September 28, 2022

Utah liquor board issues three bar licenses, while warning other bars of too many violations

Three Utah companies were awarded highly sought-after bar licenses on Tuesday — one after months of trying, another in its first appearance before the state liquor board.

Members of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services commissioner warned prospective applicants that there are only two bar licenses left to issue in 2022. The commissioners also called out companies that have racked up multiple violations of the laws on alcohol – warning them that the council could revoke their licenses.

The Durango Bar, at 923 S. State St. in Salt Lake City, had its application for a bar license approved after months of discussions with the liquor commission over the establishment’s management practices.

Commissioner Tara Thue said she was impressed with the Durango and owner Pablo Hinojosa, for the amount of thought they put into its management manual and for working with the Suazo Business Center.

Although she voted to approve the Durango’s license, Thue said she wanted to see the bar open more than four days a week.

“I hope you see this not just as a business opportunity, but also as an opportunity to serve your community and be open with hours that serve the community outside of weekends,” Thue said.

While Hinojosa has attended DABS commission meetings since March in hopes of securing the license for The Durango, AJ and Mina Marzia, owners of The People’s Lounge – at 260 S. Main St. in downtown Salt Lake City – got their first try application approved.

The People’s Lounge is scheduled to open on September 8 and Commissioner Jaquelyn Orton has noted her luck for the first time.

“As a small business owner myself, I know how devastating it can be for a business to bear the costs you’ve already invested in it,” Orton said. “The People’s Lounge should have this opportunity because they have demonstrated their ability to get ahead, go into business and make money. Sometimes with a small business it’s a life or death situation, with postage month after month.

The Coop by Roosters – a bar attached to Roosters Brewing Co. at 748 W. Heritage Park Blvd. in Layton – received the third bar license that the board approved on Tuesday. Owner Kim Bouchard openly wept with relief after the vote.

Juliette Tennert, the commission’s new chair, cited the $750,000 loan Roosters received from the Davis County Council of Governments, as well as letters of support from the community — something, she said. , which generally does not influence his vote.

“This type of investment from your entire community moves me, and we were all very impressed,” Tennert said, adding that “being able to provide this type of loan to a woman-owned business makes me happy.” .

Thue noted that the commission has only two bar licenses left to issue in the last four months of 2022 – and 11 applicants are lining up, with their establishments either ready to start or planning to open in the coming months. .

“We literally have to ration licenses,” Thue said.

Some licenses could be released, Tennert warned, if current licensees lose them due to multiple violations of Utah liquor rules. This month’s list of violations was long, with 41 instances of errors in customer service.

“It’s hard to see such a long list of violations,” Tennert said. “When we get to three violations, we will have to consider revoking the licenses, because of where we are.”

The Tap Room in the Sugar House neighborhood of Salt Lake City received four violations. Avenues Proper Restaurant & Publick House, in Salt Lake City, received two violations. So did Buffalo Wild Wings, once at its Sandy location and once at its South Jordan restaurant.

Daniel Chambers, owner of The Tap Room, told the commission on Tuesday that the violations were the first the bar had received since 1986. The violations were due to an employee, who was fired, Chambers said.

Commissioner Jaquelyn Orton noted that the violations at Buffalo Wild Wings dated back to last September. Staff have received continuous training, she said, and yet the violations continue. The restaurant, at the suggestion of Commissioner Thomas Jacobsen, will work on the issues and report back at the September meeting.

Accentuating the positive, Tiffany Claason, executive director of DABS, told the council that her office had sent out 146 letters of recognition to companies that had passed Special Bureau of Investigation safety inspections with flying colors.

“Initially, we thought we might have 20,” Clason said, via Zoom from Nashville, where she’s attending an alcohol policy conference. “We know you all have to deal with violations, but we want to recognize licensees who go above and beyond.”