Notes from Underground

I am a sick man. I am a spiteful man. And so, for the purposes of this paper, I am just the man to take you on a guided tour of the seething underground of our Utah Valley. First things first:


Ride with me. It’s 3 a.m. and we’re hungry, so let’s tour the food options. We are on a path that starts with Orem’s Center Street and ends at Provo’s Del Taco, in the heart of Zoobton.? From the freeway, we head east on Center. Around Orem Blvd we pass the Rancherito’s (Beto’s to the old-timers) on the left, and then the Burger King on the right, both always open.

We take a right at the Burger King and cruise down State. Around the time we pass the mall, we detect the pungent aroma of recently smoked illicits. You guessed it, Sconecutters is on the left, and they bake their scones 24/7.?

Roll with me a little further on down the hill, and hot damn! Rancherito’s numero dos. Keep going, and about a block after our last stop we have Sonic: America’s Drive-In, where we can gleefully indulge in the American pastime of dipping chili-cheese fries into vanilla ice cream.?

Okay, last stop.? Left on Bulldog, and conveniently adjacent to the hospital, is our final destination: Del Taco.? If you possess los juevos suficiente to venture in after hours, vaya con dios.? And there you have it. All of the signature late nighters within one ten minute drive.

So you want to be a scenester.

You know you’ve got it.? Scene appeal.? Your glasses are tinted purple, and so are your skinny leg jeans. All you need is a place to be seen.? So where do you go?

Provo. Specifically between 100 and 200 North University Ave.? Velour Live Music Gallery, and Muse Music both lay claim to the arts scene in the valley, somehow doing so despite their proximity to the comic shop Dragon’s Keep a block away.? And with the ghosts of Sego Arts and Coal Umbrella haunting the area since their abrupt eviction from the block, we’ll just have to wait for the Pennyroyal Café to re-open to challenge the dominance of the always enjoyable Acoustic Tuesdays at Muse and Velour.

But let’s say your tastes skew a bit towards the eclectic. Surely there’s a place for you to go to shore up your indie cred.? There must be some sort of house couched within the heart of failed commercial Provo where you can hang out with former philosophy majors and kids with better music sensibilities than you, right? In the infamous words of Michael Scott, ‘Of course there is, Jane, you ignorant slut (and don’t call me Shirley)!’?

The Compound lies deep inside the famed Hopeless District of the city, tucked into 166 South 100 West, a block away from the liquor store. Look for the dark, foreboding alley next to the raised parking lot. But don’t let the ominous look fool you.? You should be at The Compound as much as you can.

Substance Abuse

Alright, you’re not a kid any more. You’ve had it with these all-ages shows, and are looking to engage in some alcohol-infused mayhem, dancing the night away. Where do you go??

Easy. SLC. Get out of this valley, fool.
But if you’re looking for something a little closer to home (say, within taxicab distance), there are options. Again, they’re in Provo, so as not to offend the republican dentist sensibilities endemic to the Orem nightlife.

Always start with ABG’s, at 190 West Center. The drinks are cheap, and the bartenders are laid back. No security at the entrance, no hassle about getting back in after going outside to smoke. It’s just a casual, casual easy thing. But the eternal downside of casual is apathy, and Friday night is no time for apathy, soldier. Time to head to Atcha’s.

Of note as you stumble from the bar to the club is The Hookah Collection you pass, open till midnight. If you’re 19+, which you are since you just came from a bar that’s 21+, they can accommodate all your tobacco water pipe needs. They have dirt cheap cigarettes, too.

Anyway, on to Atchafalaya’s, at 210 West Center. Security mans the door, so leave your knives and guns and what-have-you at home. Don’t let the fact that Atchafalaya’s is named for America’s biggest swamp (and it shows) ruin your good time. If you’re desperate enough to dance in Utah Valley, you’re desperate enough for much more.? And more importantly, so is the tragic thirty-something you’re dancing with. Love is in the thick, sweaty air.

Love, etc.


We’ll forego trudging through the various scenarios. Let’s just say that you weren’t making sound decisions, and leave it at that. But now you’re in a real pickle. Time for Plan B.

Planned Parenthood, and their marvelous emergency contraception, have made their new home at 1086 North 1200 West in Orem.? In a bold stroke sure to do endless good and enrage social conservatives, their new clinic is within spitting distance of the Utah State Division of Family Services office, effectively serving as a banner ad to those who arguably need it most (no judgment here).

But maybe your random hook-up wasn’t a complete mistake. In fact, maybe you’ve been together for a while now, and you’re looking to spice things up, so as to start ‘making mistakes’ more regularly again. If so, the appropriately named Dirty Jo Punsters might be worth your time. 170 North Main in Spanish Fork is the address for this adult novelty store, but just cruise the street until you see people wearing beige trenchcoats and cheap sunglasses clutching non-descript paper bags. You can’t miss it.
So that’s it. You’re now well armed to spend your nights and weekends fruitfully. Check the web version of this article for map links to all these locations, or to leave righteously outraged comments.

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