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“What nightlife?” you might be asking. It’s Utah but you might be a little surprised once the sun goes down. With a cinema pub, martini bars, dance clubs, live music venues and brewpubs, you’ll find little missing from the best Salt Lake City nightlife scene here. Even though the state has had a reputation for tricky liquor laws that made drinking both expensive and inconvenient, some of those laws were overturned in 2009 in an effort to boost tourism. So now it’s even easier to head out for an evening of fun, which might include mellow live bluegrass or bumping bass dance tracks. There’s no central area for the best Salt Lake City nightlife, just scattered pockets of activity.
When Salt Lake’s beloved Zephyr Club closed (and was turned into a parking lot), music fans worried the city would never again have another intimate spot for live shows. But The State Room, now one of the best Salt Lake City clubs, has filled the void, with a 300-person capacity, great acoustics and the same intimate feeling that made the Zephyr such a prime destination for local and national acts. Check the online calendar for up-to-date show information.
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This gay-friendly bar and nightclub has become part of the evolution of the Marmalade District, an up-and-coming neighborhood just northwest from downtown. With sleek decor, plenty of space and an outdoor patio for summer nights, patrons dance the night away to music from guest DJs, karaoke and local music acts. One of the best Salt Lake City nightlife scenes, Club Jam is open Tuesday through Saturday.
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While this brewpub feels more like a restaurant than a bar, don’t ignore its charms: some of the city’s best craft beer and a pleasant setting for a pint. Located inside the Trolley Square Mall, Desert Edge Brewery still manages to feel separate from the shopping experience, with a menu of homemade pastas, sandwiches and salads. Belly up to one of the best Salt Lake City bars and watch a sporting event, or grab a table and enjoy the mellow vibe, which persists until last call.
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An institution for film and beer fanatics, Brewvies Cinema is a bar, movie house and pub rolled into one. Movies range from indie to mainstream, but the real draw is the fact that someone will serve you pub fare and pints of beer inside the theater (grab one of the coveted couches in the back). If you’d rather see what you’re consuming, pull up a chair in the attached bar before or after a film or plunk down some quarters for a game of pool. With such variety, its no wonder Brewvies is one of the best Salt Lake City Bars.
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For a swanky spot with great cocktails, head to The Red Door, one of the best Salt Lake City nightlife scenes with its menu of martinis, whiskeys and wines offering plenty of options for imbibing. The central downtown location draws travelers, locals and cultural event attendees—a pleasant mélange that feels surprisingly cosmopolitan, especially in the low red light and with the occasional live music.
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