For the few years I’ve been legally allowed to patronize bars and clubs, the Friday night queer-friendly Club Sound has always been a good go-to. Once called Gossip at Club Sound, then Püre at The Rail, and now Püre at Club Sound, Nova Starr has quite the following in Salt Lake City and, let’s be honest, we go where Nova Starr goes.
As recently as a few years ago the interior of Club Sound was a bit grimy, but the main factor that’s impressed me the most beyond most bars and clubs of its kind in Salt Lake City is simply that over time some very obvious improvements are being made to the building. These improvements are happening somewhat slowly, but are still vastly significant to the overall experience.
The renovated bathrooms were long overdue, and we’re glad they were taken care of among the first of the projects. Beyond that, they’ve installed a new sound system, a stunning LED curtain behind the stage, and new lasers and lights throughout. Needless to say, it’s reassuring to know that the cover charge we pay every Friday night is being put to good use — the DJ, the entertainment, improvements to the building. We can’t ask for much more.
The usually excellent turnout is due, in part, by the accessibility to those who aren’t quite yet of drinking age. The 18+ crowd brings energy and spunk to the dance floor like only young blood can. These old bones just don’t move as well as they used to. Not to mention, it’s a place for the youngsters (I don’t even know if I’m allowed to be using the term “youngsters” at all yet) to enjoy themselves and put their dance pants on, an appreciated alternative to house parties or movies and bowling on the weekends.
Another favorite element is the more balanced mix of genders than most queer nights or queer bars, which are usually very male-dominated. If I had to estimate, the men outnumber the women, maybe 70 percent male to 30 percent female, as opposed to probably 90 percent male at The Metro’s queer nights, JAM on the weekends, or Try-Angles. 70/30 is not fantastic, but until lesbians and bi-girls can stop cuddling with each other and decide to have a night on the town more often (trust me, I’m guilty of this too sometimes), those numbers won’t be changing.
Drink prices are fair, though the lines for the bar can require some patience at times, especially on a holiday, and I rarely encounter a rude bartender. One must be careful about the drinks though — one AMF or long island, served in basically a bucket-sized glass, is typically more than enough for me, but I’m pleased to know I’m getting my money’s worth. The upstairs patio is one of my favorites in the city. Lounge furniture with a few good-sized fire pits are great for accommodating the smokers in the colder months, and the two patio bars add extra convenience on the occasion that they’re open.
A pair of promotors, “Lance ‘n’ Stratten,” with their “chiseled abs and stunning features” can often be seen bouncing around the club in their undies, sometimes with their signature suspenders, happily greeting the patrons or leading the way to invite people to dance on stage.
Brek Joos and the rest of the Icon Noci team have always been a staple at documenting the parts of the night that maybe sometimes can’t be remembered. Brek’s photos have been good souvenirs of many successful nights that I have trouble remembering.
The music is mostly danceable. I personally prefer their usual selection of hip hop and top 40 over some other clubs’ house/techno music if I’m to get my dance on. A particular favorite was a more dance-friendly remix of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing — a classic, but Püre’s DJ gets some extra points for originality and variation from the same songs we already hear on the radio daily, and at every other dance club in the city.
Now, let’s get superficial. The décor, the fashion of most of the the club-goers, and general behavior of the patrons is lagging a tad behind JAM. For a laid back, I-don’t-care-if-anyone-sees-me-in-sweatpants-in-public, or even just casual jeans and T-shirt sort of night, Püre is a good spot. But if the mood to dress to impress strikes you, you’ll definitely stand out from the crowd. As for conduct, typically, I see more shirtless (or otherwise bare) club-goers, both male and female, at Püre than most spots, but I suppose the silver lining is that it probably means that Püre is a place where people can feel comfortable doing so? I guess.
In any case, I’ve never had any major complaints about Püre/Gossip at Club Sound/The Rail. There’s always a substantial crowd after 11 p.m. or so, and one usually runs into friends and acquaintances, whether that’s a good thing or not. Their continuous improvements are launching them even further into a category of bars and clubs that don’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon.
Go with a friend or go with a group, and you’ll most likely have a good time either way. For a good default bar on Friday nights, Püre at Club Sound is your spot.