Downtown Date Night: Three Night-on-THE-BLOCKS Itineraries for Mid-November

With the annual holiday crush nearly upon us, there’s no better time than now to bank a little one-on-one time with your soul mate. Following are four, super-fun pre-holiday date night ideas for an evening on THE BLOCKS, sure to earn you brownie points with the one you love … or maybe just the one you’re with.  

Vids, A Show and Tapas

Start the evening with a little fun-loving competition—and a cocktail or two—at Quarters Arcade Bar (5 E. 400 South). There you can challenge your sweetie to dozens of video games, Skee-ball, checkers or a retro board game. Don’t get too caught up in the competition, however, because your next stop is the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center (138 W. 300 South). The Rose’s calendar is chockful of events and performances presented by both touring acts and the theater’s resident arts organizations—Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation, Plan-B Theatre, Pygmalion Productions, RDT, Ririe-Woodbury Dance and SB Dance. This month features Pygmalion Production’s Two-Headed by Julie Jensen, a play about a pair of friends’ lifelong experience after being nearby witnesses to what is now known as the Mountain Meadow Massacre. Ann Poore wrote on that Two-Headed is “a multilayered, deeply disturbing but superbly directed and acted play about the nature of friendship, religion, patriarchy, unseen victims, murder, and responsibility.” Debrief after this intense show at Eva (317 S. Main St, open ’til midnight on the weekends), by sharing a few shared plates and having a glass (or three!) from Eva’s ample wine list.    

Table for Two

Even the most diehard carnivores love the vegan Boltcutter restaurant (57 E. Gallivan Ave, named for a tool favored by the animal liberation movement). Expect sophisticated Mexican and Central American fare—you’ll swear the seitan asada tacos are meat—and fresh and carefully crafted cocktails. But just nibble so you have room for chocolate, cheese, pasta or whatever else you might be indulging in during a cooking class at Caputo’s Market & Deli (314 W. Broadway). Upcoming classes include Classic Pairings (Nov. 19) and an evening with Ruth Lewandowski (Dec. 3). Conclude the gastronomical-themed evening by tucking into one of the cozy, horseshoe-shaped booths at BTG Wine Bar (404 S. West Temple). The wait staff there are much more akin to sommeliers than servers and are willing to share as much or as little of their knowledge as you desire. We recommend trying one of BTG’s curated flights, a trio of two-ounce pours of three different wines.     


Artsy Intellectual

The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (20 S. West Temple) is, hands down, one of downtown’s crowning artistic jewels. The staff at UMOCA consistently do a fantastic job programming the airy galleries there, and this month is no exception. Three new exhibits that opened at UMOCA on November 1 include: sculptor and UMOCA Artist in Residence Kelsey Harrison’s Never And Hour For Thought, Rachel Henriksen’s Knew/New, an exhibit described as “patterns intersect and overlap with the fluid, organic shapes referencing nature and the human form, acting as access points to alternate realities,” and Justin Watson’s A Farewell to Images, a “visual poem” representing the concluding chapter in a trilogy of works written and produced using digital media as “an apparatus to investigate communication, post-internet identity and existential inquiry.” Afterward, stroll through City Creek Center to Martine (22 E 100 South), an intimate and fantastically good eatery tucked into a historic red sandstone building next to the Eccles Theatre. Keep the good vibes flowing with a nightcap and music at Bourbon House (19 E. Regent St).  

Tour de Date Night

Choose your partner wisely—same goes for your attire, depending on the weather—for this downtown adventure for two, as it lasts a bit longer than your typical evening out. Rent one of GREENbike SLC’s e-bikes from the UCAIR/Pioneer Park station (300 S. 300 West, check to make sure e-bikes are available there) to start a leisurely pedal of downtown by heading east along 300 South. Turn north once you get to South Temple then head east again on State Street. Ride up the hill (You’ll love that electric assist!) through leafy Memory Grove park. Take a breather at the top to appreciate the view. Return to Pioneer Park the way you came or mix it up by taking Bonneville Boulevard, Capitol Boulevard, 200 North, Main Street and then 300 South back to the park. Ditch the bikes in the bike dock and walk over to the warm and cozy Pallet Bistro (237 S. 400 West). Don’t worry; those e-bikes keep sweating to a minimum, so you’ll still easily be out-to-dinner ready. End the evening by settling into an art-house flick and a bucket of popcorn (you earned it!) at the Broadway Centre Cinemas (111 E. Broadway).     

Written by Melissa Fields