User Menu

‘Best Irish Pub in the World’ competition entry: Piper Down, Salt Lake City, Utah

‘It’s an institution; a place to commune; a place to ponder; a place to laugh; a place where the old and young can, side by side, be’

Outside the Piper Down pub are bike racks shaped like shamrocks.
The main service area in the Piper Down pub is called the Temple Bar.

The Irish Times’ Generation Emigration project is on the hunt for the best Irish pub in the world outside Ireland. The following is one of the entries we’ve received so far. To read more, or find out how to nominate your favourite Irish pub abroad, click here.

The Irish pub is more than a place to satiate a liquid grain appetite, it’s an institution: a place to commune; a place to ponder; a place to laugh; a place where the old and young can, side by side, be.

The Irish diaspora has spread the pub-culture seeds the world over: some seeds have fallen on fertile ground and others have struggled in desert soil. Such is the story of Piper Down in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Piper Down was born in conflict. Conceived in a passion for Irish culture and the desire to bring the soothing elements of an Irish pub to Salt Lake City, the founders sought to name their establishment Temple Bar, in honor of the Dublin area of the same name.

However, since “temple” is used by the local culture to describe its most holy place--a place that only Mormons can enter--state officials (many of whom are Mormon) fought against Temple Bar contending the name was disrespectful of the great and spacious houses of exclusive Mormon worship. Of course, state officials prevailed leaving the business owners no option but to choose a different name: hence Piper Down.

In true Irish tradition, however, Piper Down defied state officials where they could: the inside of the establishment. They named an extension room of the main service area Temple Bar.

Despite being born in a quarrel with local culture, Piper Down planted its drought resistant seeds and has grown into a wonderful place to spend an evening sipping and visiting with friends and loved ones. The ambiance is truly Irish from its furniture to its flags and has the feel of a haven from the New World back to the Old.

Like the Irish, those hardy people who survived and flourished through war and famine, Piper Down has resisted the resistance and prevailed to give Utahans a small piece of exiled Irish real estate.

Think your favourite Irish pub abroad could claim the title of Best Irish Pub in the World (Outside Ireland)? Tell us about it by entering the competition here.