This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Though liberalized somewhat in recent years, Utah's liquor laws can be a tad confusing.
According to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the state's liquor laws are based on the philosophy of making alcohol available in a manner satisfying public demand, while not promoting or encouraging the sale or use of liquor.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Utah liquor laws:
What is the legal drinking age? You must be at least 21 years of age to drink and be able to prove it with a passport, driver's license, official state issued identification card or military identification card.
Where can I purchase alcoholic beverage products to go? All liquor, wine and full-strength beer must be purchased from one of 41 Utah liquor store or 111 smaller package agencies. Beer with a 3.2 percent alcohol content by weight in bottles or cans may be purchased at most grocery and convenience stores in Utah.
Where can I buy a cocktail, a glass of wine, or a beer in Utah? Liquor, wine and beer are available by the glass at licensed restaurants and clubs. Wine is also available by the bottle in these establishment. Beer may also be purchased in many places with a "beer only" type license. These include taverns, beer bars, smaller restaurants or cafés and snack bars. Alcohol beverage service in a licensed restaurant requires that you order food with your drink, that your beverage be delivered to your table or counter by your server, and you consume your drink at or near the table or counter. Alcohol beverage service in a club does not require that you order food. Full bar service and table service are available. Persons under the age of 21 are not allowed in the lounge or bar area. Beer service in beer-only establishments does not require that patrons order food, though persons under the age of 21 are not allowed.
What is a club? A club is a type of Utah liquor license that provides full alcoholic beverage service at a bar or table with or without an order of food. Most are either social clubs bars or nightclubs with dancing and live music or dining clubs restaurants with bars. Other types of clubs are equity and fraternal clubs. No membership is required to patronize a dining or social club. State law prohibits minors on the premises of the lounge or bar area of any club.
Are there restrictions on consuming alcohol in public places? State law prohibits consuming liquor in a public building, park, stadium or on a public bus. Consuming or having an open container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle is prohibited. As a general rule, a person may not bring an alcoholic beverage onto the premises of an establishment open to the general public if it is to be consumed on the premises. There are some exceptions. You may have an open container in a trunk not accessible to the driver or passenger area of the vehicle. You may bring bottled wine into a licensed restaurant or club to be served by the staff of the establishment, but not if the place does not have a liquor license. There are some exceptions for drinking in a limousine or chartered bus. Some cities may further restrict consumption of alcohol in public places.
May I bring alcoholic beverages into Utah? No.
SOURCE: Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.