After Dusk; Harry O's
by amy hampton
There are over 400 places in the state of Utah to get a drink, but 427 Main Street in Park City is the one and only meeting place for sheer mayhem. Harry O's attracts a melting pot of individuals (as much of a melting pot as you can get in the State of Utah, that is). The 17,000 square feet playpen opened up the first day of Film Fest in 1998. Some might say that the owner of the club was to Park City what Kevin Bacon was to the small town in Footloose.
Harry O's atmosphere features a wide range of entertainment styles. You can find yourself watching a ski film preview on a Tuesday, to rockin' out with Sammy Hagar on a Thursday, and catching up with the latest in Salt Lake fashion & booty spankin' on Saturday.
Mr. Doug Illman is not only the owner of the club, but he is also the man you can thank for building such an incredible amount of energy within the bar. His significant other, Kelly, once said to me, "Doug can fill a room simply with his presence." For those of us fortunate enough to have spent any time with Doug, we know this to be true. It has been my personal experience that he is one of the most genuine and giving individuals in Park City. When I asked Harry O's assistant manager, Charles O'Brien, what it was like to work with Doug he responded, "Doug is the best boss, he is so human. Doug really truly cares about everyone." Although certain majorities of the population in this State (we won't mention who that is) don't appreciate his influence here, Doug Illman has befriended many Park City locals.
I asked Doug if he felt like the Larry Flint or the Steve Rubell of Utah, his immediate response was "NO." He went on to explain that creating the Studio 54 of Utah was not his goal. Illman operates on a very real and friendly level. He described to me that he wants Harry O's to be a place for good friends and good people to hang out, to feel comfortable and relax. That the show that takes place on Saturday nights was not his idea, it was a choice his customers made.
Illman recently sold the original Harry O's in Hermosa Beach California. He stated his reason as being that he wants to spend more time here in Park City. When I asked him if there was anything he might want to say through this article he answered, "I love this town, and the people in it. All of us build business for each other, I want to increase the business for everyone, it 's not about competition."
As for the future of the club I was told we would be seeing "more of the better." Harry O's will be providing more live music and concerts. I believe that even if you don't choose to frequent the club, you can be thankful for it's existence in this state and the freedom/entertainment it offers those that do.