Over the past 15 years, one of Salt Lake City’s hardest-working rock bands, Royal Bliss, has traveled all over the country, playing every dive, honky-tonk and roadhouse that would host them.
To pass the time before and after soundchecks, band members would assess the virtues and sins of each venue.
"Playing around the country was like research for 15 years," said Neal Middleton, lead singer of Royal Bliss.
"You see what works, and what doesn’t," said Taylor Richards, guitarist for the band.
So while the quartet is still going strong, with a country-wide October and November tour planned and a new album due out in early 2014. Middleton partnered up with Kelly Petersen (formerly a long-time fixture running Salt Lake City’s rock club Liquid Joe’s) to open a new nightclub in Millcreek near the intersection of 900 East and the Van Winkle Expressway.
Dubbed — what else? — The Royal, the modern club incorporates many of the best features that the band has seen in other clubs over the years.
"We want this to be an everything bar," said Middleton, who is making his first foray into the day-to-day business of running a bar.
The nightclub, which opened on May 24, has two floors that add up to 6,500 square feet, with the second floor designated as a sports bar with large, high-definition televisions.
On the bottom floor is a stage that will serve as a frequent home for the band when it is in town, as well as a spot for both local bands (such as American Hitmen, fresh off wide exposure on "America’s Got Talent," performing Friday, and King Niko headlining Sept. 13) and nationally touring acts (such as Super Diamond on Sept. 27 and Boston-based The Red Telephone on Aug. 30) to play a venue where the people in charge know how musicians like to be treated.
While the stage is the centerpiece of the nightclub, given Royal Bliss’ main job of being a rock band, one of the most eye-popping highlights of the club is an expansive, 1,500-square foot patio that runs alongside Big Cottonwood Creek. It immediately makes The Royal’s patio the best patio in the area.
The club is still decorating and in the process of expanding its already extensive menu — Middleton said they will soon rectify the omission of mozzarella sticks — but in the meantime, both music geeks and average Joes are welcome to come in and grab a beer and a burger and watch live rock and roll as well as NFL once the football season commences.
With a full liquor license and a wide range of local beers, The Royal is the perfect home for Royal Bliss and its legions of local fans.
If you have any doubts, just look at the menu. There is a pizza named The Royal Bliss.
The Royal • 4760 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City; https://www.facebook.com/royalbliss. Open Wednesday through Sunday at 5 p.m., with expanded hours coming soon.
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