rinks and entertainment often go hand in hand. Things
are more entertaining when you’re drunk, drunks are sometimes
entertaining to watch, and a wide variety of musical entertainment
fills the hard-liquor-serving venues that are Salt Lake City’s
private clubs. So in this year’s BarTrek, RED visited the
clubs that deliver the rock, the Irish, the folk and the amateur
music that makes for a fun, alcohol-filled nightlife.
a magic man, drinks his fifth beer at O'Shuck's while waiting
for his sushi.
Gives Sushi a Try
Bar and Grill/ Ahh Sushi
22 E. 100 South
by Jeremy Mathews and Jamie Gadette
Metallica’s last visit
to Salt Lake City included a pre-show dinner at Ahh Sushi, the new
addition to O’Shuck’s Bar and Grill. The intense metal
mavens sat cross legged in the Tatami Room, a private space partitioned
off by paper screen doors. The space once served as a stage for
live music. It seems fitting to sit a group of rock gods on such
Yet there’s also something somewhat sad about picturing James
Hetfeld daintily dine on tuna sashimi and rice. Shouldn’t
he be ripping the flesh off an errant carcass before launching into
“Master of Puppets?” Were the changes imparted on the
stalwart bar indicative of a break from the rock-and-roll spirit?
Deb and Bruce Corrigan, owners of the bar and instigators of the
revamping, admit that they miss the energy evoked by the former
digs. However, they also attest to the benefits of adding sushi
into the picture. The Corrigans believe that beer and raw fish are
perfect bedfellows—it is a combination that parallels the
couple’s own blend of Irish and Japanese backgrounds.
On Friday, the wait staff was apparently still used to the more
casual bar service than to that of a restaurant, providing long
gaps in between service and making one table wait half an hour for
their edamame (an appetizer).
The sushi-eating members of the trek, however, found the food quite
enjoyable, although some found it hard to put the entire roll in
their mouth. “The Japanese are small, but have big mouths,”
someone observed. The other food-related obstacle involved the traditional
serving of multiple dishes on the same plate, leaving some people
wondering which order was theirs.
RED Web Designer Janean Parker offered some advice on eating edamame:
“I always make the mistake of eating the pod, and then I’m
chewing for half an hour.”
Cheers to You Jamie thinks about Lou while doing her best impersonation
Cheers to You
315 S. Main Street
by Jamie Gadette
After a splendid round of
pool at O’ Shucks, our appetite for trivial gaming was sufficiently
whet. Deciding that the best way to quell insatiable hunger was
to yelp and wail, the group embarked on a quest for karaoke. We
marched down Main Street, past my mid- sized wagon, newly outfitted
with a pretty pink parking ticket and into Cheers to You.
Being that it was only a little after 9:15, the long hallway of
a bar was only sparsely populated. A few barflies clung to the left
side of the room, kicking off the weekend in no-nonsense fashion.
RED Art Director Dave Howell, whose shyness and dignity eliminated
karaoke, identified “cheap beer” as the bar’s
most appealing quality. The place also offers casual pool, where
you might hear a conversation like this:
“I forgot who I am.”
We headed toward the back where a brickhouse of a woman was busy
setting up for the evening’s main event in between the booths
and the pool tables. She ordered our antsy selves to sit tight while
she fine-tuned the mics and warmed up the machines. After what seemed
like forever (but was probably only a few minutes), the diva handed
over the hallowed book of songs. There were plenty of viable options
from which to choose, making it difficult to decide on only a few.
Will it be “Thriller” or “Rapper’s Delight”?
“Living on a Prayer” or “Back in Black”?
Since the selection failed to offer Journey’s “Don’t
Stop Believing” (the greatest guilty pleasure song of all
time), I settled on Heart’s “Magic Man.” Chris
and Trickey, the other eager beavers, picked Blondie and Black Sabbath
tunes as their personal tickets to glory.
The rest of the RED crew was not quite as willing to subject themselves
to public humiliation. They humored us through a couple of performances,
but after an hour (and after photographer Sarah Morton’s “Girls
Just Wanna Have Fun,” complete with backup singers) opted
to dutifully check out Banana Joe’s.
We, on the other hand, could not tear ourselves away from the action.
Now that the bar had filled up, an actual audience had formed—and
they wanted a show. After watching a few brave souls struggle through
“Margaritaville,” it became obvious that only we could
give them what they needed.
Trickey did just that, paying tribute to hair bands with “Hot
For Teacher.” He writhed on the floor, shook his fist in the
air and grabbed unwitting patrons for impromptu backing vocals.
Yes it was a night to remember. And it would not have been possible
without the unassuming dive that offers what “classy”
joints never can: a chance for the little guy to be a star.
Banana Joe's, dorky people arrive in limos and then stand in
line to get drunk, only to be rejected because they're not hot.
Joe’s Not Worth Entering
145 W. Pierpont Ave.
by Jeremy Mathews
Talk about bad vibes. A nauseating
feeling came over myself and the other more trek oriented BarTrekkers
who headed for Banana Joe’s after we lost some of the group
to karaoke addiction at Cheers to You. We could tell without entering
that this was not our kind of bar.
First of all, there wasn’t only a long line of people waiting
to get in and get laid outside, but there was a fast-track line
for solo women whom the bouncers found acceptable. A man with a
VIP pass asked if he could enter through the line, but alas, he
Now, you might claim that the folks at RED are elitists, but we’re
merely snobs and don’t appreciate the act of classifying people
into different lines. Second, these people are standing in line
to buy overpriced beer and watch TV footage of racecars (the all-you
can-eat ribs are only available from 5-6 p.m.), so who would want
to be among the clientele? Unless Elvis Costello is playing inside,
why stand in line?
And then, as we moved out of the way of an automobile, we had to
face the headache-inducing fact that people actually hire limos
to take them to overpriced, bloated corporate bars.
“I have a new name for this place,” Art Director Dave
Howell said, “Penis Penis Penis.” Leading a behind-schedule
trek, I determined that the only way to avoid mutiny was to abandon
Banana Joe’s, rescue the rest of my staff from Cheers to You
and head to Halo.
offers a flashy indoor/outdoor environment with a healthy supply
of local music.
Angels Smile Over Halo?
60 E. 800 South
by Stephanie Geerlings and Jeremy Mathews
Halo has taken the place
of the notorious Club Blue. It is a lucky location next to the big,
otherwise useless Sear’s parking lot and next to two taco
vendors. The layout is one long rectangle, disadvantageous for avoiding
people. The claustrophobia—and what Stephen Coles described
as “dumb, obnoxious, [too bright] disco lights”—may
be avoided in the clean restrooms or the sandy beach backyard. Once,
in one half of an hour, Stephanie Geerlings heard more child-like
glee from the attitudinized tatoo boys than one could imagine in
all of Willy Wonka land.
Yes, you read right, there’s a beach. Since it’s Salt
Lake City, there’s not actually any water (which anyone who
has been to the city’s namesake will admit is a good thing),
save for an inflatable plastic swimming pool with a beer company’s
logo on it. And, as Art Director Dave Howell observed, the sandy
area actually makes for a “giant ashtray.” But it’s
still a beach, with reclining chairs on which one can sip fruity
cocktails or do shots.
There are even horseshoes. No ignorance of how to play or score
the game can stop you from throwing those things at the wooden pole.
The bar has an impressive love for local musicians. BarTrek night
showcased the loud Erosion, but that’s not all that’s
served up on the stage.
Another recent night included the first show for Malfeasa and the
Manumission. The oddly named duo put on a wonderful show, considering
the bar’s sound technician did not find it important to set
up a monitor. That show also included another local, General Confusion.
The cover band was good, but the singer’s voice drove us back
out to the beach.
Oh yeah, and these drinks are cheap. It could be because you are
paying for the water involved.
Lost its Virginity at the Cabana Club
31 E. 400 South
by Stephanie Geerlings
There are few bars I frequent
and a few I like. Cabana Club touts the birthright of the oldest
bar in Salt Lake City and possibly in Utah. I phoned grandma to
see. She cannot recall. “If it were, I drank there too.”
There is a possible link in that. Back in the day when liquor laws
were not created by wee-minded, piddling politicians, it was customary
to bring your own booze to the social hall. The bar would provide
the ice for a very mighty price.
Cabana Club has gone through some transformation since. It is now
the custom to bring your ID to show off to the lovely door person
and ice is not the most expensive item on the menu. The most exceptional
specials are $1 drafts, $5 long islands and two tacos for $1. They
call it college night, but it is not necessarily filled with intelligent
people. Shockingly, neither is college.
The bar is relaxed and enjoyable for many types of conversation.
Enjoy the secluded low purr of manacled secrecy over cigars or bring
boisterous friends and talk soccer. There is a group that meets
every Wednesday from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. with high hopes to keep
the conversation on topic. They call themselves Barstool Seminary
and expose topics from Indian land disputes to the shape of the
Brontosaurus. If you are polite, they are inviting.
Cabana always has live music. Some very lovely, chill acoustic music,
piano players or more loud local bands. It is an easy atmosphere
to slip into. If you stay too long, call 363-5550 for City Cab.
Down has a splendid interior, with nice brick walls, old signs,
flags and handsome wood. And don't forget the handsome men,
like RED's logo designer, Stephen 'Stuf' Coles.
Down for a Taste of Olde World Cleanliness
1492 S. State Street
[Voted the BarTrek Staff Selection]
by Bobbi Parry
Nobody on the BarTrek had
actually been to Piper Down before, or even heard of it. Somebody's
friend had just seen an ad featuring a guy in a kilt holding a bag
pipe and we got curious. It was the last bar we hit, and, at 1492
S. State, the furthest from the city center.
The combination of the address and the ad made me wonder. An olde
world pub? That meant Scotsmen. Real live Scotsmen? In a dark pub?
And maybe some State Street bikers would come in and they'd fight
each other. Unfortunately, either my idea of an "olde world
pub" was just a teensy bit stereotypical or the owners of Piper
Down had fibbed a little in their ad.
Not that I'm complaining. You can spot the pub by the row of flags
hanging outside, a theme that continues throughout the place. The
nice decor includes moss above all the windows, the walls are brick
and there's lots of timber. It's all very clean, well-lit and modern
(the building was built in 1914 and recently remodeled) with just
about all the bar-y stuff you'd expect—darts, pool, a juke
box, a patio. Even the man on stage with the guitar taking requests
and playing ’70s pop fit nicely in.
Piper Down is open seven days a week, with live music on weekends,
Irish jam session on Mondays and open-mic nights on Wednesdays.
The friendly, chill bar—not too crowded—is a good way
to end the night (not to mention that it has the cleanest bathrooms
on the Trek, a point not to be underrated. Also observe the Gaelic
We took a seat at a table and ordered drinks. Someone in our group
began yelling requests for Paul Simon. Forgoing the hard alcohol
in favor of coherence (damn whoever stuck me with the last bar on
the tour), I asked photographer Sarah Morton how her drinks was.
“It tastes good, so it's probably weak, but I'm starting to
feel drunk, so it could be strong,” she said.
At that point I noticed my editor studiously taking notes in his
little yellow notebook. I sauntered over to the bar to grab a napkin
so I could begin to do the same. While there, I glanced at the full
dining menu. It includes fish and chips and shepherd's pie, as well
as more common bar fare. Tragically, the kitchen closed at 11 p.m.
I retreated to my table to take notes and observe.