PUBLISHED: Drinking and Playing in Utah- Year Round Sports

Originally Published by Utah Adventure Journal (Early Spring 13 issue)

With an endless supply of outdoor endeavors found in Utah, one may tend to be thirsty by the end of the day’s activities. As a fine wine and cut of steak pair best in the right environment, these watering holes will enhance your days sport of choice with the proper pint (think how beers at Ray’s is synomous with river running during spring runoff.) I would make this it’s own category. “River Running and Slick Rocking” You can hit Moab Brewery, Ray’s… Here are a few other options to whet your whistle that deserve to be on your bucket list.

Biking in Park City

Park City has no shortage of amazing trails and it is likely there is an equal amount of bars to belly up to after an afternoon of single track. – no wonder International Mountain Biking Association voted PC its first Gold Medal destination.  Most people know the No Name Saloon and its famous buffalo burgers or O’Shucks and its peanut-shelled floors, but that is barely the tip of the iceberg. I like to get out of the Main St zone and head to Kimball Junction to Maxwell’s for some fairly authentic East Coast pizza, cheesesteaks and a huge selection of booze. Purists may argue that their “Fat Kid Pizza” loses its East Coast authentically from the simple fact pineapple is even an option on the menu, but there is no arguing it is one of the better slices west of the Hudson River. Maxwells is open late, so even if you had to break out the headlamp for the last 3 miles of trail you can still grab a bottle of brew, slice of pepperoni and catch up on every major sport on one of the dozen widescreen TV’s.

Skiing in the Cottonwoods.

It seems that nearly everyone in the line at the tram heads to the Porcupine Pub and Grille at the mouth of Big Cottonwood after a day at Snowbird. Add in crowds from Brighton, Solitude and Alta and it’s obvious why there is a lively apres atmosphere for their nachos and brews. Another option – head just down the hill to Hog Wallow. Named after a rapid on the Green River (the bar locals call  “the Hogs”), it’s likely you’ll find at least a few hogs parked outside belonging to a group of local bikers. These are bikers in the leather tense, not the spandex kind – though all folks feel welcome here. The bar is one part dive, one part hip, plus a dash of fresh air from the outdoor patio and its cool summer misters. The Hog’s interesting mix of bikers, skiers, boarders, hippies and a few salty old guys provides people watching at its finest. Jam bands pick and grin away on most weekend nights, to the satisfaction of anyone within earshot of this veritable watering hole. A full selection of strong beers, Jager-bombs and PBR’s are served up by some of the better looking bartenders in the area.

Climbing in St. George

When you need a mid-winter respite from the white of the Wasatch, one of the many crags in the St. George area, such a Chuckawalla or Green Valley, offers that fix of red. Winter days are short and if you are camping, the nights are especially long and surprisingly chilly. Luckily, bars are heated. With darkness falling around 5, it is not out of the question to hit Vegas or Mesquite for a Saturday night, or keep it local and head to Player’s Sports Grill. I’ve seen several important MLB playoff games after a day of climbing and have spent many a rainy Sunday watching NFL games when the crags were too wet to climb. Not the coolest bar if it were transplanted to Park City – or even Salt Lake, but they have decent food, and if you find yourself firmly behind the Zion Curtain in the conservative bastion that can be Southern Utah, the ability to have a cold Hop Rising or a Jack and Coke is as rare as it is amazing.

Hot Laps In The City: The Bobsled Trail

The first trail most Salt Lakers knock the winter rust off on is the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. A ride on the classic Dry Creek to City Creek loop is a great way to even out your goggle tan and get your first few spins in.  A glance down the head of the trail can be the signal that spring in the Wasatch has finally arrived: when Bobsled’s entrance is dry enough for a descent When the ‘sled is ready, those high banked turns are reason to celebrate with post-ride drinks downtown, where options for throwing back a few are many. Bikes are welcome on buses and TRAX, allowing you to leave the automobile at home to do some bar-hopping celebration without risking driving.

First up is the Beerhive, located in the heart of downtown SLC on  Main Street. With one of Utah’s longest beer lists (Bayou would have the other) and a rim of ice along the bar to keep your glass chilled, Beerhive is the place to kick your night off with some high strength 22 oz bottles of brew and an amazing range of beers on tap. Just a couple blocks away, check out the speakeasy (slang for hipster) Bar X or local dive Johnny’s on Second. I guess your choice depends on whether you rode a single speed or a downhill bike. Both are next to the SLC Bike Company on 200 S and 200 E, convenient if your bike had some issues during winter storage. Head another block East to Twilight Lounge for a final cocktail or just across the street for a slice or two from Este Pizza and an easy roll back to Main St for a ride home on public transportation.

Road Tripping: Destination Drinking

Sometimes you have to stop mid-drive for a road soda after a yurt trip in the Tushars or a day of skiing Eagle Point- both located near the town of BeaverIMG_2481. Chances are you haven’t been to the Renegade Lounge in the sprawling metropolis of Beaver, UT. Chances are you didn’t know this sleepy town on I-15 even had a bar. A damn seedy dive bar at that, which just so happens to be awesome! Mark your GPS the next time south tohave a barley pop at this old school spot. If you need to sober up, there are amazing tacos and burritos at Roberto’s at the north end of Beaver near the I-15 ramp. Don’t be scared of gas station grub here – their food is legit and authentic. Plus, you can get your Christmas shopping done in the “I Love Beaver” section of the store. Only in Utah.

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