SLC Drinks

Forget What You Thought: Salt Lake City's Bar Scene Goes Off

Après-ski anyone?

It might be a yin yang thing with so many saints in town, but cocktail culture is booming in Salt Lake City. Bar-X, Copper Common, Lake Effect, Red DoorUnder Current, Water Witch and Whiskey Street each offer library-sized selections of spirits with expert mixologists and cool environs.

The Bar-X  Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

The Bar-X Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Red Door  Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Red Door Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Wine lovers get theirs, too, particularly at BTG, where 75+ domestic and international wine picks are offered by the glass in pours from two ounces up.

Craft brew mania also is alive and well in Salt Lake City. Check out Avenues ProperThe BayouBeer Bar, Beerhive, Bohemian, Epic, Red Rock, Squatters and Wasatch, for a start. (Utah's liquor laws do still differentiate between "full strength beer" and beer that has 3.2% alcohol by weight, which makes full octane beer a little harder to get, but it's a minor challenge compared to the past.)

In other words: Cheers!

The morning after, have coffee at The Rose Establishment or Publik. Both are excellent—and, again, defy outdated Utah stereotypes.

We'll have that stirred, with a dusting of powder, please.  Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

We'll have that stirred, with a dusting of powder, please. Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Avenues Proper  Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Avenues Proper Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Beer Bar  Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Beer Bar Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Cheers for beers!  Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Cheers for beers! Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake


Copper Common  Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Copper Common Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Yes, SLC has great coffee, too.  Dreamstime

Yes, SLC has great coffee, too. Dreamstime

What's up with drinking in Utah?

Liquor laws in Utah largely have been normalized compared to days of yore: Going to a bar or restaurant here and ordering an adult beverage is little different than in other states (although even 50-year-olds are advised to carry legal ID if they wish to be served in Utah, and 3.2% beer is still a thing).

The main difference is that Utah will have a .05% blood alcohol limit for drivers as of December 2018. Signed into law in March 2017, it's the lowest limit in the United States, and could send many people over the legal limit before they've finished their second drink.

The UTA ski bus runs from downtown SLC to the four resorts of the Cottonwood Canyons. Find the schedule  here  or  here .  Chris Pearson | Courtesy Ski Utah

The UTA ski bus runs from downtown SLC to the four resorts of the Cottonwood Canyons. Find the schedule here or here. Chris Pearson | Courtesy Ski Utah

Skiers and boarders staying in downtown Salt Lake City who think they might imbibe at après-ski are smart to plan in advance:

  • Skip the car altogether and take transit (free with the Ski City Super Pass) to and from Alta, Brighton, Solitude and Snowbird.

  • Or, hire Canyon Transportation to pilot your whole posse to and from the mountain.

  • Or, agree in advance on a designated driver who commits to having zero alcoholic drinks at the mountain before piloting your crew back downtown.

  • Or, take a pass on après-ski at the mountain to head back downtown, and then hoof it (or take TRAX light rail) from your hotel to the bars.

BTG Wine Bar  Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

BTG Wine Bar Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Beerhive  Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Beerhive Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Are we having fun yet? Yes, we are! At Beerhive.  Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Are we having fun yet? Yes, we are! At Beerhive. Austen Diamond Photography | Courtesy Visit Salt Lake