Convenience vs. Privacy in Utah Bars


The good news: A Utah legislator wants to get rid of his state's wacky private club rule, under which every full-service bar is ostensibly a member-only facility where customers cannot order drinks until they fill out an application and pay a fee to join the "club." The bad news: He wants to replace it with a license-scanning system that would keep track of who is drinking where to facilitate police investigations. "This is better than the private club model we have now," says state Sen. Valentine John Valentine (R-Orem). Drinkers who value their privacy aren't so sure.

The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control explains the "private club" concept, which Gov. Jon Huntsman also wants to scrap, here. "Although clubs are primarily for members and their guests," the department notes, "most clubs offer temporary 'visitor card' memberships for a nominal fee (usually $4 for three weeks). The visitor card allows the visitor and up to seven of his/her guests to use the club." Reason.tv's Ted Balaker interviews a Park City bartender about Utah's weird booze rules here.

[Thanks to Zach Perry for the tip.]