Happy hour never comes, you'll never see a restaurant bartender mix your drink, stiff drinks are a no-no, and don't even bother asking about a drink special … welcome to Utah! Though the state's infamously strict liquor laws lightened up considerably in 2009, the system remains rife with quirks—but that hasn't stopped bar owners from accepting the challenge of dispensing alcohol in the widely conservative state, the New York Times reports. Salt Lake City is now home to 118 bars, many of which argue that although Utah has come a long way in little time, the restrictions around serving alcohol are excessive to the point of hurting business.
Flash back to two years ago where Utah residents couldn't really drink at a bar, period. Instead would-be drinkers had to pay a fee to become a "member" of a "private club" (ie, bar). Then-governor and current presidential hopeful Jon Hunstman ended that law, but a flurry of strange ones remain. For instance, you can't order a "double" in Utah. Liquor bottles are topped with meters to ensure they pour only 1.5 ounces per drink. You can add other liquors to the drink, but only if they're marked "flavoring" and only if there's no more than 2.5 ounces of alcohol in the drink, total. OK: a gin and tonic and a shot of tequila on the side. Not OK: a gin and tonic and a shot of gin on the side.