For a brief moment in time, it actually seemed like we were making progress in Utah where booze is concerned. In 2009 we got actual bars! Real, honest to goodness bars where you didn’t have to buy some weird annual or temporary membership to order a drink. It’s true that liquor is still limited to a 1 oz shot and wine to a 6 oz pour, but still…A BAR! And Jesus didn’t come down and smite us or anything, so yes, I considered this real progress.
Then Jon Huntsman had to run off to the far east to do the bidding for that Muslim guy from Kenya, and it all went to shit. The Legislature, left to their own devices by the new real estate agent turned governor, and guided by the “correct” Jesus decided we needed to reign in such unabashed sinning. Enter the return of the “Zion Curtain.” Basically, any new restaurant that opens with a liquor license (which are in short supply anyway…unless you happen to be opening a restaurant at the LDS Church owned “One True Mall”) must shield from view the area where drinks are actually poured or mixed. Most accomplish this with an opaque wall to protect innocent children and teetotalers from seeing ACTUAL ALCOHOL POURED INTO A GLASS! The horror! People sinning right before our eyes!
It’s almost laughable if it weren’t so bad for the prospects of business expansion in the state. Some chains begrudgingly go along. The Cheesecake Factory will open with it’s traditional centerpiece bar, but will stock it with unopened liquor bottles. So, diners and children will see the liquor; they just won’t see it poured.
Now comes the next phase of the Zion Curtain as a result of two bills passed in the last session. Beer only eateries (so, think of a pub that serves beer, but no wine or liquor…and 3.2% beer at that!) opening after March 2012 must employ the Curtain to hide the taps or even beer bottles being uncapped. Seriously, I’m not making this shit up. The requirement has already resulted in two chains putting expansion plans in Utah on hold in favor of new locations in Colorado and Montana. So much for the business friendly Utah Legislature, huh?
Now, the kicker. None of the legislators responsible for pushing and passing these bills knows why beer only establishments are included. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Senate President Michael Waddoups doesn’t know who included this provision or why. Comforting that he’s referring to legislation he voted in favor of passing.
I suppose since none of them seem to know why this provision in the law was included, we must assume it’s…a miracle. Jesus snuck it in there.