Brewpubs, night clubs, and concert venues: Salt Lake's surprisingly vibrant nightlife scene

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. 

Fiddlers Elbow
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Boren


Fiddler's Elbow is one of the biggest and friendliest hangs in all of Sugarhouse. At once a pub and restaurant, Fiddler's Elbow has more than 30 beers on tap at all times, as well as an extensive menu. If you're quite hungry, you can order an...  Read More



Self-described as "the place for jazz, blues, and booze" since its opening in 1974. During this time, Junior's has dodged the yuppification that has transformed most of Salt Lake City's watering holes. Sticking to its roots, Junior's provides...  Read More

Piper Down


For most of its life, Piper Down was a dark, hole-in-the-wall, Irish bar on State Street. With no windows and a somewhat off-central location, this was truly a locals-only hang. However, in 2009, this bar underwent a massive expansion. This...  Read More

Desert Edge Brewery At The Pub
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Boren


Tucked covertly into the upper recesses of Trolley Square, the Desert Edge Brewery is one of Salt Lake City's most popular and oldest breweries. Founded in 1973, Desert Edge offers more than 20 styles of beer crafted by brewer Chris Haas. Enjoy...  Read More



Since its opening in 1994, Red Rock Brewing has earned a reputation among Utah residents as being one of the state's top breweries. But beyond just Utah, Red Rock has earned serious national recognition; in 2007, it won first place at the Great...  Read More

Porcupine Pub & Grille
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Boren


Porcupine Pub stands directly beneath the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, and precisely along the way from Little Cottonwood Canyon to Salt Lake City. So no matter where you've spent the day skiing (or hiking, in summer), this Salt Lake Valley...  Read More



Club Sound is among Salt Lake City's most popular and busy concert venues. Neither a fancy establishment, nor a total dive, this industrial-chic venue attracts nationally-famous indie acts, underground DJ's, and a whole lot of...  Read More

Squatters Pub Brewery
Photo courtesy of karmadude


Squatters was founded as a brewery in 1989, with its first beers being served in September of that year at the very same West Broadway location in Salt Lake City. Pouring their own brews alongside house-made foods ever since, Squatters offers a...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Boren


The Bayou has invented a niche its own, and a brilliant one at that. At once a restaurant, high-end beer bar, pool hall, and jazz venue, The Bayou offers something for everyone. On the restaurant side, The Bayou offers a lengthy and varied menu...  Read More


Meet Christine Balaz

Christine Balaz began her unexpected writing career in Salt Lake City with her first book on Wasatch Skiing and Travel in 2006. On the subject of Utah, Christine has written numerous...  More About Christine