After more than a year of waiting, Sapa Sushi Bar and Grill in Salt Lake City finally received a club license from the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (UDABC).
The Asian restaurant at 722 S. State St. was the only business this month — out of 13 on a waiting list — to receive the hard-to-get license, which allows customers to order beer, wine and hard liquor without ordering food. Clubs also are not required to mix and pour drinks behind a partition or Zion Curtain.
The Sapa license became available because of an increase in population, UDABC officials said during their monthly meeting on Tuesday. Another license is not expected to become available until July.
Hoang Nguyen, whose family opened Sapa in 2009, told the state liquor commission that the restaurant’s downtown location has made it a destination for many corporate events and business meetings. It has a unique outdoor garden, with centuries-old tea houses shipped from Vietnam.
She said most of the people who frequent the restaurant "intend on dining" and "72 percent of the sales comes from food."
But having a designated bar, available only to those who are 21 or older, offers another use for customers.
The restaurant area, which is separate from the bar, will continue to serve sushi and grilled items and will be open to those under 21.
The next three businesses on the waiting list are Red Rock Junction, Miner’s Grill & Sports Bar and ’Bout Time Pub and Grub, all in Park City. Those businesses currently have "summer seasonal" licenses, which allow them to operate as a club only during the summer months.
Owners from all three businesses told the commission they’d like to have club licenses that are permanent.
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.