The State Room’s demise has been greatly exaggerated.
The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control announced Monday that the downtown music venue had failed to pay its $2,000 annual renewal fee on time and, thus, would forfeit its bar license.
However, at the last minute, The State Room did deliver a check to the state liquor office and a DABC employee was on hand to accept it, said agency spokesman Terry Wood. The check wasn’t discovered until Tuesday morning.
“It would not be fair to punish them,” Wood said, “since an employee was still present in the building sometime after 5 p.m.”
Bar owners in Utah had until Aug. 31 to pay the annual fee or risk losing the sought-after liquor permit.
The usual renewal date is May 31, but, in April, the Legislature passed HB4004, granting owners a three-month extension, since many were unable to open during the coronavirus shutdown.
The DABC told bar owners they had until 5 p.m. — when its business office closed — to pay. But language in the extension bill did not specify a time.
Only one bar — Punch Bowl Social at The Gateway — has relinquished its license.
As The State Room’s untimely demise spread, co-owners Chris Mautz said his cell phone — and that of his business partner Darin Piccoli — “were lighting up like we were at a concert.”
The DABC announcement “was a simple misunderstanding,” Mautz said. And while “it caused a little stress and the heart rate to go up,” the owners have every intention of reopening the concert venue, which has been closed since mid-March, and serving alcohol.
“We are not going anywhere,” Mautz said, adding that the outpouring from the community is appreciated during these difficult times.
“What amazing support we have received at the thought this could happen,” he said. “It just calls attention to the music business and that independent venues are really in a tough spot.”