Latin nights heat up Sundays at Star Bar |

Latin nights heat up Sundays at Star Bar

Greg Marshall, Of the Record staff

Lorena Luna used to have to drive to Salt Lake City to hear Banda, a popular genre of Mexican music known for its tambora drums, trumpets and sousaphones.

Now, she drives to upper Main Street. Luna heard about Star Bar’s Latin night from friends, and she attends just about every Sunday to sing along to ranchera music, dance to corridos and relax. Never mind that she works the next morning.

"I like R&B and rap, but it’s nice to hear something different," she said. Bands from Park City, Ogden, Salt Lake and Logan play every week and admission, $10, is relatively inexpensive, Luna said.

Juan Carlos Martinez and his wife, Liliana Rojas, organized the first Latin night March 22. Since then, it has become a popular destination for Latinos in Summit County, Martinez said. He estimates that between 80 and 170 people attend each week. "People used to drive down to Salt Lake for Mexican music," said Martinez, echoing Luna’s sentiment. "This is different for this town."

Turnout and enthusiasm on Sunday nights has been impressive so far, said Danny Hill, who manages Star Bar. "It’s something of an anomaly," he said. "I’m always trying to find markets that aren’t being served. And it’s definitely an opportunity for people here."

Martinez, who sings Mexican pop and rock with the band X5, will perform Sunday. Most nights, though, he mans the door with his wife and talks to patrons. The din of the bar is mostly in Spanish, since "99 percent" of the people who come to Latin night speak the language, Martinez explained.

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It’s more than entertainment, Luna said. It’s also a show of solidarity among Latinos, a place where they laugh, carouse and enjoy a slice of home. "A lot of people who come from Mexico, they used to stay home," Luna said. "Now they go out."

Star Bar, 268 Main St., hosts Latin nights every Sunday. Cover is $15. The opening band goes on at 10 p.m. For more information, visit