlarge Tres Hombres Mexican Grill & Cantina - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Tres Hombres Mexican Grill & Cantina

Tres Hombres Mexican Grill & Cantina
Having celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014, Tres Hombres is about as sturdy and dependable as restaurants in this day and age come. Inspired by the ZZ Top album Tres Hombres, this venerable Mexican-style eatery dishes up big, bold flavors that aren't too hard on the wallet. Menu faves include the El Puerco burrito and the Zacatecas enchiladas filled with tender shrimp, crab meat, green chiles and queso fresco. The extensive tequila selection adds a little ole! to the festivities. 3298 S. Highland Dr, 801-466-0054,

Red Iguana
Since 1985, the Cardenas family—owners of Red Iguana—have been treating customers like family and serving up hearty, south-of-the-border fare that, judging from the line of folks waiting for seats, has no equal. In fact, the Red Iguana has proved so popular that owner Lucy Cardenas had to open a second venue, Red Iguana 2, to help handle the hungry crowds longing for superb chile verde, authentic Mexican moles and more. 736 W. North Temple, 801-322-1489; 866 W. South Temple, 801-214-6050,

Ruth's Diner
Ruth's—the second-oldest restaurant in Utah—celebrated its 85th anniversary in 2014. Originally opened in 1930 as a hamburger joint, the current incarnation of Ruth's Diner in Emigration Canyon features a sprawling patio, beautiful canyon views and the same impeccable diner fare that's kept folks coming to Ruth's for the better part of the past century. Enjoy classics like pot roast and chicken-fried steak next to more contemporary dishes such as raspberry chicken and coconut-curry shrimp. 4160 Emigration Canyon Road, 801-582-5807,

Siegfried's Delicatessen - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Siegfried's Delicatessen

Siegfried's Delicatessen
Got schweinshaxen and britchen? You would if you'd visit Siegfried's, where those in the know go to shop for hard-to-find sausages, wurst, bacon, ham, wieners, sauerkraut and the like. And when I'm too busy to cook, I just get in line with all the other hungry Siegfried's patrons for cafeteria-style bratwurst, weisswurst, sauerkraut, roasted chicken, spaetzle, the best Reuben sandwich in town and, of course, German chocolate cake. There is also cold beer and wine to sip alongside your Bavarian feast. 20 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3891

Olympian Restaurant
Looking to feed the family at a non-chain restaurant on a Sunday? Look no farther than the Olympian, a venerable Greek family restaurant that's been open so long it's reached legendary status. No-nonsense, honest food without frills or the expense that comes with "fancy" is what you'll find here. Generous portions, excellent breakfasts (try the meatloaf and eggs), and baklava to die for are just a few of the attractions that keep faithful customers returning to the Olympian year after year. 2181 S. 700 East, 801-487-1407

The Other Place
It's hard to imagine Salt Lake City without this beloved little Greek restaurant. For decades, The Other Place has been serving stick-to-the-ribs, family-style fare at bargain prices. Highlights include dolmathes, pastichio, moussaka, roast leg of lamb and the ever-popular Mediterranean spaghetti with browned garlic and butter sauce. Don't pass up the housemade baklava. 469 E. 300 South, 801-521-6567

Tony Caputo's Market & Deli
It's hard to even imagine downtown SLC without Tony Caputo's Market & Deli; it seems like it's just always been here. Tony Caputo and son Matt supply our city with the best imported cheeses and meats, chocolates, olive oils, vinegars, pastas and more. Plus, the cafeteria-style deli is home base for excellent quick, hearty fare like Caputo's popular muffaletta sandwiches, salads, lasagna and, on Fridays, unbeatable eggplant parmesan. Multiple locations,

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