Salt Lake City Nightlife
As the centre of America’s Mormon heartland, it’s easy to imagine that Salt Lake City and nightlife are mutually exclusive. However, the city has been working hard to dispel this overtly straight-laced image over recent years, and today Salt Lake City caters for the party crowd as well as any other mid-western city - after-all there’s Utah State University’s 25,000 students to entertain here.
These days, there’s a wide variety of taverns, live music and sports bars, and a decent collection of worthwhile nightclubs across the city.
Nevertheless, alcohol licensing laws in Utah still have their own set of idiosyncrasies, and to avoid confusion rather than disappointment, they’re worth being aware of in advance. At restaurants, if you want to drink, the law says you must also order food. A drink's primary liquor cannot exceed one ounce, which is measured by a metered device, and most beer on tap is 3.2% alcohol. Some bottled beers are stronger, so ask for a non-Utah or "heavy" beer. Salt Lake City permits only two clubs or taverns per city block. Non-private clubs cannot start serving hard liquor, wine or heavy beer until noon. Like the rest of the US you must be 21 to buy or consume alcohol.
Bars in Salt Lake City
There's no shortage of sports bars in Salt Lake, but Lumpy's is one of the best. Even the booths here have their own TV screens and things get particularly rowdy when Utah Jazz, the much-loved local basketball team, are playing. Adrenaline from a big game fuels the thirst and the appetite so Lumpy's naturally has a huge drinks menu along with a substantial food menu featuring burgers, sandwiches and entrees . The prime rib sandwich is popular.
145 W. Pierpont Ave.
Tel. (866) 417 6972.
This bar is one of the city's favourite hang-out spots, for three good reasons. Firstly there's an amazing beer and wine selection that spans the globe. Secondly, add an incredible Cajun menu replete with speciality dishes you won't find anywhere else in the city, including crawfish gumbo and the best sweet potato fries outside of New Orleans. Now finally decant all this into a bar that's cozy and relaxed, with pool tables, live music and notoriously cute staff - and you've got the recipe for satisfying locals and visitors alike.
645 South State Street
Tel. (801) 961 8400.
The Desert Edge Brewery at The Pub
Microbrewery bars serving their own specialty beers brewed on-site are popular in Salt Lake City. This particular microbrewery/restaurant/bar simply know to locals as 'The Pub' wins out simply for its fantastic position, with a patio overlooking Trolley Square that's particularly popular in summer, and large west-facing windows providing great sunset views year-round. Six original beers are served here alongside a simple but imaginative bar menu of sandwiches, soups and salads.
273 Trolley Square (700 East)
Tel: 801 521 8917.
Clubs in Salt Lake City
A large nightclub situated just four blocks south of the Gateway Shopping mall, this club laid out over two floors offers an dance-floor for over 18s and a bar for over 21s. Expect an eclectic mix of styles from gothic and industrial to 80s and techno.
451 South 400 West
Tel: (801) 534 0819.
Plenty for the hedonists, as the name infers, this club offers four dance floors and even an outdoor swimming pool. DJ's who play a combination of hip hop, mash ups, and charting tracks. There even a 'ladies night' hosted every Wednesday, which the club claims is Utah's best. A VIP section with bottle service and premiere seating is available. Guests may request to be added to the club's VIP list by filling out the form on the club's website. Special event and party bookings are also available.
404 Southwest Temple
Tel: (801) 364 2547.
Club Habits is one of Utah's premiere dance clubs. The resident DJ 'Scotty B' spins the latest and hottest hip hop, electronica, and charting dance tracks to a singles-heavy and up-for-it crowd. While dancing guests will notice music videos being played on the club's three huge big screen TVs. The club boasts Utah's largest music video library and offers daily drink and food specials.
832 East 3900 South
Tel: (801) 268 2228.
Live music in Salt Lake City
Keys On Main
Keys on Main, located in the heart of Salt Lake City, brings it on in pairs. There're two bars here, and onstage a brace of grand pianos because this is a 'dueling piano' bar. A brand of particularly American 'sing-along' entertainment dating back to the late 19th century, when professional players in saloon bars across the west would slug it out over the ivories, trying to out play each other with raucous ragtime licks, for the amusement of the crowd. More than a century later, it is still well recommended for a rowdy, participatory night out.
242 South Main Street
Tel. (801) 363 3638.
South of downtown in the Millcreek district, this is a venue that knows how to rock, with a young party crowd who're usually as amped as the impressive sound system here. There are music venues that are basically bars with a stage; Liquid Joes, however, is a stage with a bar. There are no chairs here to cramp space and popular local bands provide a regular roster of nights ranging from 'hair metal' tributes to old-school hip-hop. The bartenders dispense earplugs to those who ask.
1249 East, 3300 South
Tel. (801) 467 5637.
Mo’s Neighbourhood Grill
Mo's Neighborhood Grill is a neighborhood bar that likes to provide its patrons with options. The front half is a family-friendly bistro/café where live jazz is played occasionally. At the rear, the restaurant becomes more of a traditional bar, which means several beers on tap, a pool table, and a small stage where live blues and rock bands perform regularly, making Mo's a great destination for practically everyone.
358 South, West Temple
Tel. (801) 359 0736.
This is the real deal. An authentic country-and-western dive bar where the unofficial dress code is big hats, Wrangler jeans and belt buckles the size of ashtrays. There's plenty of seating at tables and booths, but the mammoth dance floor is where the traffic is as the good-ol'-boys in the band lay down the live rocking country tunes and the whole room swings in two-step.
3360 South Redwood Road
Tel. (801) 972 5447.
Classical music in Salt Lake City
Dance in Salt Lake City
Theatres in Salt Lake City
Pioneer Theatre Company
The Pioneer Theatre Company performs classic and contemporary plays and musicals, from September to May, in their theatre at the University of Utah campus. Also located at the university is the Babcock Theatre, which stages more experimental productions.
Tel: (801) 581 6961.
Music and Dance in Salt Lake City
Abravanel Hall, which is part of the Salt Lake County Centre For The Arts, is known for its outstanding acoustics and grand four-story lobby with a spectacular city view. Abravanel Hall is the home of the well-regarded Utah Symphony Orchestra who regularly perform a variety of classical concerts here.
123 West South Temple
Tel: (801) 355 2787.