Nine. That’s the number of days temps reached or exceeded 100 degrees last month in Salt Lake City. And we’re not done yet. If history is any indication, we’ll likely get another 10 days of hot weather before summer 2023 is in the rearview. But have no fear. Following is a compilation of fun and festive ways to stay cool while embracing summer’s sweet second half.

Sip an icy cocktail

The margarita, Aperol spritz, sangria, pina colada or a paloma are all popular steamy-day sippers. But why not try a seasonal cocktail custom-made by a local mixologist? Something like Alibi Bar & Place's Trail of Joy, a refreshing combination of pisco, sake, rinquinquin (peach liqueur), lemon, and honey. Alibi Bar & Place, open daily, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Open your mind in air-conditioned comfort at UMOCA

SLC’s de facto center for contemporary expression just opened three fantastic new exhibitions: A Greater Utah, a sweeping and powerfully thought-provoking display of nearly 30 Utah artists’ work selected by six guest curators, each hailing from a different region of the state; Left Time, a video piece by Steven Stallings-Cardenas examining the often stifling limitations of the modern workplace; and Ben Sang’s Gut Set, a collection of place-specific items that Sang describes as “artifacts of an embodied experience of living in Utah.” UMOCA, 20 S. West Temple, open Wednesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., $10 suggested donation

Indulge in summer’s favorite dessert
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This is what we’re daydreaming of during summer’s dog days: a cup of soft serve topped with acute and crunchy fish-shaped waffle cookie from Doki Doki Japanese Dessert Café, 249 E. 400 South, Monday to Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; a scoop of vegan tea & biscuits, lavender, rocky road, or banana brownie ice cream (we promise you won’t miss the dairy!) from Monkeywrench, open Monday – Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, noon to 11p.m.; a homemade cinnamon waffle cone stuffed with white chocolate cashew ice cream from Rockwell Ice Cream, 115A Regent St, Monday – Thursday, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. 11 p.m.; or a generous scoop of Nutella gelato from Capo Gelateria Italiana, 260 S. 200 West, open Monday – Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 9 p.m.

Get your science on at Clark Planetarium

Admission to the well-done exhibits there is always free of charge, of course. You can also buy a ticket to catch a film in the planetarium’s IMAX 3D theatre or Hansen Dome Theatre. But for something really special, grab tickets to one of the planetarium’s monthly Night Vision shows, alive show when educators or guest speakers unleash the Dome Theatre's suite of advanced modeling and multimedia tools to explore a range of astronomical topics. This month’s Night Vision shows, on August 11 and 12th, will explore Comets and Meteor Showers.

Catch a cool breeze from a rooftop bar
Rooftop Patio Gracies

Even on SLC’s hottest days, cool air from the Wasatch Mountain Range wafts down from higher altitudes to cool off the valley floor once the sun goes down. Position yourself to take advantage of this natural phenomena by taking a sundown seat at one of downtown’s cool rooftop bars: Gracie’s, 326 S. West Temple, Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Van Ryder, atop the Le Meridian Hotel, 131 S. 300 West, Tuesday –Saturday, 5 p.m. to midnight, Sunday, 5 to 10 p.m.; or Green Pig Pub, 31 E. 400 South, 11 2 a.m., daily.

Splash around in The Gateway’s Olympic fountain.

We dare you to resist walking through the cool, dancing spray of water making up this snowflake-shaped fountain at The Gateway outdoor mall. This family-friendly plaza where the fountain is located is furnished with tables with umbrellas and turf inviting hanging out and staying awhile. 15 Rio Grande St, open Thursday through Sunday until 9 p.m., fountain closes at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesdays for Goat Yoga and Sunset Yoga, respectively.

Take a spin on a GREENbike

Nothing invokes a sense of summery freedom more succinctly than pedaling a bike while the wind whips through your hair. GREENbike, Salt Lake City’s bike share, allows you to pedal traditional two-wheelers or pedal-assited e-bikes for next to nothing—your ticket to ride a GREENbike starts at just $3 for 60 minutes. More than a dozen stations dot the downtown core. Download the share’s handy app to find out what’s available at each station in real time. 

Catch a ride downtown on TRAX

Instead of getting in your oven-like car after a long and leisurely morning at the Downtown Farmer’s Market or an evening of cutting a rug at the Gallivan Center’s Big Band Dance Night, consider catching a ride home in cool comfort on UTA’s TRAX, S-Line or Frontrunner. Around trip fare for an adult is just $5. What’s more, by doing so you can feel good in knowing you helped keep Salt Lake’s air just a little cleaner. 

Visit—and celebrate—the Main Library
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One of the ways the Salt Lake City Library System is celebrating its 125th birthday this year is by offering free tours of its gorgeous and architecturally significant Main Library (210 E. 400South), designed by the internationally renowned architect Moshe Safdie. These 45-minute,free tours are held on the first Wednesday of the month and begin from the A-frame sign in the library’s Urban Room (main atrium) at noon. Pre-registration is not required.

Published in Downtown News and Blog


Who is ready for Water Witch Bar 2.0? The trio behind the 900 south, James Beard-nominated location are expanding downtown. A remarkable location, the hidden and historic Cramer House, part of the recently opened Aster project. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the House was built in 1890 by Christopher Cramer, a Danish immigrant who ran a floral shop. There will be significant upgrades before they’re slinging their spirits. In the meantime, you can anticipate several other developments at The Aster, including a sushi restaurant. 

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Comfortable and cosmopolitan, Cupla Coffee has opened on 200 South next to Homecoming Southern Kitchen–and it is gorgeous! We wandered over on opening day and were greeted like a long-time friend. Cozy furniture, a library wall, great coffee, and genuine, friendly service. What more can you ask for? Yes, we’ll tell you: the two gooey eggs, melty cheese, and smokey bacon on a croissant. 

Doha, Dubai, and Ibiza. Coming soon to Salt Lake, STK, the international celebrity-endorsed steakhouse was teased at the ribbon cutting of phase one of The West Quarter. A clarion call of what Salt Lake residents are thirsty for, The West Quarter opens with Van Ryder, the sexy amber-lit rooftop bar and is complemented by French-themed Adalaide (don’t miss the oysters). 

The “coming soon” sign for LemonShark Poké taunted us for months, then years. We almost gave up hope for the restaurant in The Judge Building, but happy to report the wait is over and reviews are in. The Downtown Ambassadors in the yellow jackets have named it one of their favorite lunch spots and a 4.8 rating on Google Reviews adds to the good publicity. If you’re at Gallivan Plaza, the path to poke is puny. In close proximity is Poke & Sushi Hut, Fresh Fin, and Uncle Shark!

Speaking of The Judge Building, we reported Robin’s Nest had flown the coop at their longtime roost. Thankfully, as the crow flies, they have cracked open in the DP Cheesesteak location on Broadway. People are raven about the new refuge. Don’t miss the turkey and smoked gouda.

Just barely percolating, someone is investing in the Ginger Street location at 324 South State. (Oh, how we miss those chicken tendies). Well-placed sources say it will be an elegant modern Japanese fusion restaurant. Intriguing–we will keep digging. 

Mayor Voss has opened on Edison Street. We’ve loved this airy, light-filled urban gem since Campos Coffee renovated it to rave reviews. Don’t miss the pork belly bao with cucumber and hoisin, hoisted on a soft heated bun.

Speaking of Edison Street and warm buns, HOT BUNS is expected to open in the next month. Ryan Lowder adds to his culinary empire with this walk-up hamburger concept. It is enticing since Copper Onion’s burger is widely regarded as the best in the state. 

Long time readers will surely note this writer’s interest in tiki. (Our previous installment broke the news of Neptune’s Palace coming to The Gateway in June). So, we are delighted to introduce you to Paradise Parlour, a tiki pop-up at Flanker. Renowned, globetrotting mixologist Francesco Lafranconi was commissioned to create the delicate Polynesian libations. These drinks are fun to imbibe, beautiful to look at, and incredibly sophisticated. Stuart at Gastronomic declares, “From the moment you walk through the door, it’s one of the most unique sensory experiences in Utah right now.” High praise!

Published in Downtown News and Blog
December 01, 2021


Christmas is several weeks away, but a few anticipated presents will be unveiled this week! A diverse pipeline of restaurants are set to open--from quick fare to classic French--there is a concept for every taste. Savor the holidays and head downtown to experience something magical.  

Ryan Lowder’s Copper Common reopens December 1 after a renovation of the interior and with a new menu. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher as we keep asking ourselves what was wrong with the old space. However, knowing Lowder and his desire to frequently revitalize his enterprises, we know he won’t let us down. Just keep that C.O. Burger, please! (@coppercommon)

As reported, Tamarind, the bright and colorful Vietnamese restaurant owned by two downtown lawyers, is set to open December 2 across from the Eccles Theater. They’re offering healthy, quick and flavorful Pho from a family recipe. There have been some special preview nights, we know because we walked by like Charlie Brown, having not been invited. Not jilted, just excited-- Pho-real. (@tamarindslc)

Laurel opens December 4 and is set to be the most expensive restaurant ever built in Utah--yes, more than The Mayan (bonus points for remembering). Grand America has gutted their restaurant and imagined a modern brasserie. This stunning space is on a scale rarely accomplished in Utah and an outdoor patio is expected in the spring. (@laurelslc) 

On December 8 you’ll find us at the opening of Flanker Kitchen and Sporting Club at The Gateway. We’ve been teasing this location for a couple months and are excited for the Miss Piggy, Tiki-Pena, and Rendez Vous--cocktails created by the world-renowned mixologist Francesco Lafranconi. This guy hangs with everyone from Ferran Adria to Lionel Richie. So, we’ll consider ourselves in good company next week. (@flankerslc)

Shades Brewing expanded to downtown (actually on the same block as our office, so watch out). This boho chic location is a little hard to find unless you’re looking for it above Himalayan Kitchen at 366 South State Street. Shades Tap Room offers beer to go and is open daily 11am to 1 am. Have you tried the Plum? It’s the best sour made in Utah. (@shadestaproom) 

With a face made-for-tv, Bambara re-introduces us to Chef Jerry Pacheco. He’s ignited some of the most notable restaurants downtown, including Copper Onion, Pallet, and Avenues Bistro. While the blue cheese potato chips stay--thank God--expect a well-deserved overhaul of the menu as Pacheco leans-in to his Mexican heritage. (@bambaraslc)

Finally, Carson Kitchen unveiled a mouthwatering winter menu that we will be savoring soon. The 10 new dishes from chef/owner Cory Harwell, including a savory pork meatloaf and foie butter and jelly sound delightful. Our recommendation from past visits is to find yourself at the bar or exhibition kitchen and ask the mixologist or chefs to plie you with their talents. They’ll make you a believer. (@carsonkitchen)

Published in Downtown News and Blog
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