For some, it may come as an honest shock to hear that Salt Lake City has nightlife. Utah's after-hours reputation, warped by rumors of draconian liquor laws and bizarre, “members only” clubs, has not fared well. However, Salt Lake City indeed has a night life - and though no one would compare it to that of New York City or San Francisco - its night scene is nevertheless quite active, and embodies a variety of establishments. Better yet, the restrictive liquor laws of the past have been loosened; gone is the “private club,” and the membership fees. And now, after the 2008 banning of public smoking in Utah: no more stinky clothes.
A major player in the Salt Lake nightlife scene is the brewpub. In this category, downtown Salt Lake City has two: Red Rock Brewing Company and Squatters Bub Brewery. In these flexible establishments, you can eat a multicourse dinner, watch a football game, catch up with friends, or even go on a date. They're open as late as any other establishment, and offer clean, open spaces for relaxing.
Technically not a brewpub (in that they don't make their own beer), but quite similar in every other aspect, Porcupine Pub & Grill is the go-to place for any post-skiing or -hiking eating and drinking, whether you're with your friends or your children. And though they don't brew their own beers, they have the beers of three other Utah breweries on tap.
If you're looking for more traditional nightlife - like dancing, drinking, and DJs - head to the Green Street Social Club. This college-friendly bar is utterly perfect for that age group.