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Sugar House/Highland Drive/East Bench 

Utah's Coldest Beer 2011

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Sugar House/Highland Drive/East Bench
Sugar House doesn’t have to be defined by the Sugar Hole on the corner of 2100 South and Highland Drive. Try some of these neighborhood joints in the area, and south along Highland Drive, and you’ll find the heart of this area still beating strong.

35.0 The Tap Room
Sugar House mainstay The Tap Room is essentially that: a room with a few taps, bottles and barstools, and the locals wouldn’t have it any other way. Hit the Highland Drive-side patio for a beers-eye view of the neighborhood and, yes, the State Liquor Store. 2275 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-466-0974

35.1 Liquid Joe’s
Raging since the ’90s, it’s sometimes easy to forget that, in addition to being one of Salt Lake City’s premier party clubs, Liquid Joe’s has always been, first and foremost, a live rock & roll venue. Hollywood imports the Spazmatics and the Dope MCs (replacing the venerable Metal Gods) rule Saturdays and Thursdays, respectively, but Wednesdays and Fridays are still about giving the locals a shot onstage. 1249 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-8512,

36.3 Sugar House Pub
Formerly about the size of your living room (but much cleaner), neighborhood haunt the Sugar House Pub is newly expanded but still has the just the right balance of lounge space on the floor and sports action on the wall. 1992 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-413-2857

37.2 Wing Coop
The first glance at the wall of sports equipment and memorabilia would suggest a sports theme, but this small, comfortable hole in the mall is singularly focused on chicken wings and the variety of ways to dress them up. More restaurant than bar, you’ll need to order food before you can order a beer, but this is a good thing. Don’t let the will to live stop you from doing the “Eleven” challenge: Eating 11 of the hottest wings in 11 minutes will get you a T-shirt and a place on the “wall of pain.” 3971 S. Wasatch Blvd., Salt Lake City, 801-274-9464,

39.1 A Bar in Sugar House
One of the most exclusive bars in Salt Lake City—because only 28 “good local people” can fit inside of this A-frame chalet at a time. In keeping with the surroundings, the beer glasses are small and cheap, and, space permitting, your dog is welcome, too. 2168 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-485-1232

39.7 VFW #3586
Don’t let the obvious locals-only vibe put you off upon entering the VFW; the operators and patrons of this outpost are friendly, and after breaking the ice, will relate more stories than Walt Disney. Comprising two floors, the downstairs “Poop Deck” and the unassuming upstairs offer a personalized, comfortable space to tip one back. The downstairs’ dark décor and faux fish-tank portals at every booth will take you back to better times, when places were built with nautical-themed lounges and folks salted the dance door. 2920 S. Highland, Salt Lake City

39.6 Bongo Lounge
It’s not quite the same Highland dive it was from the ‘50s up until a recent remodel, but the Bongo Lounge is still a cozy-dark club that feels more like a Vegas Strip refuge than an east-side Salt Lake City institution. 2965 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-466-1577

40.2 Rocky Mountain Pizza Company
This local joint occupies a space built for a previous pizza chain restaurant, complete with comfortable booths and salad bar. Family friendly with a distinctive local community vibe, this is a great place for a conversation over quality food without the frills. In the summer months, you can eat at a few tables placed out front in a shopping plaza. Once you get past looking over the parking lot, the view of the valley is brilliant. 3977 S. Wasatch Blvd., Salt Lake City, 801-272-9888,

40.4 Cruzrs Saloon
A neighborhood biker joint with no use for the extra vowels, Cruzrs is good for pool (free on Wednesdays and Thursdays), pinball, pub grub and punch-outs on the tube, whether you’re rolling on two wheels or four. 3943 S. Highland Drive, Holladay, 801-272-1903

41.1 A Bar Named Sue
When a dude dreams of opening a club in his basement, it looks a lot like A Bar Named Sue. Belying its strip-mall exterior, this downstairs party zone spreads out and hosts live bands, free pool, darts, TVs galore and, best of all, booze for the budget-minded. 3928 S. Highland Drive, Holladay, 801-274-5578,

41.6 The Granite Club
There are quite a few timeworn, unsullied-by-hipsters vintage bars on our list here, but the Granite Club on Highland Drive is such a charmingly gruff capital-D Dive that it almost seems a shame to expose it to a wider public. Have a steak, play some pool, hang out on the patio—just don’t blame us when the girls-pants dudes find it. 3820 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-277-9018

41.6 Fats Grill & Pool
Unlike most every tiny, windowless bar in its Sugar House vicinity, Fats Grill & Pool has room and views to spare, upstairs and down. The pool tables (six total) are the main draw, but the food up top and the music down below ain’t bad, either. 2182 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-484-9467,

41.6 Tony’s
It looks like a dive from the outside, but Tony’s becomes a swank little East Coast cocktail joint once you step in, with nods to the West in line-dancing, barbecue and live roots music, on occasion. 3165 S. 1300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-466-0838

42.5 Fiddler’s Elbow
With more TVs than a Best Buy showroom, you’re not going to miss the game—any game—at Fiddler’s Elbow. The sports, sandwiches and suds are worth the walk by night, but the killer Sunday brunch is worth waking up for the next day. 1063 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-463-9393,

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