Bongo Lounge: Whatever Happened to the Neighborhood Bar?


One thing about a general drinking culture, and in my opinion, essential to the makeup of a neighborhood is the neighborhood bar. A great equalizer in a time when people retreat to their own homes, computers, or loved ones, the neighborhood bar is what ties a community together in a way that many other institutions can’t. The Bongo Lounge is located on S. Highland Drive, just south of the main Sugarhouse core. Although there are businesses littered all along Highland, it’s pretty amazing that there are several choices for fine and not-so-fine drinking establishments. Bongo sticks out in the neighborhood for its classic sign, the nondescript building in which it is housed, and the lack of parking (fun fact, there is parking in the back).

The bar itself is everything a local, no-thrills drinking hole should be. The space is large enough to fit a fair amount of people without it being overwhelming. Tight enough to keep people close, for better and for worse. You can easily disappear in a corner any given night while still being within earshot of the main bar and the lone bartender.


Attempt at Something New

As a non-native Utahan, drinking in Utah and the surrounding culture has always seemed peculiar to me, even though my first drink was in this fine state. For me, it has been a Superman Bizzaro World-esque experience in trying to find a good drink and making sense of the norms and culture surrounding alcohol. In a state with so many teetotalers, it sort of makes sense. It’s like the blind leading the blind when it comes to regulations and laws affecting alcohol. At the same time, Utah has always had a special place in its heart (under its white shirt and dark tie, of course) for drinkers and wannabe drinkers alike. For me, I just like going to different bars and exploring what the state has to offer. Weird culture equals weird experiences, and I have had my fair share of those. With this, hopefully, I am able to make sense of it all. Cheers!