"Three guys walk into a bar...”
So the joke begins. But in Utah, there was never a punch line because the three guys got stopped at the door and were forced to buy a private-club membership.
That’s all changed. And, oh, baby! Look out. At long last, Utah’s club scene might just take off. Having a vibrant nightlife means more nationally touring bands might stop here, and more entertainment options mean more tourists might slow down, take a look, decide to stay the night … you know, leaving a little green behind?
And maybe more conventions— those cash cows that shower loose change upon city theaters, restaurants, galleries and gift shops—will say “Yes” to Salt Lake, instead of, “Isn’t that the strange place where you can’t get a drink?”
It’s hard to imagine what this new world will look like; who are we, anyway, without our liquor-law disability? What else could we possibly be known for?
In the throes of our newfound identity crisis, we offer this “Liquor and Liberty” guide. Read how three guys who once walked into a bar have been fighting for decades for your right to party: City Weekly founder John Saltas, radio talk-show host Tom Barberi, and First Amendment attorney Brian Barnard.
Local bar owners talk about private-club changes, followed by a recap of new laws and the bar industry’s hopes for continued reform (“Free at Last”). Then, we’ll explore Utah liquor myths (“Liquor Lore”) and historical ways of drinking (“Tippling Through Time”).
Finally, we’ll provide a handy list of clubs that no longer require memberships and a few that still do.
Read it, and weep … either for joy, or for all the time you’ve spent pining for a decent nightlife in Utah. And then party like it’s 2009. Because now you really can.
By John Saltas
It Was Worth a Shot
By Tom Barberi
By Brian M. Barnard
Bar Owners Weigh In
Bob Brown (Cheers to You), Lou Corsillo (X-Wife’s Place), Tom Guinney (Gastronomy), Keith Biesinger (Hog's Wallow)
By Stephen Dark
Free At Last!
By Eric Peterson
What New Liquor Laws Mean to You, the Drinker
Tippling Through Time
By Ted McDonough
By Ted McDonough
Which clubs are making the switch?
Introduction by Ted McDonough Compiled by Jamie Gadette