Tips + Trends

SLC After Dark: Where to Experience Salt Lake City’s Vibrant Nightlife

Catch a live performance at the State Room. (Photos: Kylie Fly)

Despite Salt Lake City’s reputation for bizarre liquor laws, it’s easy to get a drink here — and there’s plenty to do long after the sun sets. This Utah city’s nightlife is booming. and from live music and theater performances to nightclubs and cocktail bars, there’s something going on every night of the week.

Here’s how to make the most of your nights out in Salt Lake City.

Cruise Main Street

salt lake city nightlife
Get your culture fix at the 2,500-seat Eccles Theater.

Salt Lake’s historic Main Street is again the heart of the city’s business and entertainment districts thanks to a revitalization project that brought a shopping center, theater, restaurants and bars to the block. Kick off the night here at Eccles Theatre, a 2,500-seat performing arts venue that hosts Broadway plays, comedians and concerts and boasts a spacious outdoor patio high above the city with views of Main Street.

Following the show, walk a few blocks down Main Street to Keys On Main where you can sing along with dueling pianists, or taste a local beer at Beerhive where a strip of ice on the bar keeps your drink chilled.

End your evening at The Rest, a basement speakeasy hidden behind a bathroom door. A special key (given with reservations) gets you in the door and into a room filled with exotic taxidermied deer and bison and antique leather chairs.

The menu — presented in a brown file folder — lists off creative cocktails, like the Loophole (rye, St. Germain, lime, honey and lavender bitters). Suffice to say, it’ll be an interesting end to any night.

salt lake city nightlife
Join the duel! Head to Keys on Main to watch dueling pianists perform.

Get Cultured

Salt Lake City loves the arts, and you can enjoy ballet, opera, theater and symphony performances all within the walkable downtown core. Take in a symphony at Abravanel Hall, an opulent building with a stunning four-story, gold-leafed lobby and near-perfect acoustics.

Or attend a ballet or opera at Capitol Theatre, a beloved landmark built in 1913 known for its turn-of-the-century architecture and cushioned velvet seats. Linger afterward for a sinful chocolate martini at Red Door, a swanky bar across from the theater.

Catch a Concert

Salt Lake’s thriving music scene makes it an excellent destination for concertgoers. Head to the Granary District to catch a performance at The State Room — an intimate, 21 and up concert venue that hosts national touring acts and local favorites.

This up-and-coming neighborhood boasts breweries, new restaurants and old mainstays like Cajun-inspired favorite, The Bayou. Locals call it “beervana” thanks to the more than 200 beers appearing on its menu. Enjoy its plethora of rare and local brews served at the long wooden bar or at a cozy table — an experience heightened by live jazz performed most nights.

Alternatively, dine at Rye on a Tuesday—a Salt Lake staple serving up elevated American cuisine in an industrial chic space—and score free tickets to an upcoming performance next door at Urban Lounge in downtown SLC. This intimate music venue showcases lesser-known artists in a variety of genres and features affordable ticket prices and drinks that can be enjoyed on its outdoor patio.

salt lake city nightlife
Dance buffs can attend the ballet at the Capitol Theater.

Dance the Night Away

Experience Salt Lake’s club scene at SKY SLC, one of the city’s biggest downtown dancing venues. Expect DJs paired with high-end features like a retractable glass roof, VIP suites and vibrant lighting that brings a rowdy crowd.

For a different dance scene, break out some cowboy boots and try country line and swing dancing at Infinity Event Center in downtown Salt Lake City or The Westerner in West Valley. Both venues offer free line and swing lessons so you’ll be doing the boot scootin’ boogie in no time.

Infinity welcomes ages 18 and up, but does not serve alcohol. The Westerner features a full bar, wooden dance floor, live music and a mechanical bull, but is located on the city’s west side so you’ll need to take a cab to check it out.

Drink SLC—Beer Bars and Craft Cocktails

Salt Lake’s growing brewery and bar scene is welcoming to visitors. Try Utah’s famous craft beers at downtown breweries like Squatters, one of Utah’s oldest craft breweries, that makes award-winning flavors like Chasing Tail Golden Ale and Full Suspension Pale Ale.

Or head to the up-and-coming Granary District for the full-strength stuff at Epic, Utah’s first brewery since Prohibition to exclusively brew high-alcohol, large-format beer.

To sample all Salt Lake’s beer scene has to offer, go where the locals go: Beer Bar. Just a a few blocks east of the downtown core, Beer Bar pours 140-plus local and national beers paired with gourmet sausages and french fries.

Craving a cocktail? Step through a small doorway and into the past at speakeasy-style lounge, Bar X. This historic bar first opened the year Prohibition ended, 1933, and was recently remodeled into a dimly-lit, swanky bar serving up the city’s best classic cocktails from Moscow Mules in copper cups to Old Fashioned’s.

End the night back on Main Street at Whiskey Street. This whiskey-focused establishment is steeped in history, thanks to its location in what was once Utah’s whiskey distillery district, a has a long wooden bar stocked with every kind of whiskey imaginable and a menu of seasonally changing cocktails.

This article was published through a partnership with Visit the USA, inspiring travelers to explore America’s boundless possibilities.