After a long day of shaping young minds, our educators could use a stiff drink. Here are our picks for some of the best bars, distilleries and tap rooms in Utah.

Best Bars You Haven’t Tried (Yet)

Varley 

Varley is new to the cocktail bar scene, along with its companion restaurant The Ivy, but the modern aesthetic, complete with leather seating and low-lighting, might make you feel like it’s been around forever. The atmosphere  pairs well with lingering over a classic cocktail like an Old Fashioned.

63 W. 100 South, SLC, 801-203-4124

The Pines

A new venture from the good people who brought you Dick N’ Dixies, The Pines now occupies the space once held by Tinwell, which closed in February 2020. If you’re looking for your new place for cocktails and conversations, try this joint on for size. 

837 S. Main St., SLC, 801-906-8418

RYE

While RYE as a restaurant is not new, as of April of this year, it transitioned to a 21+ establishment. So even if you have tried RYE the restaurant, you should try weekend brunch at RYE the bar with only the company of other adults.

239 S. 500 East, SLC, 801-364-4655

Patrons in Post Office Place
Photo courtesy Post Office Place

Best Place to Wait for a Table at Takashi 

Offering eclectic craft cocktails and multicultural small plates, Post Office Place is so much more than an antechamber for Takashi. Give yourself ample time to speak with trained bartenders before you head next door, and make sure to taste a few of their Japanese whiskies. Pro tip: Ask for a “special delivery” if you’re up for a boozy adventure.

16 W. Market St., SLC, 801-519-9595

Best Place to Pick up A DōTERRA Rep

The Red Door is one of Salt Lake’s most intimate drinking establishments. Dim, candlelit and man! That’s a big Che Guevara. It’s the perfect place for in-from-out-of-town conventioneers to seal the deal at the end of the night with amorous co-workers. For us locals, it’s a cozy hideaway that feels like somewhere else, sophisticated and elegant, perfect for a sneering discussion of laissez-faire economics, or just les affaires.

57 W. 200 South, SLC, 801-363-6030

Best Place to Feel Old

If you tell your cab driver to “take me to where the kids drink” you’ll end up at Ex-Wifes Place. The carpet is dank, the bathrooms are super sketch but the drinks are cheap and the surly bartenders sling them fast. The upside for anyone born before 1980? The bartenders secretly hate the kids, so if you kick down a decent tip, you’ll get their attention and service befitting of your age.

465 S. 700 East, SLC, 801-532-1954 

Best Place to Go If You Started Dating a Vegan

Handlebar, a bicycle-themed bar located in the former location of the badly named bar Jam in the Marmalade (despite the name, we miss the Jam), is the perfect place for a carnivore to bring their vegan or vegetarian partner. Its “omnivore” menu unabashedly offers on-site smoked BBQ in the same breath as plant-based burgers and “wings.”

751 N. 300 West, SLC, 801-953-0588

Best Place to Start the Night 

Purgatory Bar is a Swiss Army knife of a bar. It offers an array of spaces—a cozy spot by the fire, big tables to pack in the crew and an outdoor patio with a bocci court and cornhole boards. Purgatory’s menu of small bites and our favorite little burger satisfies your munchies while you pregame for whatever else the night has in store.

62 E. 700 South, SLC, 801-596-2294

Best Cocktail with a View

Surrounded by the mountains of Deer Valley Resort, the patio at Stein Eriksen Lodge is the perfect place to feel like you’re living the high life for a while. The New Norsemen’s signature drink, the Stein’s 52 Aquavit, brings a Scandinavian flair to a Park City Mountain cocktail.

7700 Stein Way, Park City, 866-996-0034 

Best Day Drinking Spot 

Whether you’re rallying from a late night or looking to start your weekend early with a little day drinking, Level Crossing Brewery Co. has what you need to get the job done. Craft brews and wood-fire pizzas complement the easy energy of the establishment. The open-air patio is perfect for dining with your dog al fresco or drinking with friends or all of the above.

2496 S. West Temple, South Salt Lake, 385-270-5752

Best Places to Skip the Line at the Liquor Store 

Why wait in line at the liquor store, when you can go right to the source? You’ll be buying directly from the makers of Utah’s own spirit revolution.

Holystone Distilling

Holystone Distilling is the home of unique concoctions, high-brow concepts that elevate the usual fare of distilled spirits, and some of their intoxicating blends can only be purchased from their location and are not the DABC liquor stores.

207 W. 4860 South, Murray, 503-328-4356

Sugar House Distillery

Sugar House Distillery invites you to “come by and see how it’s done.” And they mean it, too. They distill everything on site, and they source their ingredients locally and regionally, so a visit there will give you more than a peek under the hood.

2212 S. West Temple, SLC, 801-726-0403

Eight Settlers Distillery

Eight Settlers Distillery is entrenched in and inspired by the history of the Cottonwood Heights area, and so are the spirits. Take home a bottle from the store or stay and enjoy a taste of the past at the themed, on-site restaurant.

7321 Canyon Centre Pkwy., Cottonwood Heights, 385-900-4315

Best Tap Rooms You’ve Never Been To (Yet)

These breweries had the dubious distinction of opening their doors right when the rest of the world was closing theirs. 

Grid City Beer Works

Approachable beers you can drink all day. Plus, the Grid City gang stalled the completion of a rooftop deck to pay salaries, spool up a canning operation and keep the beer flowing. (We hope they get that deck done soon though.)

333 W. 2100 South, SLC, 801-906-8390

Bewilder Brewing Co.

In a building decked out with an awesome Trent Call mural, Bewilder Brewing set up shop next to the nightclub Area 51 right when the pandemic hit the fan. But house-made sausages and a beer list that skews toward traditional German styles kept the doors open.

445 S. 400 West, SLC, 385-528-3840

Ogden River Brewery 

Managing to open in October 2020 was quite a feat for railroad engineer turned brewer Pat Winslow. Located near the river that is its namesake, ORB is a welcome addition to Ogden’s revitalized river district.

358 Park Blvd., Ogden, 801-884-6939


Class is in session. See all of our Best of the Beehive Academy winners.