The Day Happy Died: New Year To Bring End To Happy Hours In Utah

The New Year brings a host of new laws that kick in on the first. For citizens in Utah, the New Year will bring an end to Happy Hours. That’s right, the heavily Mormon state has continued its harassment of citizens who drink and outlawed “drink specials.”

Under Utah’s SB 314, it will now be a crime to offer drink specials. In addition, SB 314 bans minikegs and ties the number of liquor licenses to population quotas and public-safety officers.

Utah has a long history of harassing people who drink in contradiction to the teachings of the Church of Latter Day Saints, including the imposition of so called “Zion Curtains” at bars. This rather transparent sectarian policy does not seem to bother politicians who claim to be for small government and libertarian values. It also contradict the desire of the state to pull in tourists and change the image of the state as controlled by the LDS leadership.

Source: Time

31 thoughts on “The Day Happy Died: New Year To Bring End To Happy Hours In Utah

  1. Traveled through Utah once and have no desire to return. Weird laws makes one feel “somebody” is always watching just waiting to pounce.

  2. Blouise, in Iran, they are called Basij. That the LDS folks have ever-grins plastered on their faces somehow makes it creepier.

  3. Agreed, this is bogus. Probably trying to slow down binge drinking for traffic safety, but we all know that will never work if someone wants to drink more. This is the same bs about limiting our sugar, salt, and fat intake and taxing these nasty things more. Having one or two drinks is not a big deal if you leave it at that. Same as having one Big Mac in a week or two. But the taxers want to fund their bs and use that demonizing to justify it.

    All that being said, Happy New Year, be reasonable about drinking and try to have designated drivers. Let’s be happy!

  4. Like Blouise, I traveled once through Utah and stayed over in Salt Lake City.I was at that time ignorant about Mormonism so when I went to dinner that evening I was surprised that the upscale restaurant did not serve liquor. My understanding deepened in my Hotel room that night as I came upon The Book of Mormon in my night table and stayed up late reading it. A veritable “light bulb” moment.

  5. The skiing’s good but, I, too, found it bizarre that I had to take my own alcohol when we went out to dinner… How strange that they won’t serve alcohol, but it’s okay to BYOB…

  6. BLouise, I had the same feeling on my travels in certain places in Utah–especially Provo. During lunch at a restaurant there, my daughter and I both commented that we were experiencing some kind of an ominous, eerie feeling. We began to look around and noticed that everyone there was lily white and had blonde hair. The young women all looked the same–nice figures, blonde shoulder-length hair, perfect skin. The young men all had short-on-the-side-with-a-bit-of-length-on-the-top haircuts. Far too clean cut for my 64-year-old, East coast mind to embrace. There wasn’t a sign of anyone with brown skin anywhere. Towns such as Park City are a bit more diverse, but they are mostly tourists who are tolerated because they bring money into the area. Utah is a lovely state, and not all towns have a “Donny and Marie” or “Mitt” feel to them, but I still get this strange sensation when we travel in Salt Lake and surrounding towns.

  7. So instead of cheaper drink prices, you lower the appetizer prices to compensate or provide happy hour food buffet which is included with the price of your drinks

  8. “Blouise, in Iran, they are called Basij. That the LDS folks have ever-grins plastered on their faces somehow makes it creepier.”

    If you said, “The Muslims do this”, or “The Jews do that”, or “The Christians do this”, well, you probably know enough not to say that….

  9. When I went to Chicago during St. Patrick’s Day weekend, they will not serve drinks in glass glasses. It’s the law for some crazy reason that I cannot recall.

    Here in Indiana, one cannot buy alcohol in a store on sundays, but can do so in a restaurant. I don’t really get the logic behind that one.

  10. AY

    they way i heard it was jewish people don’t recognize jesus as the son of god, protestants don’t recognize the pope as the head of the church, and baptists don’t recognize each other at the liquor store.

  11. As a member of the LDS church who lives in Utah and doesn’t consume alcohol, I find this law to be very stupid and insulting (insulting in the sense that our lawmakers won’t let the citizens act for themselves).

    And while I don’t speak for the church, the church gives no orders to the state (and the church goes to great lengths to distance themselves on all things politics). I believe stupid laws like this come from dumb fellow-church-member-lawmakers who *think* they’re doing the “right thing.”

  12. Sally,

    “When I went to Chicago during St. Patrick’s Day weekend, they will not serve drinks in glass glasses. It’s the law for some crazy reason that I cannot recall.”

    They don’t serve to go drinks in New Orleans (at Mardi Gras or any other time) in glass glasses for the same reason – safety and clean up. A street full of stinky paper and plastic is bad enough, but a street full of broken glass? Is a street soon full of alcohol diluted blood. You’d need haz-mat teams to clean up the streets afterwards.

  13. I expect that it is not “legal” to make “any law you like”. Isn;t there an expectation that a law will be vaguely rational, and tied to a more or less compelling state interest?
    Happy hour?

  14. Martin,

    There is irony and humor all the way around this…if I recall the Volstead Act was also called the 18th Amendment….it Prohibited National Enforcement of the Federal Liquor Laws….Hence that is one of the reasons that its legal for a serviceperson to drink regardless of age on military installations… Utah was the last state that ratified the Blaine Amendment… which repealed the 18th…..Therefore it is left of to each state to designate or to establish liquor laws….the Feds still regulate but through other laws that are thought to be rationally related….

  15. In CA the law says, essentially, that a bar cannot offer “free” drinks, including two-for-one deals or complimentary cocktails with a dinner purchase. It is legal to offer reduced-price drinks (the typical “happy hour” pricing, for example) so long as the price charged does not undercut the wholesale price.

  16. For the record…you ALSO can’t buy a cup of coffee to go with your “best apple fritter in the world” at the bakery in Manti, Ut. It’s that Mormon thing again. You can stuff yourself with indecent amounts of fat and sugar but coffee is against the religion.

    Once you figure the place out, ie; how to eat, drink and be merry, it’s a wonderful place to be.

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