You may love University of Utah football, but that doesn’t mean you enjoy driving to the stadium or finding parking.
Several Salt Lake City bars and pubs have a game-winning plan to help fans avoid those annoying traffic hassles.
For $10-$20, depending on the business, guests can fill up at a pregame buffet and then hop in a van or luxury bus, or catch a nearby TRAX train, for a convenient ride to Rice-Eccles Stadium. After the game, hop back on the vehicle or train for a return trip. No waiting, no stress.
The offer is good for every home game during the 2014 season, which kicks off Thursday against Idaho State.
The only thing participants need to do is pre-register with the bar. Guests also have to buy their own ticket to the game.
Here are five pubs offering the service.
Squatters Pub Brewery • The new pregame football party, named "Chasing Tail-gating" after Squatters’ popular Chasing Tail Golden Ale, starts two hours before every U. football game. The buffet of game-day favorites is $15, draft beer of choice is an additional $5. The fee includes a ride to and from Rice-Eccles Stadium. "We’ve never tried the bus-to-the-game idea before, but since so many folks complain about having to park to attend the games, we thought that this has the potential to be a fun solution," said Judy Cullen, director of marketing. Call or go online to reserve a spot. 147 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City; 801-363-2739 or squatters.com
Lumpy’s Bar • The pregame buffet and bus ride has been a tradition at Lumpy’s on Highland Drive for more than two decades, said co-owner Chris Simonsen. Two hours before game time, guests can enjoy a buffet and then a ride to and from the game. "It’s really convenient for people because you don’t have the hassle of parking," Simonsen said. The buffet, which costs $20, varies depending on game time and the season. For early games, guests might get a breakfast buffet, while afternoon and evening games have offered everything from tacos to pasta. "We change it up weekly," he said. Guests need to call ahead to make sure there’s enough room on the bus. 3000 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City; 801-484-5597 or lumpysbar.com
Salt Lake City Marriott University Park • This will be the fourth year that the hotel has offered its popular Tailgater, which includes a buffet and shuttle to and from the game. There are activities for children in the lobby, making it "a great atmosphere for families," said Jared Tomlinson, the hotel’s director of sales. As the closest hotel to the U., the event gets a lot of returning alumni who come into town for games. But there are plenty of locals as well. Staying at the hotel is not a requirement, just stop by the front desk and get a wristband. Price is $10 for adults and $5 for children, and includes nonalcoholic beverages. Beer, wine and cocktails are available in the Pitcher’s Lounge, which was renovated last year. 480 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City; 801-581-1000
Green Pig Pub • This downtown bar is offering pregame specials for football fans, who are encouraged to hop on the nearby 400 South TRAX line to get to the U. stadium. The pub’s popular Sunday brunch buffet will now be available on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for U. fans, said general manager Laurie Packard. For $10, guests get made-to-order omelets and French toast, corned beef hash, bacon and sausage, hash browns, biscuits and gravy as well as $2 Bloody Marys and $3 Mimosa cocktails. The only items not available on Saturday will be the waffles and eggs Benedict. If the game is on Thursday, the special will be three tacos or taco salad for $5 and tall boys for $3, said Packard. 31 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City; 801-532-7441 or greenpigpub.com
Poplar Street Pub • There will be a barbecue on the patio before all the U. home games — except Thursday, Aug. 28, which is the last Twilight Concert, said general manager Josh Kilgrow. Cost is $8 and the menu will vary each week, ranging from ribs to brisket. Poplar Street Pub will not offer a bus to the game as it has done in the past, Kilgrow said, but will instead direct fans to a TRAX stop that is only a few blocks away. 242 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City; 801-532-2715 or poplarstreetpub.com
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