AUGUST 28, 2003
SLC Guide 2003
Where to Go and What to Do in the City You're Stuck In
By Various RED Staff Members

here’s plenty to do in Salt Lake City. Seriously. And it doesn’t have to involve a ride around Temple Square in a desperately slow moving, horse-drawn carriage. Comedy Central’s Dave Attell attempted to shed some light on Salt Lake City’s night life, but we thought we’d one-up him with this thorough guide to culturally enriching activities to pursue in your downtime.

Our City’s Selection of Purchasable Sounds

by Jamie Gadette

everal groundbreaking changes have occurred since the publication of last year’s SLC Guide. Stores have closed, reopened and relocated and local independents have responded to the challenge of competing with corporate chains (by either appropriating doctrines similar to the faceless giants or by standing firm and staying true to the D..I.Y way).
Fortunately, everything seems to have balanced out. Though a certain amount of competition certainly exists among the various retailers, each one has a strength that sets it apart from the rest. Here’s a guide to help you figure out which best fits your needs.

Graywhale CD Exchange
208 S. 1300 East
The newly remodeled Graywhale is not a girl, not yet a woman. Fresh off a move from its previous location less than a block away, the store is apparently still scrambling for middle ground. Efforts to attract an new audience while also retaining a core following have resulted in a space where music is slowly taking a back seat to extraneous product.

The building itself is a vast improvement upon the original site. Situated in a two-story structure, the physical space is comfortably spacious and is enhanced by lights that actually allow one to scour for sonic gems without any accompanying eye strain.

The main entrance flaunts a cafe where students can purchase coffee as lovely as the caffeine buzz it inflicts. Once inside, customers can visit the listening area where any album may be reviewed before purchase. This is a stellar feature, as it allows for exposure to a wider range of artists that one might otherwise overlook.

And there is certainly no need to rush. If you need any further guidance in widening your musical repertoire, simply grab one of the good-natured employees for some knowledgeable advice. Don’t need or want any help? Don’t ask. Employees are just as happy to let customers peruse at their own pace.

Graywhale is still a first-rate store—but the new changes are up for debate. The selection of DVDs upstairs might translate into financial success; however, it may also make die-hard music lovers yearn for the days when vinyl wasn’t relegated to out-of-sight boxes on the floor. (There are also seven additional locations across the valley, but for our purposes, only the U-area store was deemed worth visiting).

Modified Music
1310 E. 200 South
If you’re not careful, you might discover Modified Music by tumbling down its harrowing staircase. The store, recently relocated from its blink-and-miss spot on 900 South, now occupies a netherworldy space on a plane parallel to The Pie Pizzeria.

Modified specializes in rare imports and singles, an emphasis that effectively separates them from the U-area’s main music supplier down the street (see above). After 13 years in existence, the store has clearly carved a particular niche in the market by focusing on industrial, gothic and ’80s music. If Echo and the Bunnymen turn you on, this place is for you. For those who have no idea what this group is, go inside Modified and broaden your perspective.

878 E. 900 South
Walking into Orion’s is like stepping into Championship Vinyl, the elitist-run record shop featured in the cinematic classic “High Fidelity.” One half-expects Jack Black to jump out and ridicule customers for purchasing The Strokes, as the New York hipsters are sooo played out. But perhaps these elusive exclusionary tactics are the store’s greatest strength.

Looking for old Lou Reed or maybe a little Dressy Bessy? Those with musical tastes bent to sounds from off the beaten path will find comfort in bins overflowing with bands too good to fit any FM playlist. The store also offers the city’s best selection of local CDs, a feature that attests to owner Andy Fletcher’s commitment to helping his community thrive.

Virgin Megastore
12 S. 400 South
It’s a bit disconcerting to admit an affection for a corporate behemoth. However, it’s also difficult to deny the attractive qualities of the Virgin Megastore. At first, patrons may find themselves disoriented by the myriad displays of sensory attractors.

Should you listen to the top-20 listening station, outfitted with huge neon numbers, or rifle through the many aisles in search of your own favorite artists? Read an excerpt from a pop culture novel or zone out at the video game consul?

Fortunately, any number of (almost overly) friendly employees will rush over to save you from consumer confusion (on one visit, all five staff members inquired about our well-being). Virgin is a browser’s paradise—a perfect place to waste time and a chance to remember that you never did replace that lost copy of Elvis Costello’s Greatest Hits (it’s there, and it’s only $10).

342 S. State Street
Though it might be hard to believe, Salt Lake City does have a thriving hip-hop scene. Most of it is confined to the underground, and that’s what makes the sounds streaming from down under so appealing. Uprok is at the center of this scene, supporting local artists who excel within all five areas of hip hop. In addition to a vast collection of hip-hop CDs and records, the store also hosts monthly showcases where people can watch the display of raw, witty freestyling in real time.

A Stroll Through a Selection of Salt Lake City's Galleries

by Stephanie Geerlings

t is possible to live in Salt Lake City without noticing the engaging art community here. That would be similar to living in this city and never visiting the origin of the grid system. However, the link to the art world is easy to find with enough Paxil and literate address jumping.

The Gallery Stroll on the third Friday of every month provides the beginning of local art education. There were too many galleries to do an adequate exposé, so instead I have chosen my favorite galleries.

The many galleries in the area consistently reflect their respective tastes. Just talk to gallery owners, presented artists and vagabonds. Art is abundant in this city and it’s growing all of the time.

Thin Air Design
926 E. 900 South
This new gallery is one of a kind, gracing Salt Lake City’s eventful Ninth and Ninth intersection. A visual art gallery was the only thing missing. Now it is the only building that jumps out.

Designed by local architect Lloyd Platt, the gallery hosts practical, customized and creative wares. The paintings upstairs are by Platt, who just could not stay away from the paint pallet any longer.

The main level was meant to be a unique furniture retail store. The upstairs was to provide gallery owner and artist Kathryn Lichfield studio space. Showing artists eventually became a working part of the gallery’s mission.

Lichfield hopes to bring industrial artists to manufacturers. Currently, the gallery connects custom pieces to consumers, instead of having them produced by a production line.

Out of public need, Lichfield hopes to have a materials library for local artists and professors to touch, feel and smell.

Up the vibraphone-like stairs is the gallery. The shows last two months, which is longer than most, but it ensures you won’t have to miss something good. The gallery’s grand opening was July 18. This new gallery is sure to become a well-known cornerstone in the community.

Finch Lane Gallery
54 Finch Lane
This gallery works hand in hand with its University of Utah neighbors. It often shows work of renowned professors and excelling students. It is a relaxed environment for gallery strolls.

The gallery is separated into two large rooms and several nooks. It is a great layout because it can do two shows at once—landscape painting in one room and big red shoes in the next. Not that they have done that (yet).

The exhibits consist of the usual fine art. They show some crafts, like jewelry and ceramics, as well.

Dynamically, the space becomes a think tank. It is typical to see professors with their students in conversation about solving technical and theoretical problems.

Art has a need to be discussed, as the obsessive creative pastime is only meaningful when questioned.

Phillip’s Gallery
444 E. 200 South
Phillip’s Gallery presents well known and working contemporary artists. Getting a show here is often the envy of local artists. Typically, Phillip’s exhibits feature artists who have already impressed their community and are booked at least a year in advance. The owners are definitely art lovers and artists themselves, but they are highbrow.

More often than not, Phillip’s sets the pace for local art tastes.

For your art needs, there is an art supply store attached, with papers and inks that are unmatched at this level of convenience. A student discount is offered, but I can’t promise there will be no roll of eyes if you ask a materials question and accidentally stumble.

Art Space Forum Gallery
511 W. 200 South
Located right before you get out of town via train-jumping, snuggled-under-the-bridge projects, the Art Space Forum Gallery is a one of a kind art friendly space.

They have been known to throw some wonderful parties alongside controversial art shows. This gallery successfully runs the gamut of design-oriented art to contemporary local genius. The space itself begs to be filled, and it usually is. The ceiling height attempts to reach heaven, and the simple refined concrete lends the curator endless possibility with moving walls, racks and hanging apparatuses.

Salt Lake City is becoming a beautiful urban queen, though it is tempered like a 5-year-old princess at times. Art Space Forum continually impresses its attendees and absolutely adds to the art capacity of the city. These types of art experiences lend an atmosphere of culture to our quaint town.

In October, Art Space Forum will occupy the space with a printmaker extravaganza. In this event, some of the best locally selected printers will display together in a contrast of style and technique. This is a must-see gallery for any and every gallery stroll. You will rarely be disappointed.

Walk of Shame Gallery
351 W. Pierpont Ave.

Alongside its friendly neighbors on Pierpont Avenue, the Walk of Shame did not originally intend to be gallery. A triumvirate of young working artists, Alex Ferguson, Derek Mellus and Eric Delphenich, meant it for their own studio space. They soon realized the potential of putting up shows for the gallery stroll. The shows have always been only one or two days long, but have included some incredible work.

Ferguson wants to showcase artists who “are not represented, are up-and-coming or are cats that can paint.”

Delphenich uses the space as a portrait studio for Delphenich photography. Ferguson graduated from Westminster College in photography and ceramics and “haphazardly attempted graduate school,” but in the end he could not justify it. He teaches pinhole photography and other art techniques to interested youth and will teach private lessons in any of the many areas in his vast talent collection.

Derek Mellus uses the studio to paint. He creates 3-D box constructions, much like Joseph Cornell, the famed modernist of the 1950s. All of the owners are of exceptional talent and show their work around town. The one- or two-day exhibits give them the rest of the month to keep working.

They’ve created a very special gallery experience. The gallery touts being perhaps the only one in the world that does not, and will never, take commission from the artists’ sales. Walk of Shame has been operating as a gallery since December 2000. This December, the owners will celebrate their 3 year anniversary party with art and the obligatory cheap wine. Walk of Shame does the gallery stroll right, allowing patrons and friends to hang out deep into the night. Its first call for entries since it opened is taking place now, in hopes to book local worker bees for January through May, 2004.

For the More Classical Tastes

by Christian A. Gentry

ometimes you need to escape the bar and rock scene for the breath of fresh air found in the several venues where classical music is the soup du jour, tous les jours. Although there are many venues, two big areas in the city that provide the best experiences: downtown and the U.

Within five square blocks, one can find Abravanel Hall, Capitol Theatre and Temple Square’s Tabernacle and Assembly Hall. All of these venues run the gamut of classical music.

Abravanel Hall
123 S. West Temple
Named after famed Utah Symphony conductor Maurice Abravanel, this large 2,811 seat concert hall is the home of the Utah Symphony. The concert season at Abravanel features artists both international and local. The performed repertoire is always sufficient to whet the appetite of both the occasional listener and long-time concertgoer. Located in the heart of downtown, this venue is within walking distance of the area’s great restaurants and bars.

Student tickets rarely go above $8. For more information, call 355 2787.

Capitol Theatre's facade looks as lovely as the shows -including the delightful "The Full Mony" - that are put on inside. Enlighten your weekends by taking in a play.  

Capitol Theatre
50 W. 200 South
A few blocks to the south, one can find the home of Ririe Woodbury Dance Company, Ballet West and the Utah Opera. In addition to the city’s companies, Capitol Theatre is the main venue for traveling Broadway shows such as “The Full Monty,” which starts next month. The Capitol Theatre provides a great variety of performances in both dance and music. So if you want to try out the opera, ballet or some musical theatre, call 355-2787. Tickets sell fast, so be sure to get them in advance. And while you are at it, ask about the student rush tickets.

The Tabernacle and Assembly Hall
(Just head to where all the street numbers hit zero)
Located in historic Temple Square, the Tabernacle is the home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square. Assembly Hall usually hosts smaller events such as instrumental soloists and chamber groups. The admission is always free, which is by definition a great deal. Yet it is always good to get the tickets ahead of time, because they are given out quickly. Find out what the programming will be in advance as well.

Some things may be for more of the LDS crowd, but often it is a user-friendly program for all lovers of choral and orchestral music. Call 240-0080 for upcoming events and tickets.

The University of Utah is a hub of cultural happenings, whether it be from the Associated Students of the University of Utah Presenter’s Office, its Red Fest (ASUU stole our name, the punks!), the various campus festivals, the various performing groups or, of course, the motocross in Rice-Eccles Stadium. Did I mention Ute football? How can you miss it? As far as music is concerned, the on campus venues supply the community with some of the best performances.

Kingsbury Hall
President’s Circle
Although the performance of “Porgy and Bess” last year was a big flop and utterly unenjoyable, Kingsbury still brings diverse entertainment to placate the masses. If one is looking for classical music in particular, Kingsbury doesn’t bring much to the palette, save a few guest artists and the Utah Lyric Opera (the university’s own opera company).

Great performances of great music are hard to come by in the great hall of Kingsbury. But, if you want dancing and other easy entertainment, it’s the place to go. If it suits your mood, the student ticket prices are fairly reasonable. For more information, call 581 7100.

Libby Gardner Hall
President’s Circle
One of the most beautiful concert halls in the area is right in our own yard. Since its addition to the refurbished Gardner Hall, Libby is clearly one of the best venues in the Salt Lake City area for classical music. Libby Gardner Hall is booked almost every evening during the school year.

Each night is something new. Be it the University Wind Ensemble or violinist extraordinaire Joshua Bell, Libby brings an enriching and far-reaching experience for all who attend.

The hall is also quickly becoming a second home for the Utah Symphony. Through the Connoisseur Series, the Utah Symphony plays smaller chamber works, including ones that use of the Lively-Fulcher pipe organ.

Most important is the Virtuoso Series. This series is becoming one of the most-attended and highly praised concert series in the valley. For any information regarding events at Libby Gardner Hall, call the School of Music at 581-6762. For information regarding the Virtuoso Series, call 587-9483.

We all need a breath of fresh air. And the freshest (or is it most fresh?) can be found in the concert hall.

Next Year's Headline: Salt Lake City Turns Into a Giant Art-House Cinema

by Jeremy Mathews

o, isn’t this Salt Lake City? Since when did we have almost as many screens showing artsy fartsy films as one of the several megaplexes has showing mainstream product?

The Downtown Area
Art-House Eruption

The Salt Lake Film Society
Tower Theatre and Video
876 E. 900 South
(801) 321-0310

The Salt Lake Film Society
Broadway Film Center
300 S. State Street

A woman sweeps up the posh cafe area in the lobby of the new Madstone Theater, a corporate chain that cares about independent cinema - and money.  

Madstone Theaters
Trolley Square Mall
500S. 700 East
Salt Lake City’s art-house scene has undergone a serious makeover this year, gaining 10 more screens—six independent and four corporate. The long established Tower Theatre’s non profit Salt Lake Film Society took over the Broadway Centre six screen theater shortly after its former owners switched to art house format.

Since then, attendance has noticeably increased, although it’s rarely so crowded as to be uncomfortable. A new cafe space is currently being developed as well.

This has allowed for more art house films in a city that once had only the Tower’s single screen. Unfortunately, the Tower’s pleasant atmosphere has taken a back seat since the opening of the Broadway, including the limited use of the theater for the summer due to a broken air conditioner. It was only open for the repertory Midnight Movie series, video rentals from the expansive archives and the occasional special screenings. It reopens this weekend with “Respiro.”

The newest theater is the corporate chain Madstone Theaters, in the Trolley Square Mall space that had been vacant for two years. The theater includes a cafe space that shows videos on mute while movie soundtracks play on the stereo and a “personal trailer,” who tells you what to think of the film before you watch it. The theater’s target audience consists of yuppies and newlyweds.

The sound and screen are nice, and I didn’t think I’d find any issues to complain about until I went to see the re-release of Jean-Pierre Melville’s “Le Cercle Rouge” last weekend and the theater won my now third-annual Learn-to-Show-Films-in-the Correct-Aspect-Ratio Award.

I have no desire to once again explain that the top and bottom of films shot in the 1.33:1 and 1.66:1 ratios are cut off when projected in 1.85:1, the current standard. When I complained about the problem, the closest I received to results came during one of the film’s many quiet moments, when I listened to the confused projectionist talk about how the titles were cut off at the top and bottom of the screen.

So we’ll have to wait to find out if Madstone can redeem itself and continue to bring more interesting art films to Salt Lake City.


Trolley Corners Cinema
515 S. 700 East
The movie theater across the street from Trolley Square Mall is best known for the impressively large screen in theater one. Checking out a film in this theater is almost like attending a show at a movie palace, assuming there aren’t any projection problems, such as dim bulbs and misaligned lenses. It’s fun, the sound is nice and you can enjoy a special effects extravaganza.

Cheap Seats

Brewvies Cinemapub
677 S. 200 West

Sugar House Movies 10
1300 East @I-80
For people on a budget, some theaters show second-run films for cheap.

Brewvies Cinemapub usually shows second-run films (with a few exceptions) that are artsy or are the sort-of hip Hollywood types.

The screen and sound is in nicer condition than in the other cheap theaters, and you can enjoy a meal or drink with your film (you must be 21 or older to enter). Unfortunately, this makes for a louder audience that might distract from the movie. The food is good, but it’s very difficult to eat the not as-simple-as-popcorn meals while sitting in a dark theater, trying to pay attention to a David Cronenberg film.

Films only cost $2.00 on Tuesdays, which makes them as crowded as on the weekend.

If you want to watch your films with younger drunks, go to the Sugarhouse 10 on a weekend, where some high school students sneak in beer and drink the night away. If you don’t want to pay $7 or want to re-watch a movie, this is a great, inexpensive ($1.50, $1.00 matinees) place to watch movies when it isn’t crowded.


Century 16
125 E. 3300 South

Gateway 12
165 S. Rio Grande Street

Jordan Commons
9400 S. State

Patriots everywhere flock to the American institutions that are megaplexes. A couple of years ago, they were built to put those unpleasant multiplexes out of business. The age of stadium seating and eye-catching decor had arrived. Now, nothing much has changed.

The Century 16 is probably the most popular of these theaters because of its semi-suburban location and its THX-certified theaters, which ensure a good experience for sound and screen (the screen with gray tape on it has even been replaced). This is your best bet if you’re seeing a movie that won’t be incredibly crowded.

If you’re seeing a movie on the weekend, get there really early or reconsider going. You can always wait until Tuesday, when the shows won’t be overflowing. It should be illegal to let someone sit as close to the theater’s curved screen as the first few front rows are. Unless you prefer your actors’ faces distorted beyond reason, sit at least six rows back.

The Gateway complex, an outside mall in a city that’s as hot as an oven in summer and as cold as a freezer in winter, has the second multiplex managed by Salt Lake City’s favorite millionaire, Larry H. Miller. Whether or not you need to beat a crowd, get there early and enjoy the video-projected ads—the Totally Awesome Computers one with the guy kissing a dog is a classic, if you’re into that sort of thing, but I prefer the guy who dies in a bungee jumping accident because he doesn’t “Got Jesus.” Oh, and be prepared to wait 30 minutes to one hour to exit the labyrinthine hell that is the parking lot.

In fact, in the time it takes to get out of the parking lot, you could probably drive to Sandy for Larry Miller’s other, more disturbing theater, Jordan Commons. The vibes are a tad unsettling, but the screens are nice and large.

There’s also the Ritz 15, near the E Center in West Valley City. It’s part of a complex called the Hollywood Connection, so you can rollerskate after the movie. If the lights are at full brightness when the film starts, ask for your money back because there’s no way for them to turn them off—or so the employees will tell you.

How to Grab a Bite at Night

by Bobbi Parry

t first glance, late-night food options in Salt Lake City seem to consist of the Wendy's drive-thru and select 7-Eleven locations. Closer examination reveals…well, Denny's—while being a perfectly decent restaurant (see review), it’s simply not enough.

Hence, RED decided to devote its considerable time and resources to investigating where to go for some truly great late-night cuisine. So we did, and here are the results.

We’re talking about the places where you can stumble in at 4 a.m. and get coffee and some hangover-quelling, craving satisfying, real food. All have pretty standard menus (with variations, of course), mainly breakfast or Mexican foods, with a few sandwiches thrown in, for which you can expect to pay about $6 to $8 for a full plate.

The Galley
64 W. 400 South
Conveniently located within walking (or staggering) distance of most downtown clubs, the Galley is a beer bar (sorry freshmen) and all-night restaurant. Absolutely no effort is made to live up to its seafaring name, either in the food or in the decor. But hey, we're land-locked.

For those of you who just can't stomach the idea of a night life that ends at 1 a.m., the Galley (formerly Anchors Aweigh) gives you the bar atmosphere all night long. It's the only place we visited that allows smoking, the only one that requires ID just to enter and the only one with pool tables and a jukebox. They've even been known to sometimes show porn on the big screen. It has a variety of beers on tap, as well as the full, breakfast-y, Mexican-y, appetizer-y menu and lots of coffee drinks. Just be sure to bring lots of money for the jukebox, unless you want to get stuck listening to Guns ’N’ Roses and AC/DC all night long. [Asst. Editor’s note: There is nothing wrong with listening to either of these legendary acts at any time of day or night.]

Belgian Waffle and Omelet Inn
7331 S 900 East
If, for whatever ungodly reason, you find yourself trapped in Midvale at 3 a.m., take a stop here at the aptly named Belgian Waffle and Omelet Inn. Hell, it’s probably even worth a special trip out there. This is the all-night diner Village Inn wants to be—the sort of place that just craves clouds of cigarette smoke (stupid, damn stupid anti smoking laws). It has classy vinyl booths, fake wood and waitresses who call you “Hon’.” And then there’s the matter of the food—oohh, the waffles. Big waffles, waffles with ice cream, waffles with whipped cream or chocolate, or fruit, or maybe everything, or hell, maybe just maple syrup. If you crave sweet things late at night, this is truly the only place to go.

The menu also boasts the aforementioned omelets and other breakfast-y and dinner-y things, most notably garbage hash, a very large mess of hash browns, vegetables and ham.

Blue Moon Expresso
165 S. West Temple
Blue Moon Expresso (formerly Blue Iguana Expresso) would be a great all-night coffee shop, if it weren't already an all-night restaurant. Which is not to say they don't have a fine selection of coffee drinks and smoothies. Blue walls, nice lighting, tables with collages on them—they even have a chess board—all give the Blue Moon the prize for most aesthetic late-night dining experience. We recommend the outdoor dining, mainly because it comes with entertainment in the form of the semi-coherent masses exiting DV8.

Its menu leans far more toward Mexican food, but still doesn’t forget the all-important breakfast. It gets extra health points for stuff like the vegetarian nachos, which come with fresh vegetables and black bean and aguas frescas—fresh fruits mixed with water to create yummy drinks.

Village Inn/Dee's/Denny's
various locations
Only open all night on Fridays and Saturdays, Village Inn is the poser of the group. (It's only open until 2 a.m. the rest of the week.) To add insult to injury, they serve from a “late-night menu,” a reduced version of their daytime selections. You'd best go to Dee's instead, where everything is identical, except they serve their full menu all the time and give you salads in amusing little clamshell dishes. But then, who eats salads late at night? And Village Inn leaves you a whole pot of coffee on the table and their pie is better.

Oooohhh, maybe you should just give up and go to Denny's instead, where you can eat your eggs in peace, knowing that you are the ONLY SANE PERSON THERE.

There is no dress code or guest list at Beto's, a favorite spot for drunken gluttony, horchata and pleasant customer service. What more could you ask at 3 a.m.?

various locations
Ahhh, Beto’s. We did say no fast food drive-thrus, but, just to clarify, Beto's is not Taco Bell. It is Mexican fast food the way it was meant to be. Burritos, tacos, enchiladas, a la carte or in a combo are all served with healthy portions of grease guaranteed to absorb whatever chemical substances you may have ingested in your nightly wanderings.

In fact, if you're broke by 2 a.m., just go stand inside the restaurant and absorb the grease in the air. You'll be sober in no time. They even have horchata (Mexican rice milk).

If you're still not satisfied watching people stagger out of DV8 at the Blue Moon, come on over to Beto's and check out the crowd about half an hour after the bars close. Muy interesante.

Stop and Smell the Coffee Houses

by Stephanie Geerlings, Autumn Thatcher and Jordan Scrivner

offee houses used to be called Penny Universities. The name comes from England, where professors and students of local colleges would meet for coffee, which only cost a penny. At least at one time coffee was cheap and accommodated a progressive thinktank for interesting individuals.

A Cup of Joe
353 W. 200 South
This quaint but spacious coffee retreat has some of the best baristas this town has to offer. The counter is chill, attentive and addresses the regulars by name. It is chess-, reading- and lollygagging-friendly. And if you have ever lived in Utah, it is good to note that this is one coffee house that is at least open until 2 p.m. on Sunday. (The coffee bean juice is not as accessible as the gods would like on the sabbath.)

The setting is littered with information boards, daily rags and used novels. It’s a great place to wait for people—ensuring a good time, even if the awaited never shows up.

The menu offers blended drinks for people with mini-ice addiction. (There is a large number of these people infused in your society.) They also have the best herbal iced tea, made with hibiscus, chamomile, mint, lots of sugar and secret mystical ingredients.

It is a welcoming coffee shop with plenty of corners to make a solitary retreat. The good drinks are evenly priced and some food items are worth consuming.

House of Coffee
450 W. 200 South
This is the best coffee house in town. It has only been open about three months and everything there makes the inner smile under my cold exterior grow and grow.

The daily crowds are oh-so pretty in clashing chiffon and colorful tattoos dripped into their skin. It is situated in the Bridge Projects next to Good Times Tattoo and the creative, bright people flourish here.

The counter is full of lovely people. Imir, the co-owner, was the most attentive, affable person I have met in a long while. It is easy to get coffee with or without flavor thanks to the simplified naming scheme: coffee, coffee with soy milk, or coffee with arsenic, and all in a variety of comprehendible sizes. The coffee is affordable, which is refreshing. After all, coffee is more than an amenity. It is a necessity. The House of Coffee people understand this and stay open as late as possible, often until 3 a.m.

Imir says anyone may bring them artwork to hang and they won’t take a percentage if it sells. Currently, there is a photo show called “Anatomy of Their Shadows” by Mike Bernard. His pictures were taken from the deserted past, over places like burnt taxidermy studios and the hauntings of everyday objects. Sri Whipple is showing portrait paintings like only he can, featuring Bernard and Ben Callister.

There is some great repo poster-style art and another local artist named Skot, who paints brightly colored sperm-like creatures.

The good, strong coffee straightens your spine and makes you spit farther. House of Coffee deliver the atmosphere, the people and the material that makes coffee drinking a cult practice.

A rare moment of calm occurs at Salt Lake Coffee Break, which usually bustles with people waiting in line to grab some coffee, vegan cookies and/or hummus to eat while checking out potential dates on the patio.

Salt Lake Coffee Break
430 E. 400 South
Perhaps most famous for its late-night hours, Salt Lake Coffee Break is a good place to sober up after a night at the clubs or just to hang out and relax with friends. Salt Lake Coffee Break features a variety of flavored teas and coffees, in addition to various types of vegan meals and snacks. Though Coffee Break makes tasty coffee, they do not offer any new and innovative tastes to the coffee world.

In other words, there is nothing spectacular enough to compensate for the overpriced coffee.

In addition to the pricey beverages, the vegan snacks are tasteful, but are also a bit much for the small square of treats that can be finished in a few tiny bites.

Though the main focus of the Break house is to sell coffee, it seems as though the attraction to Coffee Break is its atmosphere. There are two fairly large inside rooms—one offers chairs and tables, the other comfortable couches. Groups of people seem to flock to the couches, some to drink coffee, others to lay down and sleep.

The chairs and tables found in the room where coffee can be bought provide for numerous games of chess and opportunities to read one of the various newspapers and magazines on display.

In addition to the two inside rooms, the patio is available for those who want to smoke and watch the exciting nightlife of Salt Lake City. (Please note the immense sarcasm.) All in all, the Break House is a nice place to go late at night, as it is open until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Sugarhouse Coffee
2106 S. Highland Drive
My iced coffee with tons of soy milk and organic sugar is slowly turning into a lukewarm Americana (that’s a watered-down cappuccino for you kids at home) as I applaud the kinda-cute violinist for the jazz band The No Star Five. Well, the band’s name changes depending on who shows up to play that night, but tonight, there are five of them. The violinist finishes her amazing solo. She puts down her bow and passes the ball to Spencer Kellogg, who takes over on his baritone sax.

Sugarhouse Coffee (formerly known as Bluekats) would be worth going to just to check out the No Star Band, who play every Sunday night. (Three of them play every Monday and Wednesday at noon.) As far as the coffee shop itself, though, reviews are mixed. The coffee is cheap, but there’s no guarantee they’ll get your order right. “I ordered a 12 and they gave me a 20,” said Marlin Taylor in his best vocal impression of an indignant coffee shop customer. “But I like the plethora of chessboards.”

A lot of changes have taken place since Bluekats turned into Sugarhouse. Shea McDonough, one of the three new owners of the newly revamped coffee place, seems to be hitting his stride as a cafe owner. “The Bluekats people got sick of running this place and sold it to us. We’ve finally just got settled so that we’re really taking care of (this place.)”

Most of the critiques that came from fellow customers were compare-and-contrast with the good old days of Bluekats. “Bluekats had style, it had pictures of blue cats all over the place. This place is just…bland,” said my roommate, who chose to be quoted anonymously. But not everyone is a fan of the fabled blue cats of Bluekats. “I hated those blue cats!” said Laura Ruhlman, a former student at the U. “They were downright creepy!”

I admit I never visited Sugarhouse during its Bluekats days, but I like the atmosphere of Sugarhouse Coffee on its own. I still haven’t decided whether the decorating could be considered eclectic, or just deranged. The lattices in the outside drinking area give it a European feel, while the cracked glass on the front door and the live jazz give it that nifty beat feel. Plus, the Internet stations and chessboard give it a certain geek quality that somehow all fits together and makes sense. Oh, and the coffee’s really good too.

If you’re looking for a nice place to hang out with your friends, Sugarhouse is a good bet…especially if it’s a Sunday.

Millcreek Coffee and Bagel Co.
613 E. 400 South
Millcreek Coffee and Bagel Co. seems to be in that weird missing-link area between fast food joint and restaurant. The meal is prepared before your eyes, much like it is in Subway, but the waiter/chef/clerk takes his or her time preparing your sandwich, taking care to put just the right amount of hummus on the Hummus Amungus (actual food item).

Then, when the food is handed to you, it looks like something you may have ordered at a three-star restaurant. Everything after that, though, is essentially like eating at an Arby’s except (a) it’s cleaner, (b) there are less people and (c) there are about three or four guys just standing around, waiting for you to finish your meal and to get the hell out of the place.

For some inexplicable reason, the Millcreek Coffee and Bagel Co. closes up shop at 5 p.m. By the time I got there, it was even too late to order coffee. Maybe they just do things differently where I come from, but I would think it would make the most sense to be serving food and coffee around dinner time, when most people who eat bagels and coffee begin to crave bagels and coffee! Sheesh!

A Search for the Printed Word

by Jordan Scrivner

homas Carlyle once said, “The greatest university is a collection of books.” Hopefully you read that before you paid your tuition. For generations, bookstores have been the source of the perfect gift for the curious scholar, the jaded professor or even the curiously jaded child. Here are some fine spots to buy a garden to put in your pocket.

Go fishing through the many stacks of novels and manga at Mermaid Books, located on 1300 East.

Mermaid Books
250 S. 1300 East
Mermaid Books is the dictionary definition of the quaint little used bookstore owned by the nice Japanese lady. It is a tiny nook of a bookstore located across the street from the Wells Fargo near campus. It is owned by Naomi Larsen, who created the bookstore on her last birthday, Dec. 20. “It’s my retirement plan,” said Larsen with a smile. “Next December I’ll turn 40 and my store will have its 1-year anniversary!”

Larsen (who looks young for her age) runs a very mellow and inviting bookstore. Fans whir silently overhead as you enter, and Norah Jones plays from Larsen’s stereo in the back of the store. To your right is a $120 Buddha statue that sits atop a shelf devoted to religion and mystery novels.

To the left…manga. Lots and lots of manga. Larsen, who is from Japan, is quite proud of her impressive Japanese comic collection. “Everything on the right [from where Larsen sits] is Japanese and everything to the left is English. Some people go all the way to L.A. to get the manga that we have here.”

Like a lot of independent used bookstores, the selection is scattered. But, like a lot of independent used bookstores, Mermaid Books comes with a genuine personality all its own. Shelves are labeled with magic marker “Good Reading,” “(Some Kind of) Art” and “Heroes and Weirdoes.” The front desk has jewelry and picture postcards that Larsen’s friends have made. The feel-good quality of Mermaid Books is something that cannot be faked. This is a fine place that anyone in the community should want to support.


Sam Weller’s Zion Bookstore
254 S. Main Street
Since its inception in 1929, Sam Weller’s Zion Bookstore has been a veritable landmark of culture in downtown Salt Lake City. Like any good Zion bookstore, they are closed on Sunday. Boasting literally millions of books, Sam Weller’s has always gotten endless amounts of good ink about its wide selection, courteous staff and historical significance in Salt Lake City.

It’s not at all hard to get lost in the bookstore, which has three floors of books from floor to ceiling, with plenty of nooks and crannies to wander around in, especially in the basement. The store also has special events almost daily, including the KUED Program/Book Club which is currently discussing Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

With the notable exception of a library, Sam Weller’s is an ideal spot for one to just sit around for hours, browsing and reading whatever title should come across one’s lap. To put it quite simply, Sam Weller’s is the Cadillac of used bookstores in Salt Lake.

Experienced Books
2150 South Highland Drive
The books sold at Experienced Books are not used biochemical waste, but are wisdom-filled gems perused by someone somewhere. They have practiced in the art of being read, they are experienced.

Every good bookstore should have a couple of things. Bookstores should be accessible in a highly trafficked area that enjoys a blustery rainy day. Bookstores are an oasis for the mind to refresh. The books that inspire us connect us to our surroundings or ourselves. Every good bookstore needs life.

Experienced Books offers those not allergic to a variety of cats to keep them company. One more important facet that not every bookstore has is a union sympathizer who will tell you everything you need to know about organizing and educating yourself for the cause.

As we write, Experienced Books is moving! They don’t have an exact address yet, but they are moving just downstairs from their current location on 2150 S. Highland Drive.

“We’re just moving downstairs. We don’t have an address yet, but we’ve already got…our fiction section down there,” said Keith Clauson, the owner and manager of Experienced Books.

All of Experienced’s famous cats and knickknacks will be there, along with a wide selection of wonderful used books. When asked when the moving will be finished, Clauson said, “The moving is never finished in the used-book business.
”—JS and Stephanie Geerlings

King’s English Books
1511 S. 1500 East
If you’ve ever taken an English class higher than 1020, you probably know all about King’s English Bookstore. “Professors often order books from here when they don’t want to [order them] through the U bookstore,” clerk Rachel Otto said. “The most knowledgeable customer would shop here.” King’s English sells new books, but also has a section devoted to used mystery novels.

The store, which celebrates its 26th anniversary this September, is an ideal place to shop for a new gift for your favorite bibliophile. And if they don’t have the book you’re looking for, simply order it and it should get there in about a week.

Barnes and Noble / Borders

Various Locations
You’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.

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