Residents, retirees and recreational visitors in St. George soon will be able to visit a bar that’s not attached to a hotel or a golf course.
Zion Brewery Station II received a bar license Tuesday from the state liquor commission, making the business the first stand-alone bar open to the public in the booming, sunny southwestern Utah city.
“That’s hard to believe,” commission chairman John T. Nielsen quipped when he heard that piece of Utah trivia. Staffers at the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control checked their records and confirmed the unique status of the bar, to be located at 150 N. Main in St. George’s historic district.
The first phase of the Station II bar will open in mid-September on the main floor of the former St. George Fire Station No. 2. — built in 1918, said partner Cris Pace. Subsequent phases will include a larger bar, pool hall and upstairs lounge, followed by a new brewery in the main fire bay.
Station II will be the third location for Zion Brewery Co., which also operates a brewery and brewpub in nearby Springdale, Pace said.
Despite its conservative roots — it was settled by early Mormon pioneers — St. George (population 87,000) is far from being “dry.” It boasts two state-run liquor stores and dozens of restaurants where customers can get a drink if they also order food.
There is a bar inside the Hilton Hotel, while the One & Only tavern serves beer, not wine or spirits.
St. George has three other liquor establishments within its limits, but those require a membership to either the Elks, a fraternal organization, or the Bloomington and Entrada golf and country clubs.
Until now, a “real” bar experience required a drive to the Koral Kafe, in the nearby town of Washington.
Washington County is now the fifth most populous county in the state, behind the Wasatch Front’s Salt Lake, Utah, Weber and Davis counties. And the St. George metropolitan area was the nation’s fastest growing in a 2018 U.S. Census estimate.
The stand-alone bar is just the latest sign the city is growing up. In March, Silver Reef Brewing Co. became the city’s first microbrewery, and a winery, Chanela Farms, will soon open at 4391 S. Enterprise Drive.
“St. George has really changed since I’ve started working in the industry,” Pace said. “We are just following Salt Lake City’s lead, where the craft beer scene has blown up.”