Members only? No more |

Members only? No more

Kristina Eastham, Record contributing writer

Tear up your membership cards. Utah bars are no longer exclusively for members.

As of Wednesday, July 1, clubs and bars, which were once state mandated as private, can open their doors to anyone over the age of 21, in conjunction with Utah Senate Bill 187, the Alcohol Amendments bill.

"We’ve always been really down on the private club law because we didn’t want to make people feel unwelcome the second the came into the bar, asking them a question like, ‘Are you a member?’" said Conner Watts, owner of the Sidecar Bar on Main Street. "Now we can just say ‘Welcome to the Sidecar!’"

There are other changes in effect with the new law. Doormen will now use an identification scanner to verify a patron’s age and the legitimacy of a their ID. Scanners are required at bars and range in price from $800-$1,300.

"It’s going to make it a little bit easier because you’ll just have to scan it and look at their picture to make sure it’s them," Watts said.

Watts said bars are also required to store the information for seven days in conjunction with dram laws, making easier for the government to track where intoxicated criminals have been.

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The digital scanner, which scans read out-of-state drivers licenses, domestic and even international passports, can also assist the bar in remembering who has been banned from their club.

"If somebody has come in and then causes a problem in the bar, if we know who they are and their name then we can blacklist them. Any time they try to scan their ID our scanner will tell their door guys not to let that person in," Watts said.

"That’s a pretty cool feature," he said, even though he admitted the Sidecar has not had to ban many patrons.