Après Ski in Utah? Decidedly Not an Oxymoron
|BRIGHT LIGHTS, SMALL CITY: Park City's Main Street (Latham Jenkins/courtesy, Park City CVB)|
Those yearning for evidence that the term "conservative" is a misnomer for Park City should look no further than the small town's main street, which is lined with more than 20 bars and nightclubs. This high concentration of nightlife frequented by a comparatively small local population of 7,000 clearly indicates that this town likes to party. This refreshing venue-to-local ratio promises that there's something to suit every taste and mood—save smokers, as nearly all the bars have voluntarily gone smoke-free within the last few years. Be advised that despite last call being at 1 a.m. (which does help get you into bed at a reasonable time), locals here rarely frequent the bars before 10 p.m. If you're looking to absorb the scene, plan accordingly.
Follow a narrow path off Main Street and you'll find The Spur, a contemporary western joint with local bands performing nightly (www.thespurbarandgrill.com; 350 ½ Main Street; 435.615.1618). A large square-shaped bar occupies the middle of the room, allowing for prime people watching. Arrive early to claim the coziest area on the leather sofa next to the fireplace, which provides a front row seat for viewing the snow dumping outside. The bar offers a selection of wines by the glass, numerous bottled beers, and a complete range of spirits. The Spur recently added a kitchen and features a hearty, cowboy-themed menu served until midnight. Staple items include a beef, chicken, and chorizo stew; grilled buffalo ribs; and herb-crusted catfish prepared with a black bean sauce.
Across the street from The Spur, The Sidecar (www.sidecarbar.com; 333 Main Street, 2nd Floor; 435.645.SHOT) makes for a great place to bar-hop. Sidecar's industrial décor and live bands primarily attract those in their 20s and 30s. Besides a name that takes a stab at Utah's quirky drinking laws, it's the ideal spot to get acquainted with the locals—and members of the opposite sexand it's got an outdoor balcony with heat lamps overlooking Main Street. Perhaps its most renowned feature is the Fat Kid Pizza, the only authentic, thin-crust, New York-style pizza in Utah. Served until closing, and you'll ski it off the next day.
For those who like to work out sore muscles on the dance floor, Harry O's is the club to make it happen (www.Harryos-pc.com; 427 Main St.; 435.655.7579). The pulsating nightclub offers DJs who spin Top 40 and hip-hop, and the club occasionally hosts a live national act. Park City locals often joke that the club's overly serious security personnel should be recruited as the next president's secret service team. Once you gain entry, take in the view of scantily clad women dancing on the bar from the upstairs balcony, or feel important by occupying one of the roped-off VIP booths (which may be reserved in advance). Remember, however, this is Utah. Nightlife is not quite as evolved as it is elsewhere—bottle service is prohibited.
All this drinking and dancing does require a bit of sustenance as well. For one of Park City's latest and greatest, look beyond Main Street to an unassuming shopping center in Kimble Junction 10 minutes from Park City. There you'll find Ghidotti's (435.658.0669; www.ghidottis.com), the latest in local-food-celeb and former-ski-bum Bill White's collection of restaurants. At first blush, you feel as if you've stepped into a worm hole that's delivered you to Vegas, and that's largely because part of the décor originates from Sin City—as well as Italy, Turkey, and other exotic locales. But the rush of ostentation soon gives way to a soothing atmosphere of candle light, marble, and ironwork. The smells of the food prime you for the cuisine to come, with dishes that range from soups and appetizers to salads like the signature grape and gorgonzola with roasted almonds and red wine oil, along with pasta and entrée dishes like seared ahi tuna brushed with spicy mustard and capers or a wild mushroom tortelloni with goat cheese. Yes, the wine list is just as decadent, and yes, you will have to schedule at least one more day on the slopes to keep your waist line under conrol.
Additional reporting by Nathan Borchelt
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication