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Conservative Farmington gets first bar in recent memory

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Courtesy photo Twigs Bistro & Martini Bar, a Spokane-based restaurant chain, opened its first Utah location in September at Station Park in Farmington. After months of waiting, the business received a hard-to-get club license from the state liquor commission.

Residents in and around Farmington now can belly up to the bar and get a drink — without needing to order a plate of food.

On Tuesday, after months of waiting, Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar in Farmington’s Station Park received a hard-to-get club license from the state liquor commission.

It is the first bar — at least for the general public — to open within Farmington city limits in recent memory. Oakridge Country Club has a club license, but guests have to be members to enjoy that offering.

Since opening in September, Twigs has operated under a full-service restaurant liquor license, which requires customers to order food with beer, wine or cocktails. Employees also must mix and pour drinks behind a partition — dubbed a Zion Curtain— to keep liquor out of sight of minors.

Twigs general manager Casey Barrow told the commission that a club in Farmington is needed to accommodate growing business in the area.

“Station Park has become a midway point for people to meet between Ogden and Salt Lake City,” he said, adding that with the recent opening of the Hampton Inn and the soon-to-open Marriott Hotel, Farmington has become a tourist destination.

On Monday, Station Park announced that 14 new businesses would join the 62-acre shopping center this year. The new businesses are in addition to the 40 restaurants and retailers already there.

Farmington isn’t the only area of the state to get a liquor reprieve.

On Tuesday, the commission also gave club licenses to the Sidetrack Cafe in Heber City and the Hilton Garden Inn in St. George.

The Hilton had been without a club license since February, when a new owner took over and failed to notify the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Department (UDABC) in advance of the sale. The new owners have spent the past month working with the UDABC to get back the license, which is one of only four club licenses in all of Washington County.

The commission also granted a summer seasonal license to Miner’s Grill and Sports Bar in Park City.

After Tuesday’s meeting, 12 businesses remain on the waiting list for a club license.

UDABC staff said a recent increase in Utah population means there will be one new club license available in May.

The commission also briefly heard details about a new liquor license transfer law that takes effect July 1.

The law allows the holder of a state alcohol license to sell it to a qualified buyer, something that has previously been prohibited and something critics say will cause bidding wars.

“It creates an interesting situation,” admitted commissioner Jeff Wright.

In May, the UDABC will have more details on how it will handle the specifics of the law.

kathys@sltrib.com

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