Drinking Made Easy

Drinking Made Easy: Salt Lake City

January 25, 2011 0

Episode Guide for the Salt Lake City episode of “Drinking Made Easy” • Recipes • Locations • Fun Facts •

Salt Lake City, the capital city of Utah, was founded in 1847 by Brigham Young and his Mormon followers. Economic growth powered by mining booms and the construction of the first transcontinental railroad, led the city to be nicknamed “Crossroads of the West”. Today it’s known simply as Salt Lake, or SLC. Utah played an important role in the repeal of Prohibition, becoming the critical 36th state to vote against the 19th amendment to end Prohibition. Following the public spotlight on SLC and its religious –based liquor laws after the 2002 Olympics, the state government made sweeping changes to the liquor laws in 2009, which are currently in effect. If you’ve heard things about the liquor laws un Utah, you might be surprised that today it’s as easy to get a drink as just about anywhere else, if you’re of legal drinking age.


Before we go any further, let’s break down some of Utah’s biggest drinking myths:

What are the regulations in drinking establishments?

State-flag-utahBars (formerly known as “Private Clubs”) offer a full range of alcoholic beverages. The alcohol per drink is limited to 1.5 oz of primary alcohol per drink. Beers of all types and strengths are available as well as wine. Bars cannot serve more than 1 cocktail per patron at a time. It is illegal to consume alcohol behind the bar. Membership is not required, however I.D. is required if you appear to be younger than 35 years of age.

Taverns offer only beer. Draft beer must contain no more than 3.2% Alcohol by Weight  (ABW) or 4.0% Alcohol by Volume (ABV). There is no limit on strength of bottled beer.

Restaurants serve alcoholic beverages with dinner in the dining area or in the restaurant’s bar area, but the purchase of a food item is required in order to consume alcoholic beverages in the bar area.

Brew Pubs offer craft beers made in house. There is no limit to strength of beer that they can sell in bottles, as long as they have the proper license. Beer on draft is limited to 4.0% ABV. Some brew pubs will also have a bar license to sell liquor and wine.

Where and when can you purchase beer, wine and liquor?

UtahState Liquor stores are closed on Sundays. But alcoholic drinks are available at bars on Sunday and 4.0% ABV beer is available at convenience and grocery stores on Sunday.

Beer containing an alcohol content of 4.0% ABV and below can be purchased at convenience & grocery stores, as well as bars, taverns, private clubs, restaurants & brew pubs. Beer above 4.0% ABV can only be purchased at Liquor stores, bars, restaurants, private clubs & Brewpubs with the proper licensing. There is no set limit to the ABV that bottled beer can contain. Kegs are not available for purchase by the public and the brewing of beer and wine at home for personal consumption is legal.

Wine is available for purchase only at wineries, liquor stores, state run wine stores, restaurants, bars and brew pubs with the proper license.

Liquor is available for purchase only at distilleries, liquor stores, bars, restaurants and brew pubs with the proper license.


Contrary to popular belief, Utah is actually home to many craft breweries and brew pubs.  Laws prevent the service of draft beer that is higher than 4.0% ABV (or 3.2% Alcohol by Weight), but there are no limits on ABV in bottled beer.

Squatter's Provo Girl PilsnerOne of the more notable breweries in Salt Lake City isSquatters Pub Brewery. Founded in 1989 in SLC, they now have two other locations: Park City and the Salt Lake International Airport. From year round brews like the GABF Gold Medal-winning Provo Girl Pilsner and Chasing Tale Golden Ale, to seasonal brews like Hop Head Red and Espresso Stout, Squatters serves up cutting edge craft beer. Limited release brews like their 10.5% ABV Russian Imperial Stout, Outer Darkness, and their award-winning Saison, Fifth Element, are only available for purchase in bottles in Squatters pubs. Visit the brew pub for unique brews and gourmet pub fare.

Squatters Pub Brewery | 147 West Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT 84101 | (801) 363-2739

Polygamy-porterJust outside of SLC, in the mountain town of Park City, you’ll find the Wasatch Brew Pub and Brewery. Named for the mountains that rise just east of Salt Lake City, it was founded in 1986 by Greg Schirf. It was Schirf who fought the Utah Legislature in 1988 to make brew pubs legal in the state and UBCtoday there are 12 of them. With distinguishing names like Polygamy Porter and the Devastator Double Bock, Wasatch is the first active brewery in Park City since Prohibition. After several years of friendly rivalry, competing to be Utah’s best brewery, in 2000, Wasatch and Squatters created a partnership call the Utah Brewers Cooperative. Together, they have increased their share of Utah beer sales, competed against national brewing giants, and in 2010 they won the award for the Mid-Size Red rockBrewing Company of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival.

Located in the heart of downtown SLC, Red Rock Brewing Company was established in 1994 out of an old dairy warehouse. Offering an arsenal of international brewing styles, from Belgium and Germany to England and Ireland, they are an award-winning brewery with famous beers like the Nut Brown (their most-celebrated beer) and the Amber Ale (their most popular). You can also find one of their brew pubs in Park City, which opened in 2005.

Other popular local brews are those made by Uinta Brewing Co. Named after an east-west mountain range located in northeastern Utah, many of their beers have names withUintahistorical significance or are inspired by Utah’s diverse landscape. For example, their flagship ale, Cutthroat Pale Ale is named after the state fish and their King’s Peak Porter is named after Utah’s highest peak. Having been in business, brewing some of Utah’s best beer since 1993, their beers range in ABV from 4.0% to 10.0%. Uniquely, they also offer organic and kosher products.


Shooting Star SaloonLocated in Huntsville, about an hour north of Salt Lake, theShooting Star Saloon opened in 1862 as a trading post and later became a bar, in 1879. It boasts having been “openly open” during Prohibition and is said to be the oldest continually operating bar in the state. Its history has helped to create a rustic feel: a jukebox that plays 45’s, dollar bills on the ceiling and the head of a 300 lb stuffed St. Bernard preside over this one-room establishment. Their food is one of the top draws, with a menu of delicious burgers, like the famous Star Burger, that come with a warning: no substitutions. They also offer beer on tap and beer in the bottle and until 1949, they made their own whiskey.

Shooting Star Saloon | 7350 E 200 S 
Huntsville, UT 84317 | (801) 745-2002

Sugar1The oldest bar in Salt Lake City can be found in South Salt Lake atThe Bar in Sugarhouse. With a capacity of just 25, this Swiss chalet was transported from the mountains and now rests in a tiny spot on Highland Drive. Established in 1947, it’s a no frills, hole in the wall neighborhood bar where the drinks are cheap and the beer is cold.

The Bar in Sugarhouse | 2168 Highland Dr., Salt Lake City, UT 84106 | (801) 485.1232


Alpine SlideNestled high in the Wasatch Mountains, just about an hour from SLC, the historic mining town of Park City is unlike any other ski town in the U.S. Home to three world class ski resorts, the town also offers sophisticated dining and nightlife. The entertainment industry converges on Park City annually in January for the Sundance Film Festival and in 2002, it was the epicenter of the Winter Olympic Games. In the summer, the ski resorts become biking and hiking trails, the city hosts outdoor concerts, and the Alpine Slide at Park City Mountain is open for business. Seated in sleds, passengers travel over 3,000 feet on one of the longest slides in the world down a luge-like track.

Utah may have earned the reputation as a conservative and “dry” state, but Park City does its best to strike some balance with many bars, pubs and nightclubs. If you are looking for après ski, live music Boheme-main-imageor a quiet table at a wine bar, the town of Park City is the place.

Winner of the 2010 Park City Competition,Easy Street’s Le Bar Boheme is one of the coziest and warmest spots on Main Street. Offering a full bar with beer, wine and cocktails, it’s just adjacent to The Sky Lodge and is located in one of Park City’s most historic landmarks, the Utah Coal & Lumber building.

Le Bar Boheme 2Açai Sour
Fill tumbler with ice
1.5 oz Açai Berry Vodka
1 oz Lemon Juice
Splash of Blue curacao
2 tbsp powdered sugar
Shake vigorously, pour, add 3 blueberries

Bar Boheme | 201 Heber Ave
Park City, UT 84060 | (888) 876-2525

Other Park City nightlife spots include The Spur Bar and Grill, featuring live music,Legends Bar and Grill, noted as a good place to enjoy Apres Ski cocktails and the historic No Name Saloon which is Park City’s oldest bar, established in 1903.


High West DistilleryIn addition to breweries, Utah is also home to a few distilleries. The most widely know spirit producer to come out of Utah is High West Distillery. Located in Park City, their saloon and distillery is housed within the historical two-story Victorian-style pyramid house that was built in 1914. Boasting the title of Utah’s first distillery since Prohibition, High West opened in 2007. Producers of whiskey and vodka, like their Rendezvous Rye Whiskey which is a blend of two exotic straight rye whiskeys, the un-aged oat Silver Whiskey, and the Vodka 7000’ which is the only vodka in the world made from oats, High West is now distributed all over the US.

High West Distillery | 703 Park Avenue, Park City, UT 84060 | (435) 649-8300

UndergroundUtah’s other notable distillery is the Underground Distillerylocated in Ogden. Their Herbal Spirit is 40% ABV (80 Proof) and made from a blend of 33 herbs, flavors and spices. It’s meant for shots, but mixes surprisingly well with many beverages. Check out some Underground cocktail recipes.

Ogden’s Own Distillery | 208 1/2 Historic 25th St, Ogden, UT 84401



  • Utah is the only state whose capital’s name is made of three words. All three words in Salt Lake City have four letters each.
  • The average snowfall in the mountains near Salt Lake City is 500 inches (over 40 feet). That is nearly five times the average snowfall of Juneau, Alaska.
  • Alcohol by weight (ABW) is 80% of the amount by volume (ABV).
  • The word Saloon comes from the French word “Salon,” which means “large room.”
  • A “squatter” is someone who illegally occupies a building or residence. There are about one billion squatters globally, or about one in every six people on the planet.
  • The Uinta mountain range is named after the Ute Indians.
  • Since the rise of the skiing and tourist economy, Park City houses more tourists than residents.
  • When smelling a spirit, it’s recommended to open your mouth and smell through both your nose and mouth.
  • In the United States, “rye whiskey” is, by law, made from a mash of at least 51 % rye. It is distilled to no more than 160 proof, and is aged in charred, new oak barrels.
  • In 2001, Green Jell-O was declared the “Official State Snack” of Utah. During the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the souvenir pins included one depicting green Jell-O.
  • In Salt Lake City, it is illegal to walk down the street carrying a violin concealed in a paper bag.

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