It was my turn to come up with a place to go for drinks and dinner Friday night and I decided we should try a new place. Both new to us as well as new to SLC, the Campfire Lounge (837 East 2100 South in Sugarhouse) is the new bar owned by the couple who had the Bay Leaf Cafe downtown. They weren't getting the foot traffic they wanted at the Bay Leaf, plus were wanting someplace that had more of a neighborhood feel. The Campfire Lounge was opened (I think) in April and if the Friday night crowd was any indication, they've been welcomed to the neighborhood.
Situated in a small woodframe house, the Campfire Lounge is tiny, although they're putting in a good-sized patio out front that should nearly doubled their seating capacity (at least in the warm weather months). You walk through a strange little game room to get to the bar proper - and don't forget your ID because you'll get carded regardless of how old you are. The bar area is dark and cozy, with no more than twenty seats along the bar itself and then maybe five high tables running along the front. The couple in their mid-50s to our right were filling the internet jukebox with deep cuts from the 1970s and there was a good buzz to the conversations around us.
Normally, the Campfire Lounge has four taps (Bud Lite and three Utah micros) but they're going through some growing pains and only one tap was running: Bohemian's Viennese lager. I had that ($4/pint) and it was fine, although Bohemian is not my favorite local brewery. H had a bottled Sam Adams, nearly choked at the price ($5.50/bottle) and thereafter drank PBR smallboys ($2/can). Their cocktail list is extensive and they have a number of well-priced, funky specialty items, like a Jack Daniels Manhattan ($4.50), the Pink Girly Shot (grapefruit vodka, triple sec, grapefruit juice and lime, $6.50) and the Trailer Park (Stoli and Kool-Aid, $6.00)
They also serve extremely reasonably priced food (they're making their money on the booze, not the vittles) and what we had was great. H went with three pulled pork sliders for $6; you can mix and match your three and the other slider options were beef burgers, sloppy joes, portabello mushroom or fry fish filet. I had a big bowl of house-made ramen noodles ($4.50) that was delicious and completely unlike the stuff college students eat, with a spicy broth (perked up with some additional Sriracha sauce) and sliced veggies. It was perhaps a little too heavy with the fresh ginger but super-tasty regardless. Other excellent sounding items on the menu include S'mores, buckets o' tater tots, Filipino pork eggrolls, the Elvis sandwich (peanut butter, bananas, honey and bacon pan-fried on buttered white bread) and hobo dinners (sirloin, chicken, bratwurst, trout or grilled tofu with vegetables, served in a foil packet).
The service was friendly, the food was great and the ambiance was just what we were looking for. The Campfire Lounge seem to be off to a good start - if they could just get more of those taps going! - and we'll go back again for sure.