Welcome to Park City, Utah!
Ski Apres Party Bar and Nightlife Guide
Park City shines at night.Photo: Park City Chamber of Commerce
The skiing is outstanding and the nightlife is better than you think. Yes, there is nightlife in Utah.
Home to the annual Sundance Film Festival, Park City is where celebrities and artists park it for part of the year. So while there's a definite mountain-town feel to the place, it also has a definite elegance.
And don't be at all surprised at its lively nightlife. And here's a bonus – you might even see Megan Sweeney, who was on Team USA 2010 women's luge Olympic team, out in the town. She is giving tours of the e Olympic Park in Park City.
Drinking in Utah
There's no real trick to drinking in Utah, despite the Mormans' attempts to shovel it out of their driveway like a snow drift.
Finally updated are the antiquated “private club” restrictions which made locals and tourists jump a few silly hoops before obtaining a frosty “adult beverage”. All bars are now open to the public without restrictions, except age and inclination. Park City, established as a rugged mining camp before the Mormons settled the Salt Lake Valley, has always held a more liberal view of bars, taverns, and wild nightlife.
Domestic beer sold in the grocery stores or served in restaurants and bars is usually 3.2%. The full-strength stuff is available only in state liquor stores or for a higher price in the clubs. Despite people’s complaints on the weakened strength of the beer, the altitude (7,000 ft on Main Street) and the dehydrating high desert air, easily compensates to allow a good buzz with the usual effort. Ski Apres
Every good mountain needs a feisty bar to chase down those ski bunnies or shredders who eluded you on the slopes
Park City Mountain Resort is set up like a mini-city, Everything you need is in this tiny "town" – restaurants, ski spots and shops and bars.
The spot off the slopes is The Brewhouse in the Legacy Lodge. It's easy to find, as it's on the second floor of the dominant building in the village and looks out to the mountain. It's large, has a patio and a seating room in the rear. For those who like more of a pub atmosphere, The Corner Store Pub & Grill is the place. It greets apres skiers with an outdoor "hang out" area, which is quite popular. The cozy pub awaits inside.
Other watering holes are the rather elegant Legends Bar & Grill downstairs from The Brewhouse, Baja Cantina and, at other side of the village, a place simply called Bar.
Those looking for Steeps, the large cabin-type bar that one could practically ski into it right off the slopes, well, keep looking. It's gone, replaced by The Brewhouse.
The chair lift to downtown is a little up from the Village but beverages await at the bottom of the ride in the form of Doolan's Irish Pub. This is at the base of Main Street, a five-block area of downtown Park City that is the heartbeat of its shops, restaurants and bars. Starting at Doolan's and the adjacent Marriott, it's all uphill from there.
Downtown Park City Main Street's Pubs and Clubs
The grand Sky Lodge is a nice lounge with a view. Photo: Sky Lodge.
Downtown Park City's Main Street has several cool PubClubbing spots. They are all a short walk from one another, making it easy to slip out of the cold and into a cold one.
The main nightlife on Main Street is concentrated halfway up – or down, depending on one's starting point – the road. A good place to start is O'Shuck's, not named so becauseit has peanut shells on the floor but because it serves oysters by the dozen. But it's not a raw bar, but a bar that is raw. No matter how chilly it may be outside, there's no problem getting warmed up here because it's hot, crowded and narrow. It's the young locals' hangout, especially on Tuesdays when schooners of draught are just $3, and that's year-round.
Next door, conveniently, is the No Name Saloon. Serving an awesome buffalo burger with a wide variety of drinks, this is the best location to meet a true local. Some have been on those same bar stools for decades. This building has been a bar for longer than any other place in town; you can just smell the barroom history. Despite the renovations to dress it up, it remains a casual hang-out kind of joint. A fun little bar with live music it's a little nicer decor than O'Shuck's. Like it's neighbor, it's a casual hang-out-and-meet-the-patrons kind of joint. It's definitely the place for pubbers and not clubbers.
Next door in the other direction is where the celebrities flock to when they are in town for the Sundance Film Festival, Harry O's. Wildly popular during the '02 Olympics, Harry O's is the hip hangspot, the dynamic dance club with live or DJ’d music, a huge dance floor, VIP amenities, and the most scantily-clad patrons, never-mind the weather outside. "Harry O's hospitality" carries on the legacy set by the original in Manhattan Beach, CA. Look for lines, a finer dress code (nothing official, but club dress is the call) and a substantial cover charge. During Sundance, don’t even bother trying to get in, unless you’re "on the list." It's a good place to star gaze, though, while you’re being denied entry.
Just up the hill, Cisero's is a hot, sweaty dance club with a carefree crowd. And crowd is the right word – this place gets packed. Just throw down your coat and join the party, because this place rocks. The club is downstairs; upstairs is a fine Italian restaurant, and many people simply walk down the steps to the club after dinner. For pubbers who like to become clubbers, this is the place for you.
For live music, the Spur Bar and Grill serves it up. And this is no sweaty rock 'n roll joint but a nice bar with couches, a fireplace and a small dance floor. Bands here are often local, but the place also attracts travelling national acts. Early in the night, conversations are easy to come by, so we'll coin a new phrase to describe this type of establishment: An "entertainment mingling bar." It's the only place in Park City that does not allow smoking but there's a balcony to pacify the puffers. Just getting there is kind of cool; it's down an alleyway across the street and up from Harry O's.
Slightly off the path, somewhat hidden on the second floor of the Main Street Shopping Mall, is the Sidecar Bar. It's an upscale bar and, like the Spur bar, is a great spot for live music and dancing but with the added bonus of East-coast style pizza kitchen (Fat Kid Pizza) serving until the bar closes. It's the perfect way to end the night – last call, the last dance, and a hot, cheesy pizza. A club scene without too much “scene”. Keep it casual.
The Irish have come to town establishing two new pubs on Main Street. Flanagans projects that typical dark wood Irish pub feel with Guinness and others on tap and pub food from its kitchen. Lindzee O’Michaels is located down the street in the Lower Main bar corridor. Under the Town Lift plaza, and enclosed behind a spacious street level patio, it hosts a spacious bar, and a vibrant young following.
The Downstairs is cleverly named for its downstairs location at the corner of Heber and Main. Partly-owned by That 70's Show Danny Masterson, this cozy yet swanky club is the new celebrity attraction hotspot. Not as trashy as Harry O’s can be, this is a club for adults who dress to impress, mingle with a mission, but don’t take it all so seriously.
On the upscale side, The Sky Lodge is swank and modern with flat screen TVs, a spacious outdoor deck with sunken hot tubs and great views of Old Town Park City. It's in a 5-star hotel and for the over-35 crowd and one of the coolest bars in town.
Park City Restaurants and Dining
The finest restaurant in Park City is the Riverhorse Cafe. The menu features lobster, filet mignon and rack of lamb and there is an extensive wine list. So if this provides an insight into the type of place it is, then yes, bring the credit card. If its nice out (say, in the summer), the second-level patio is the prime dining spot. (Reservations: 435-649-3536.)
With items such as Teal Leaf smoked duck, Peppercorn encrusted tuna and and Szechwan grilled filet mignon, all served an attentive staff, Wahso is a highly-regarded high-end Oriental experience. (Reservations, 435-615-0300.)
Zoom, owned by Robert Redford and known for its cheesecake, is newly remodeled at the base of Main Street. (Reservations: 435-649-9108)
It's not nearly as fancy but Bandit's Grill and Bar sure is good. Hearty BBQ is the heart and soul of this place – the brisket with steak fries will happily fill any belly growling after a grueling day on the slopes. And go for the seasoned green beans as one of the side orders. After dinner go downstairs to check out the lively pub.
For more casual dining, Watatch Brewing Company at the top of the hill is a local brew pub that's a good dinner/post-food drink spot.