Updated: May 23
Salt Lake City is certainly not widely known for its lax liquor laws or bar-on-every-corner blueprint. Quite the opposite, in fact. Thanks to a 1990 mandate, “happy hour” is illegal (sad), and every bottle requires a metering device, making us officially anti-free-pour. We’ve still got a ways to go, but we have made some strides since the days of bar memberships and cocktails that couldn’t contain more than a single ounce of booze.
Salt Lake County has somewhere around 200 licensed bars, so our liquor-inclined residents have plenty of spots to choose from for an after-work negroni. Since the Homeworks HQ happens to be located in Exchange Place, we’re very close to some of SLC’s best places to belly-up and tap glasses, and Main Street hosts a healthy handful of them. Whether you’re thirsty for a cold beer, a fancy cocktail, or a strong shot of tequila, here are a few watering holes worth visiting…
For a frosty one:
A healthy selection of thirst-quenching beers is always good to have in your back pocket, and the Beerhive Pub certainly delivers. With more than 200 brews from all over the globe (and an ice rail on the bar to keep you frosty), you’re sure to find the lager, pale ale, pilsner, or IPA you need. Just two blocks south, you’ll also find Whiskey Street, with an impressive and lengthy beer selection alongside (you guessed it) a substantial whiskey list.
For a craft cocktail:
Main Street has no shortage of stops for those who want a touch of care or a healthy dose of creativity alongside their drink of choice. The Ruin, just between 100 and 200 South, serves well-made cocktails and natural wines alongside pink neon and a dimly lit, cozy atmosphere. The Rest (equally dim and well-appointed) also has an expertly curated cocktail selection and a tasty dinner menu. On the same block, drinkers can also find a craft cocktail at London Belle or White Horse Spirits & Kitchen.
Sometimes, you just want it without. No trimmings, no clever twist, no obligatory smiles or chat. Although Bodega (just upstairs from The Rest) does have a great cocktail list, we suggest hitting this teeny bar for the Michelada and some cheese balls…it’s the best kind of simplicity. We also love a good dive, and Cheers to You is a great spot for a cheap drink—come here for a whiskey coke, a G&T, or a shot and a beer (and a couple rounds of pool). Honorable mention (because it’s technically on 300 S.): Junior’s Tavern. Another great dive with good service.
For a good time:
Maybe you’re looking for more of a scene…more people, more music, more potential for a “party”. Alibi is a great bar for a good time. Think: tasty drink menu, great DJs, cute design. The crowd skews young, but the small space often turns into a fun, sweaty dance floor. Or, for an entirely different kind of debauchery, you can head to Keys on Main, a classic dueling piano bar that is pretty consistently packed on the weekends.