Nightlife Bars and Entertainment in Utah

Utah (people of the mountains – Ute Indian). The residents of Salt Lake City are getting a tad fed up with being told there is no nightlife in Utah. They would most definitely disagree, and true enough there is plenty of opportunity to party in this Olympic city and state capital – until 1am anyway.

But Salt Lake City aside, you really don’t visit Utah for the after dinner nightlife – you visit for the skiing, white-water rafting and sheer beauty of its national parks and other attractions. Some may say (we couldn’t possibly comment) that’s a bit of a cop out and it’s more to do with the fact that 61% of more of Utah’s inhabitants are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which significantly affects culture and everyday life, and that it is an alcohol beverage control state with wine and spirits only sold off-premise at state liquor stores. Gambling is outlawed.
Not sounding like much fun so far! It’s not a total no-go zone. In fact, liquor, wine and beer over 3.2% can be served in restaurants with full service liquor licenses from noon to midnight (light beer til 1am), but limited restaurant licenses are not allowed to sell spirits. Private clubs can serve with or without food until 1am and usually offer temporary visitor card memberships for a small fee. There are around 525 licensed restaurants in the State, most found in Salt Lake, Park City, Ogden and Provo, and a further 500 or so selling beer via pubs, lounges, bars etc. Elsewhere in Utah it’s a bit of a gamble; local laws can – and often do – prohibit the sale of alcohol, including beer, on Sundays. You must be at least 21 years of age to purchase/consume alcohol.

Despite the restrictions, Utah relies heavily on tourism – particularly winter sports (its slogan is The Greatest Snow on Earth) for its state income. Most resorts are along the Wasatch Range which receives more than 500 inches of snow each year, and are above Salt Lake City, Park City, Logan, Provo Canyon and Ogden Valley. Still, after a heavy day’s skiing and snowboarding, there probably aren’t too many who’d be bothered about partying until 4am!
Located in the western US, Utah is bordered by Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico (just), Arizona and Nevada and was the 45th state admitted to the Union in 1896. Almost 99% of its 2.5m population live in and around the Wasatch Front, an urban concentration with Salt Lake City at the centre and also including the other major cities Ogden, Layton, West Valley City, Sandy, West Jordan, Orem and Provo. Elsewhere, vast parts of the state are virtually uninhabited.

There is a good range of bars, pubs and restaurants in Salt Lake City, and nightclubs including The Sandy Station, said to have the nation’s largest lightspace interactive dancefloor; Bliss Nightlife; The Cell Block; and SkyBar. Juniors Tavern on E 500 St is one of the best places for blues and jazz while The Dead Goat Saloon is described as the music hot spot for local and national bands. Lumpys, in the heart of downtown SLC, advertises itself as the best sports bar with just about every game imaginable on offer via personal tvs and remotes in the booths. Good burgers too! Restaurants are plentiful here, ranging from the reliable Hard Rock Café in Trolley Square Center, to Ichiban Sushi and Japanese to the Red Iguana in West North Temple, home of killer Mexican food
Outside Salt Lake City, it’s not all doom and gloom. In Ogden there may be only three liquor stores, but you’ll find plenty of bars and private clubs around 25th Street including Brewski’s, The City Club and Teazers. Roosters is worth a visit for its home brewed beers and there’s also a great selection of beer at The Pie Pizzeria.

Ski resorts such as Park City base their nightlife primarily on pubs and restaurants with the emphasis on solid American fare. Park City venues include The Cabin ,Wasatch Brew Pub, Deer Valley’s Seafood Buffet and Legends.

If you find yourself in Springdale, outside Zion, look out for Eddie McStiff’s Brewpub. Pretty much in the middle of nowhere, this place brews its own beer and offers good food. After a long hard hike all day in the hot summer sun, it may look like a mirage! Believe us, it’s real.