Get to know Utah’s liquor laws
Utah’s a desert, but it’s not dry. Besides the dozens of drinking establishments in town, you can purchase strong beer, wine and spirits from one of the three Park City state-run liquor stores or hotel outlets, and 3.2 percent beer in any grocery store. That is if you can prove you are at least 21 years old.
There’s beer; then there’s BEER!
Beer stronger than 3.2 percent alcohol is classified as liquor and must be purchased from a Utah state liquor store, or an establishment with a full liquor license. Beer in restaurants with limited service liquor licenses (wine, and heavy beer, which is over 3.2 percent) may be served from 11 a.m. to midnight, but they may not sell flavored malt beverages or distilled spirits. Beer-only licensed restaurants may only sell 3.2 percent beer from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m.
Full-strength beer is limited in Utah law to “bottles and cans not exceeding one liter,” and Utah forbids it to be sold in kegs, so any draft beer you order while in the state will be of the low-strength variety. Make no mistake, however, Utah’s local breweries produce lots of great full-strength beers; you just need to look for them beyond the taps.
‘Will you be dining, or drinking, with us tonight?’
Beginning this year, all establishments post a sign stating whether you are entering a bar or restaurant. Licensed restaurants also have to have a clearly-marked buffer where minors are not allowed. Restaurants can serve liquor from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. and bars can start serving at 10 a.m.
Don’t drink and drive; you might spill it
Beginning next year, Utah will become the second state in the Union to reduce the level at which a person is considered legally drunk, from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent. That’s roughly equivalent to one drink depending on body size and metabolism. However much you imbibe, make sure you have a safe way to get back to your lodgings. Take the free bus, call a cab, or walk back on the snow-cleared pathways. It’s also forbidden to consume a beverage in a public place.
Individuals and organizations hosting private social, business, or recreational events or functions are not required to obtain a permit from the state if the event is not open to the general public, and alcohol is provided to invited guests without cost.
This refers to the practice of bringing your own alcoholic beverages into an establishment that is open to the public, for consumption on the premises. This practice is generally prohibited, however, there are three exceptions:
- A person may bring bottled wines onto the premises of a full service, or limited service restaurant or a club liquor license (at the discretion of the licensee) and consume the wine.
- Alcoholic beverages may be brought onto and consumed in limousines and charter buses under certain restrictions.
- A person may bring any alcoholic beverage at a privately hosted event (private party) that is not open to the general public.
Aside from a restaurant, bar, or other facilities with a liquor license, the only place to purchase wine, liquor or full-strength liquor is from a state-operated liquor store. Think ahead, as they are not open on Sundays or holidays. The good news is that prices are the same statewide. There are three state liquor stores in Park City, and a number of convenience outlets inside some hotels and lodges:
Utah State Liquor Stores
- 1550 Snow Creek Drive, 435-649-7254
- 460 Swede Alley, 435-649-3293
- 1612 Ute Boulevard (Kimball Junction), 435-658-0860
- High West Distillery, at 703 Park Ave is the only place you may purchase a bottle of liquor on Sundays.