By Kelli Nakagama, The Utah Review - The Salt Lake City bar scene is finally overflowing with places to drink. Several new bars just joined the scene while old favorites continue to be great standbys. These days there’s a bar for all your drinking needs, you just have to know where to go. Don’t worry, I’ve done all the legwork for you. Here’s my list of the best bars in Salt Lake City.
Best Bar for Whiskey: Let’s start with my favorite libation, whiskey. The best place in Salt Lake City to whet your whistle with whiskey is definitely Whiskey Street, where they have the best selection of bourbons, ryes, and single malts in the city. Plus their food is surprisingly satisfying, too.
Best Bar for Wine: When you’re looking for a quiet space to share a bottle of wine or discover a new vino, the BTG Wine Bar (which stands for “By The Glass”) is where to go. Wine is available by the glass (obviously), bottle, or in flights to taste several simultaneously. The staff knows their stuff so feel free to ask plenty of questions. BTG serves food from their sister restaurant, Caffe Molise, too, so don’t be afraid to stay awhile.
Best Bar for Creative Cocktails: The geniuses at Bar X are the champions of mixology, combining ingredients with the imagination of true artists. Each cocktail is handcrafted with delicious detail so it takes a few minutes to make, but the patience is well worth it–the creativity here is hard to beat.
Best Bar for Beer: Whiskey is to Whiskey Street what beer is to The Beerhive. They have hundreds of beers flowing inside this classic, old world-looking pub, complete with a beautiful wood bar. The best part is the ice-lined bartop to keep your brew cold–because nobody likes warm beer. (The Beerhive is located at 128 S Main Street, Salt Lake City.)
Best Bar for Dinner + Drinks: The new Copper Common is one part bar, one part restaurant. The brainchild of the Copper Onion crew, Copper Common is first and foremost a bar serving creative cocktails, wine, and beer, while serving an eclectic mix of small plates second. (Copper Common is located at 111 East 300 South, Salt Lake City.)
Best Bar for Watching Sports: When drinking is secondary to cheering on your team, head to Lumpy’s Downtown. Every surface of the huge bar is covered with TVs, even in individual booths. The energy inside soars when the Utah Jazz or University of Utah are playing; it’s enough to convert any sports-hater into a fan.
Best Bar for Secret Meetings: Salt Lake City is harboring a secret underneath the convenience store/tavern, The Bodega: a speakeasy bar called The Rest. The secretive bar is lined with taxidermy animals and odd paintings, providing perfect conversation starters while sipping on cocktails and munching on bar food.
Best Bar With a View: Salt Lake City may not have a skyscraper rooftop bar like some cities, but The Green Pig‘s cozy view of downtown from its second story roof is a perfect place to meet friends and enjoy the warm weather in the summer.
Best Bar to Catch Up with Friends: Dick ‘n Dixie’s is a great neighborhood spot without any fuss to grab drinks with friends. The cozy bar has plenty of seats, a pool table, arcade games, a tv for game nights, and plenty of lighting so you can actually carry on a conversation. Even better: the drinks won’t cost an entire paycheck. (Dick ‘n Dixie’s is located at 479 East 300 South, Salt Lake City.)
Best Bar for Late Night Pub & Grub: On those nights when you realize way too late that forgot to eat dinner, head to the new Beer Bar. Serving 140+ beers (plus a handful of wines and liquors), its real specialty is the gourmet sausages and artisan mustards they dish out til 2 a.m. (Beer Bar is located at 161 East 200 South.)
Best Bar for Date Night: Some nights call for tiny intimate tables, swanky tunes, and candlelit darkness. Those nights are usually called date night and in those cases, The Red Door is the spot. The bartenders shake up creative martinis while DJs and jazz bands provide the sensual beats for background music.
Best Bar with a Patio: After being cooped up all winter, everyone is craving fresh air and a cocktail. Gracie’s massive patio is one of the best in the city, with two floors to satisfy your outdoor drinking needs.
Best Bar Off the Beaten Path: When you’ve exhausted the Salt Lake City bar scene, head north to The Garage for a change of scenery–literally. The patio offers a unique view of the industrial side of SLC, plus some awesome bar food, like Fried Funeral Potatoes.
Isn’t it funny that the rest of the country thinks we don’t drink here in Salt Lake City? We’ll keep it as our little secret.