Well, it was business as usual Monday morning: The pledge of allegiance, the audit, then straight on to the violations and denials at the Department of Dashed Hopes, officially known as at The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (Utah DABC).

Two businesses — Social Axe Throwing (yes, it’s an increasingly popular sport and has two locations plus a mobile unit) and Heart and Seoul, a Provo karaoke club opening a second location in SLC, both appeared before the commission to apply for licenses to sell beer.

As part of their applications, each business principal had checked the appropriate box for their type of enterprise: “recreational amenity” but under new liquor rules in H.B. 453 the Utah DABC balked.

It all sounds pretty straightforward to the uninitiated observer, karaoke and axe throwing are recreational activities, right? Not. I mean, what IS recreation? These are the kinds of minute points of language and deep thinking the DABC and its helicoptering parent, the Utah Legislature, revel in. During the 2019 Legislative session, our lawmakers took the time out from debating health care, medicinal marijuana, economic development, gay rights and the housing shortage to minutely define and specify types of recreation in H.B. 453.

The resulting list included many things like billiards, bowling, concerts and miniature golf. NOT axe throwing. NOT karaoke.

“Let’s not take this lightly,” one DABC member warned during the commission’s soporifically solemn analysis of, basically, what’s fun and what’s not. The whole discussion got a lot more complicated, but we sat through the silliness so you don’t have to. In short, Social Axe Throwing and Heart and Seoul were denied licenses.

One DABC member did offer a helpful suggestion. “Why don’t you buy a pool table? Or start serving food?”

See? Government agencies are just here to help. And keep you safe from tipsy karaoke.

See all of our food and drink coverage here.