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Beer too good to be true at The Bayou and the grub's good, too

Published October 5, 2012 3:13 pm

Bar exam • Bayou in Salt Lake City boasts hundreds of brews from the world over.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Every Utah bar serves beer — but few can match the 300 offerings available at The Bayou.

The brews offered at this Salt Lake City watering hole hail from all over the nation and the world — from California to Boston and London to Belgium. But the Bayou especially likes to showcase the beer produced by Utah pubs and microbreweries.

"I like to think that we are helping with the continuing education of Utah's beer palate," said owner Mark Alston, who also owns The Beer Nut, a beermaking supply store.

In 2001, Alston, and Utah beer historian Del Vance opened The Bayou in a restored automotive paint store at 645 S. State. It quickly gained a reputation among locals and out-of-towners as a hot spot for beer and food. Adding to the atmosphere are the flat-screen TVs, pool tables and on Friday and Saturday nights, jazz or blues performances by local bands.

A few years after opening, Alston's younger brother, Spencer, bought out Vance (who now owns the Beerhive in Main Street).

The Bayou strives to bring in new beers throughout the year. The winter beers should arrive by late November. Don't delay, they sell quickly.

"You want to come in by Christmas because by then most of the seasonal beers are gone," said Dave Tille, a Bayou bartender for more than six years.

But even when those run out, there are still plenty of unique beers to try on tap or bottle. Just ask the server for help.

"We really love beer and helping others discover what great beers there are in the world," said Alston. "Our staff spends lots of time tasting and evaluating each and every beer we get in to ensure that we can steer our customers toward beers they will love."

Pete Foszpancyk discovered the Bayou through online reviews and visited twice during a recent visit to Salt Lake City.

"The guys are knowledgeable," he said. "I told them what I liked and they gave me something along those lines."

Besides enjoying the beer selection, customers come to The Bayou to enjoy the large ­— if not unfocused — menu. Cajun and Creole-inspired dishes such as the gumbo, jambalaya and Tille's favorite, the paprika shrimp appetizer, are some of the favorites.

"It's a high-protein option that goes well with beer," he said of the appetizer. " A sprinkle of heaven made with a lot of love."

But there also are pizzas, pastas and sandwiches that regulars say should be accompanied by an order of the popular french fries: a 50/50 mix of white and sweet potato fries served with a house-made garlic-chipotle aioli.

The Bayou's triple-threat combination of beer, food and atmosphere means it attracts customers from all walks of life, said Alston.

"We have college students, construction workers, lawyers, politicians, bankers and farmers," he said. "It really is crazy. The only common thread is the love for food and drink." —

The Bayou

The Salt Lake City bar boasts more than 300 beers, a Cajun and Creole-inspired menu and live jazz and blues on Friday and Saturday nights.

Where • 645 S. State St., Salt Lake City; 801-961-8400

Open • Monday–Friday, 11 a.m.–1 a.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 5 p.m.–1 a.m.

Events • Saturday, Oct. 6, Latin Jazz Factory; Friday, Oct. 12, Double Helix (John Flanders Quintet); Saturday, Oct. 13, Mr. Lucky Blues. Bands perform staring around 9 p.m.

Web • utahbayou.com