The skinny on Fats Grill & Pool
By stephen speckman
Special to The TribuneFirst published Mar 20 2013 04:31PM
You’re no fool.
If someone tells you there’s a place where you and a friend can enjoy live music and several rounds of pool with a few cold Pabst Blue Ribbons and a hot appetizer all under $10, you’d beat a path there.
Well, gentle stranger, there is such a place.
At Fats Grill and Pool in Sugar House, you can get a whiskey and beer chaser that, when combined, are impervious to the influences of the recession. That’s because a PBR is always a buck at Fats — always, even when ordered solo.
"I wanted a shot and a beer people could afford," said bar co-owner Mishell Caligiuri. "We sell the crap out of it."
Nothing fancy about the way she words it, which is a lot like Fats.
You won’t notice a lot of flash or flair in the furnishings as you look out the front window onto Highland Drive and the Whole Foods Market across the street.
Speaking of spending nearly your whole paycheck to eat healthy, people averse to eating things that once had eyes can find a little culinary sympathy on the Fats menu — which sounds a bit ironic. Customers can go veggie with a wrap, panini, pizza or burger all without harming a single farm animal or insulting your calorie count too much.
The rest of the human race can cater to their carnivorous side with a Fats staple, the TNT Burger. This brilliant burger will brighten your darkest hour.
Toasted bun, excellent beef, barbecue sauce and a spicy kick.
If the prequel to this meal is a pint of local brew in a chilled glass paired with Fats’ chicken wings, you may just pledge eternal allegiance to one bar under the beer gods.
All gushing aside, Fats factors a straightforward equation for logistical success – plenty of places to plant your rump or rest your drink in front and back with six pool tables in between.
When our corner of the globe gets a bit too warm, imbibe on the back patio. Or on weekends, go subterranean in the cool confines of the basement, with live music coming from the generous stage.
There’s also one more pool table in the basement, where Fats also hosts private parties.
"It’s just a cool, laid-back place," Caligiuri said. "A lot of people feel comfortable here."
If you can’t bear to watch your team losing on one of the TVs or there’s a lull in the pool-table banter, you can check out the artwork of local creative types that Fats features on its walls.
The one quirky denominator is that the bathrooms are right up front and within whispering distance of diners as you stride through the door.
It’s hard to label Fats.
Up front it’s bright, with floor-to-ceiling windows that reveal a kinetic Sugar House energy — allowing a bit of young and trendy to leak through the front door.
In the middle and back it’s more of an everyman’s bar with light that dims a bit and a din punctuated by the clack of pool balls and classic rock from the likes of Zeppelin, Boston, Styx and Journey.
So, then what is Fats?
To put it simply, albeit slightly out of context, in Caligiuri’s words, "It’s a really cheap date."