(Courtesy of Beer Bar/Bar X)

A Modern Guide to Salt Lake City: Mormon Country Lets Loose With a Booming Bar + Restaurant Scene


As the headquarters of the Mormon Church—with most streets named in relation to their distance from the temple, lest you forget the focus of the city—Salt Lake City has long had trouble shaking its conservative reputation. But with recently relaxed liquor laws, a burgeoning cocktail scene, farm-to-fork dining, and some of the best skiing in North America, this "Crossroads of the West" is a hidden gem for mixing adventure, relaxation, and surprisingly top-notch options for fun.

Powderhounds will feel at home at one of SLC's 14 nearby ski resorts, which get steady snow as late as April, and off-the-slopes diversions abound both in the city center and its neighboring communities. So pack your snow jacket, hop a direct flight from OAK or SFO to Salt Lake in less time than it would take you to drive to Tahoe, and prepare to forget everything you thought you knew about this ideal mountain getaway.

Courtesy of Current Fish & Oyster

Current Fish & Oyster

Seafood takes center stage at Current, with the classically prepared dishes highlighting fresh fish from as far as New Orleans, New York, and Monterey. Ambitious eaters can attempt to summit the seafood tower—a formidable combination of oysters, shrimp, mussels, and Maine lobster tail—but the whole branzino and loaded fish stew are also showstoppers. While Utah liquor laws prevent you from sidling up to the restaurant bar (alcohol can't be in view of minors at eating establishments), adults-only Under Current is an ideal place to snag two bar stools, split an order of oysters, and sip an absinthe- or amaro-infused cocktail from a menu of nearly 60 options. // 279 S. 300 E., currentfishandoyster.com; 270 S. 300 E., undercurrentbar.com

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