I love walking into a bar and feeling like someone might hit me with a pool cue because of my opinion on Major League Baseball’s designated hitter rule (it’s terrible, by the way). Maybe I’m hoping to find Patrick Swayze and Sam Elliott working as coolers while Jake and Elwood Blues croon from behind chicken wire. Maybe I’m just looking for some grit now that Park City has gone all in with luxurious pseudo-cowboy vibes. Whatever my motivation, I Uber-toured Summit County’s roadhouse taverns  searching for authenticity and returned with an epic expense report in the name of “journalism.” The Utah Legislature and DABC are continuing their war on alcohol with the impending .05 BAC law—be sure to utilize your ride share service of choice when embarking on your own tour.

  1. Timpanogos Tavern Timp Tavern has everything you need, and nothing you don’t. The walls are covered with dead animals and trophy fish, the beer is cheap and cold, the website is utter garbage—a positive in these rankings—and there’s a one-star review on TripAdvisor that says “Maybe locals like it. I don’t.” Well they do, and so do I. Bottom line: Best spot to cheer loudly against your least favorite NFL team with a Bloody Mary in-hand. 1320 S Daniels Rd., Heber, 435-654-0882, timpanogostavern.net
  2. The Notch An institution around these parts, the Notch is famous for incredible burgers and a great cowboy bar sensibility with live music on the weekends. The under the radar highlight is the menu full of smoked meats from the Samak Smoke House, which is just down the road. I had the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with a side of flashbacks to a full belly in Austin.  Bottom line: Best place to pair a good meal with a rowdy feel. 2392 E. Mirror Lake Hwy., Kamas, 435-783-6244, thenotchpub.com
  3. Bunny’s Bar and Grill I’ll admit to feeling like a bit of an imposter stepping out of a chartered Hyundai Santa Fe and into a bar filled almost entirely with motorcyclists, but nobody gave me a sideways glance. Feast on free popcorn and affordable brews, like I did, if you want to take it easy on the pocketbook. But they have an expansive menu if you want added fare to pair with friendly conversation. Bottom line: Best bar to break in your branded leather motorcycle jacket, whether you know how to shift or not. 36 S Main St, Coalville, 435-336-5373
  4. Back 40 Ranch Grill The 80-year-old ranch house right off US-40 isn’t some Podunk bar with banjo music in the background. Turns out it’s a farm-to-table restaurant that sources local ingredients from Circle Bar Ranch, Heber Valley Cheese and Westos Bakery, to name a few. I’m a meatloaf aficionado, and the one here didn’t disappoint. Bottom line: Not the first place I’d go looking for a drink, but there’s legitimately great food with a setting to match. 1223 US-40, Heber, 435-654-3070, back40utah.com

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