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Utah DABS ends 2023 issuing nine new bar and restaurant licenses

Citizens Cocktails & Kitchen - cocktail at bar

The final DABS meeting of the year was held today, turning out to be quite the brisk one too. Amidst the brief 60 minute affair, the headline item for this onlooker was the issuance of three new bar licenses – and the precipitous situation that leaves Utah’s hospitality sector in. TL;DR we’re going to have some very unhappy would be bar operators come the start of 2024.

Back to today though, three new bar licenses were issued to the following businesses, all deemed ready to operate:

  • Riata VIP, Ogden
  • Rusty Nail Saloon, Midvale
  • Marquis, Park City

Coming down the line, the following seven businesses are all waiting in the wings, many eyeing January as their ready to open month:

  • El Moab Hotel, Moab, January 2024
  • Aker Restaurant and Lounge, Salt Lake City, January 2024
  • Felt Bar & Eatery, Salt Lake City, January 2024
  • Neptune’s Palace, Salt Lake City, January 2024
  • Thieves Guild, Salt Lake City, January 2024
  • Repeal, Salt Lake City, January 2024
  • Bout Time Pub & Grub, Saratoga Springs, August 2024

…and if my math ain’t wrong, some of those folks aren’t going to begin their 2024 with the prosperous bang they’d like…

While neither commissioners nor staff confirmed the exact number of bar licenses now available in the state – I will note we left November’s meeting with eight. Today saw the granting of three new licenses with one forfeiture (VFW 3586) which by my reckoning leaves us with six remaining bar licenses in Utah. Until the Summer.

(Update December 22nd: DABS staff confirmed one further license has become available from population increases making the current total number seven)

All hospitality eyes then will be on the impending 2024 legislative session. So far there’s been surprisingly little news about what if anything might on the docket – which could be a worrying portent. In this recent interview on City Cast, Ben Winslow commented on what if anything he’s heard from the hill. Spoiler alert, it’s little beyond minor technical adjustments. Winslow also confirmed that an expected report – issued to study Utah’s quota laws in comparison to other control states – has yet to materialize.

If this all feels like deja vu, you’re not mistaken. We were here just nine months ago remember.

Full service restaurant licenses (beer, wine, liquor)

Today saw just two new licenses minted:

  • Bower Lodge, Eden
  • Warehouse MotorClub, Park City

With only the following two names waiting for one in the coming months:

  • Tita’s Mexican Restaurant, Taylorsville, January 2024
  • Piko Mexican Grill, Salt Lake City, April 2024

DABS staff confirmed that leaving the December meeting 41 full service restaurant licenses remain in the inventory – one more will be added from population increase in January 2024.

Limited service restaurant licenses (beer, wine)

Four licenses were issued of this type:

  • Mozz, South Jordan
  • Number One Thai Fusion Restaurant, Bountiful
  • Thai 101, Salt Lake City
  • Yuma Ramen, Park City

Other items

Brewery manufacturing licenses were awarded to two brewers – Vobev (Salt Lake City) and 2 Row Brewing (Midvale); while quite intriguingly, Templin Family Wines (Salt Lake City) was awarded a winery manufacturing license – maybe a new direction for the popular SLC brewer? Lastly a special user permit was issued to Clear Water Distilling (Pleasant Grove) for educational purposes.

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