Are more bars coming to Southern Utah?

Local News

WASHINGTON, Utah (ABC4) – In Southern Utah, Washington City leaders are working on updating ordinance related to liquor. This comes after some concerns from locals about the current code, which only allows one bar license, per 20,000 residents.

St. Helen’s restaurant is one of a few businesses in Washington registered as a restaurant, that also has a bar. Co-owner Gabrielle George says their main focus, is the food.

“It would be nice to kind of see more bars around, so people can kind of get what they want out of their night and have a fun time,” says George.

The Koral Kafe is the only registered bar in the city of Washington and city officials say, it’s not even operating.

“Right now there are no bar licenses that are actively being used, so the city is at least looking at modernizing the code and bringing it more in line with state code,” says Jeremy Redd, the city manager for Washington.

Redd says the ordinance is so outdated that it still references an alcohol percentage of 3.2% beer. A few years ago the state began allowing 5%.

Currently only one bar license is allowed, per 20,000 residents and officials say, they want balance, especially with the influx of new residents and visitors.

“I think that’s what the city council will look at, so I think the debate for them will be, where is that balance? Is one bar the correct number, should there be more should there be less, should they be in certain parts of the community?” says Redd.

And George says she has mixed feelings about it.

“I know there’s been some drug and alcohol issues in the city, so I worry if we get more bars in the city will that help or is it only going to hurt us?” says George.

Officials say in the next few weeks, the city’s attorney will look at modernizing the language, then it will be brought to the city council.

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