back to article Cool story, brew: Utah karaoke crooners receive cold, refreshing shock as alcohol authority refuses beer licence

Shit hoppened for the Heart & Seoul karaoke lounge in Utah after the US state's alcohol control authority yesterday rejected its application to serve beer. The amateur wailers' joint in downtown Provo, Utah (69km from Salt Lake City) was left foaming after pouring its heart out to the state's Department of Alcoholic Beverage …

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    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: me no understand

      No it couldn't get a bar license because it was too close to the God botherers.

      God is so powerless that he needs the state liquor board to protect himself from booze

      Or the church thinks people will accidentally go to the bar instead

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: me no understand

        > Or the church thinks people will accidentally go to the bar instead

        Just lately in church: the old lady next to me had a sip of beer during prayers!

        I nearly dropped my cigarette.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: me no understand

        The funny thing is that the Church of Mormon is a pretty close ripoff of Islam.

        I won't bother to list all the parallels, but five quick ones:

        Ban on alcohol

        Revelation directly dictated to founder by angel

        Jesus has lower status than in Christianity

        Special "modest" clothes

        Polygamy (which has gradually eroded with time, as it has in advanced Muslim societies like the Kurds).

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: me no understand

          > the Church of Mormon is a pretty close ripoff of Islam.

          They ban coffee - no Arab would do that

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: me no understand

            At the time Islam started, people didn't know coffee was a stimulant.

            The thing that amazes me about the Mormons is that Joseph Smith was so obviously a fraud, someone who made Lord Archer look like a candidate for the Supreme Court. Jesus, when you cut out the later embellishments, obviously wasn't. For his day, he talked extremely good sense. He didn't bang on about silly clothes, magical goggles and nonexistent civilisations.

            How do people manage to do science degrees and remain Mormons? Is the cultural pressure that strong? As far as I know there isn't even a death sentence for blasphemy, so it isn't a proper desert religion.

          2. kain preacher Silver badge

            Re: me no understand

            Coffee(caffeine) became unbanned . I'm sure it has nothingto do with the shares of Coke a cola they own,

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: me no understand

              I'm fairly certain that Jesus himself approved of wine ... I mean, did he turn wine into water, or water into wine? See John 2:3-11 ...

              Drink thy wine with a merry heart. —Ecclesiastes 9:7

              Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. —1 Timothy 5:23

              Give ... wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. —Proverbs 31:6b-7

              1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

                Re: me no understand

                I turn wine into (sort of) water...

              2. beep54
                Angel

                Re: me no understand

                On the other hand, there is Proverbs 20:1 "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by them is not wise. " As an atheist, I find it quite useful to be familiar with the Bible.

                1. Bandikoto
                  Angel

                  Re: me no understand

                  Ezekiel 23:20 is the one I give to bible-thumpers. Unfortunately, I'm rarely there when they look it up.

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: me no understand

                    I start right from the beginning and ask "Which version of Creation do you believe in? The one described beginning at Genesis 1:1, or the one beginning at Genesis 2:4?" Usually makes them go away.

                    Rarely, one will stump up with "But that's the OLD testament, we have a new covenant now". So I muse over their "perfect" God getting the covenant wrong the first time and then ask which of the gospels got the last words of Jesus right ... Matthew, Luke and John all have completely different takes on the subject, Mark (perhaps wisely?) remained silent on the subject.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: me no understand

                      There are more than 2. There is the Elohim legend (In the Beginning...), the Middle East Drying legend (Adam and Eve, but the named humans may be from a third story about the earth god and water goddess getting it on), and the Watcher legend (the Giants and the Angels). There are traces of yet others.

                      The point is that the compilers of Bereshit were neither Orthodox Jews nor Literal Protestants. They were early Iron Age descendants of desert nomads, codifying the different stories of the oral tradition. They just bunged them in one after another because they had no concept of narrative integrity - Aristotle wasn't only a bit later but belonged to a much more advanced civilisation. They would be astonished, I'm sure, at the verbal acrobatics of the Mishnah or all those tomes in theological libraries.

                      One thing to ask them, by the way, is that if the law is perfect, why do rabbits chew the cud and how are bats birds?

                      1. jake Silver badge

                        Re: me no understand

                        Yes, I know. But the people I'm talking about are very simple. They have never read and interpreted and understood their "good book" for themselves. They have always been told what and how to think about it. Hit them with too much outside their conception of what the tradition says, and their brains turn off.

                        My friend Dan says the translation is in error ... it's rabbis that chew the cud. His explanation for bats as birds is also simple ... not having flashlights (torches to you Brits), they couldn't catch one to check and jumped to the obvious conclusion. You can often find Dan reading the Torah to all and sundry at his synagogue, unless he's at work running his brewery.

                      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                        Re: me no understand

                        There is the Elohim legend (In the Beginning...)

                        Not this again - did you not read what I posted after you posted this the first time?

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: me no understand

                          Yes, I did. And I consider your nick becomes you.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: me no understand

                  Ah yes.

                  King David and King Solomon led merry, merry lives

                  With many, many lady friends and many, many wives.

                  But then as they grew older with many, many qualms

                  King Solomon wrote the proverbs, and King David wrote the Psalms.

                  As another atheist, I say you need to know the Bible because it helps understand the delusions of some of the people around you.

              3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: me no understand

                "I'm fairly certain that Jesus himself approved of wine "

                Isn't that just another of the "useful things to help you stay alive" for a time period when water was more likely to kill you than a weak beer or wine?

          3. Gene Cash Silver badge

            Re: me no understand

            They don't actually ban coffee, they just frown on people drinking it, like we do to people smoking.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: me no understand

              A friend of mine claims that Jack Mormons are called that because they prefer Jack & Coke when they are playing poker. He should know, he is one.

            2. Claverhouse Silver badge

              Re: me no understand

              They don't actually ban coffee, they just frown on people drinking it, like we do to people smoking.

              You do ?

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: me no understand

                Yes. We do. Filthy, stinking habit that brings out the litterbug in humans, to say nothing of the hazmat scofflaws.

          4. beep54
            Happy

            Re: me no understand

            "They ban coffee - no Arab would do that." Actually, they DID try to do just that. Once. It did NOT go over well.

        2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

          Re: me no understand

          I thought that the Polygamy issue was the biggest schism in the Mormon faith. With the fundamentalist Mormons (read "angry and deluded") wanting to keep the decree, and then with the normal (read "generally deluded") Mormons wanting to rid themselves of it.

          I'm only stating what I remember from the fantastic book Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer. Great book; and despite his obvious restraint, it does paint the average Mormon follower as a whackjob who has spent too much time in the sun.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: me no understand

            I would normally agree but my manager is a mormon (autocorrect keeps telling me that should be spelt moron...) who, whilst not being the most sane of people, is by far and away the best manager I've ever worked with and the closest to an actual, decent human being that I've come across. This includes working from home on a Friday so he can clame ignorance of some team members pub lunch.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: me no understand

        I don't understand where the second letter 'm' came from.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: me no understand

          They do actually have prophets named Moron and Moroni (and Ether). One senses that Joseph Smith was testing just how far he could take the piss - and found there were no limits.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: me no understand

            "and found there were no limits."

            As a certain Mr. Hubbard demonstrated many moons later.

    2. 's water music Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: me no understand

      it sounds to me like a recreational license allows somewhere that isn't a bar to serve drinks incidentally to the main activity of the establishment. This sounds like a bar that specialises in Karaoke wants to operate somewhere that a bar would not be allowed (too close to a church). Whatever one may think of the licensing laws of the state this sounds like an attempt to bypass on a technicality to me.

      obvs--->

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: me no understand

        Although why a technicality should be needed to get a round a ban which should be unconstitutional is another question.

        The USA isn't a theocracy - G*d shouldn't be a factor in licensing laws.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: me no understand

          "The USA isn't a theocracy"

          Yet. There is a very vigorous ongoing effort to change that.

        2. macjules Silver badge

          Re: me no understand

          G*d shouldn't be a factor in licensing laws

          Next time you say, "Oh G*d I wish I hadn't drunk so much last night" You will remember those words. As for the "Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission" in the UK we call it the Ministry of Fun, or "Drink All the Booze you Can Carry".

        3. jake Silver badge

          Re: me no understand

          "G*d shouldn't be a factor in licensing laws."

          Neither should God. Or any other non-citizen.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: me no understand

            But God v1.0 gets a bit annoyed at anybody using his name, and obviously has some serious anger management issues

            So nobody mention Yahweh ,.... shit ...

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: me no understand

              Ever wonder what will happen to the Xtian faithful when they get to the other side should it turn out that the God of the Old Testament is in charge and the God of the New Testament is a mere pretender that the OT God is miffed at?

            2. magickmark
              Big Brother

              Re: me no understand

              I-- I'd had a lovely supper, and all I said to my wife was, 'That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah.'

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbO5h8Ctfs8

        4. Fungus Bob Silver badge

          Re: me no understand

          "The USA isn't a theocracy"

          Utah is.

          Fortunately, I live in a different time zone.

      2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: me no understand

        Yeah, but it's supposed to be 'Land of the Free' not 'Land where the religious can veto activity'. The whole proximity to a church thing is bunk.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: me no understand

          Well, we also have laws about how close to a school a bar can be.

          1. GloriousVictoryForThePeople

            Re: me no understand

            my local bar is nothing like a school - not even close

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: me no understand

              You need to find a new bar. I've learned a lot at mine.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: me no understand

              "my local bar is nothing like a school - not even close"

              Yes, it's bar stool, not bar school. Unless you are studying for the bar, in which you might go to bar school.

      3. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: me no understand

        The prior commentards are taking a rather limited view of history. There was an era where drunks hassling church-goers was a thing. Putting space between the two was a sensible restriction. Furthermore, many jurisdictions put space between schools and bars. Whatever you think of that, churches are also places where children notably congregate--and are more likely to do so with hours that overlap bars. In the one case that I am aware of, the board was much more concerned with children and bar patrons interacting than anything religious per se.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: me no understand

          "There was an era where drunks hassling church-goers was a thing. Putting space between the two was a sensible restriction."

          That may be the historical reason, but it's hard to believe that's the reason why it continues to be enforced today. There are lots of places in the US where there is no such restriction, and I haven't heard about any serious problem with drunks hassling church-goers in those areas.

        2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

          Re: me no understand

          Possibly worth noting, while deploring a limited view of history, that the era of drunks hassling church goers also featured do-gooders hassling drunks.

          This was in Provo, UT. While not as bad as places like American Fork just down the road, a huge proportion of the permanent population _is_ LDS (aka Mormon). A lot of the rest are transient/under 21 (i.e. students at BYU), so what this really represents is a fine example of democracy in action: three wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner...

        3. jake Silver badge

          Re: me no understand

          There was also a much longer era where all church goers drank wine and/or beer as their normal, day in and day out beverage. Even the kids. Granted, it was because the water would kill them ... but I don't remember any busy-bodys bitching about the evils of drink back in those days!

          1. Public Citizen
            Coat

            Re: me no understand

            That's because they generally died young - from drinking the water.

          2. Claverhouse Silver badge

            Re: me no understand

            Nearly all Americans from the Founding to the 1830s at least were mostly half-cut from dawn till dusk. As is shown in their political achievements of the time. *

            Americans drank an average of thirty-four gallons of beer and cider, five gallons of distilled spirits, and one gallon of wine per year in 1790

            US History Scene

            And that's just the average: for those who like the current president never drank either alcohol nor coffee, it follows that others were getting more than their fair share.

            * Seriously, Calhoun ?

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: me no understand

              Right on par with your country of origin, no? Was normal at the time in most of the so-called "western" world. For example look up "Gin Craze" or "Gin Epidemic" in your .fav search engine.

              1. Claverhouse Silver badge

                Re: me no understand

                The Gin Craze, brought in with Dutch Billy, was a time-specific addiction problem, like crack-cocaine, that went away. Even in the heavy drinking Georgian and Victorian periods most people in Britain didn't drink regularly. outside the slums and the House of Commons [ Billy Pitt, anyone ? ]. People like George III barely drank at all,

        4. Kernel Silver badge

          Re: me no understand

          "There was an era where drunks hassling church-goers was a thing."

          In the US there was also a period where church-goers were hassling drunks - they called it "Prohibition", and we all know the great contributions that made to today's US society.

        5. the Jim bloke Silver badge
          Angel

          Re: me no understand

          These days, church-goers hassling children is considered a much more serious issue

          Wont Somebody Think of the Children!!

        6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: me no understand

          "Whatever you think of that, churches are also places where children notably congregate--and are more likely to do so with hours that overlap bars."

          Yes, and those self same law makers really don't want their kids seeing them coming from the bar to church or church to bar, so a bit of distance, preferable around a corner is best.

  2. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    upcoming law?

    In the US, a law that is "upcoming" can't be used for criminal prosecution. I find it odd that it can be applied for license rulings. Of course, if the rules of criminal law applied to the case, one could argue that listening to karaoke sober amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: upcoming law?

      If the licence is granted, then both the licence and the new law run in the future, and you would have a licence for drinking at a recreation that wasn't legally a recreation any more.

      I'm a bit puzzled that neither karaoke nor just drinking alcohol are considered recreations in Utah.

      I also was puzzled why the karaoke singers were also called, or actually were, axe throwers too. I think I've got it now, it's two different groups.

      So that just leaves converting karaoke into a religion, singing Psalms from the autocue, and being sure to include alcohol overindulgence as a sacrament. Where the axe throwing comes in, I'm not sure.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: upcoming law?

        "I'm a bit puzzled that neither karaoke nor just drinking alcohol are considered recreations in Utah."

        The argument seems to be that "recreation" is supposed be some sort of physical activity/exercise. So that's most pub games out then.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow!

    Damn near hit the pun event horizon in that article!

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Wow!

      It was an ambitious undertaking, but they had the bottle to keep their head and see it through

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: Wow!

        I wanted to come here and add a few; it was a bitters pill to swallow to see that Jude had gotten almost all of them. But I am of stout heart, and think I can draught at yeast a few additional puns.

        1. ArrZarr Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Wow!

          The article was definitely verging on the punbearable.

  4. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
    Happy

    My pun meter had a melt down

    Where can I complain?

    1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: My pun meter had a melt down

      If you thought that they stank, go talk to the pun gent over there.

    2. Baldrickk Silver badge

      Re: My pun meter had a melt down

      if it melted, can you drink it?

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: My pun meter had a melt down

        I did that! Tasted rather bad though, quite a pun-ishing experience.

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: My pun meter had a melt down

      Go stand in line at the chaplain's office. He'll listen to your complaint and punch your ticket. (Old military response).

      Maybe they need to sing outside the church "In heaven there is no beer..."

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6ZQx11TbQU

      And for good measure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsS_CXk2z_Q

  5. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Lovely punnery.

    Keep it up. Keg and all. :)

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
    Pint

    Most recreational amenities involve "physical activity of some sort or another,"

    Doesn't elbow lifting count?

    1. James 139

      Which then makes me wonder, exactly what falls into the "recreational amenities" category if it requires "physical activity"? And, for that matter, exactly who has to perform the activity?

      Do they grant such licenses to "football" or baseball arenas?

      What about a popup bar in a park, most of those being active are kids, whilst the adults sit around drinking, hardly physical activity there either.

      Maybe they all qualify by selling enough food.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Trollface

        So the local brothel would count as a recreational amenity. Defintely some physical activity going on there...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Geography slightly off....

          ... the brothers are in Nevada, not Utah -- or so they tell me.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Geography slightly off....

            Where do they keep the sisters?

    2. Mike 16 Silver badge

      Elbow lifting may not count, but bar fights probably should.

  7. chivo243 Silver badge
    Devil

    "This here is a stationary activity."

    Ever see Fishbone play? What a doofus.

  8. chuckufarley

    Ah, Utah...

    ...it's rules are as close to Sharia Law as a right-wing Christian state can get.

  9. defiler Silver badge

    Ah, Provo

    Had a guy from Provo seconded to us about 20 years ago. He was so excited to be in Scotland for a year, it was like he was going to stay awake and see everything.

    First week he asked us what we were going to do at the weekend and we had him convinced that in Scotland it was typical to go into the mountains and swordfight like in Highlander... Gullible lad - we got that sorted out with some good old sarcasm. Nice chap, though. Was a Mormon, so wouldn't drink alcohol, tea, coffee, coke... Takes all types.

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Ah, Provo

      Re: "Was a Mormon, so wouldn't drink alcohol, tea, coffee, coke."

      Many years ago some Mormons visited my shared house and tried to convert us all (Physics graduates, no chance) but we entertained them. They wouldn't drink tea, coffee, or coke, but would drink hot chocolate, ... which does contain caffeine. Go figure.

      1. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge
        Devil

        Re: Ah, Provo

        I had a visit from a couple of well dressed young men, at my home in Rugby, England. They were astonished when I told them that I had visited Nauvoo, Illinois whilst temporarily resident in the US. Neither of them had ever visited Nauvoo, from which Brigham Young led the original Mormons to Salt Lake City, in spite of the fact that it is only a couple of states away.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Ah, Provo

          "only a couple states away"

          True enough. Just three states between Illinois and Utah. And these days it is all super-slab (I-80). However, distances are a trifle longer than most folks in Blighty are used to ... call it 1250 miles, give or take. The wife and I have done it (well, Peoria IL to Salt Lake City, another hundred miles or so) in about 17 hours, with two pee stops and she & I swapping driving time. Not exactly "just popping down to the shops".

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Ah, Provo

            "True enough. Just three states between Illinois and Utah. And these days it is all super-slab (I-80). However, distances are a trifle longer than most folks in Blighty are used to ... call it 1250 miles, give or take."

            But they had travelled a few 1000 miles to a foreign land as missionaries to convert the "heathens" here in the UK. I've heard you still have non-grounded aircraft in the USA and don't rely solely on UK (European) planes to travel abroad :-)

    2. KarMann

      Re: Ah, Provo

      Re: "Was a Mormon, so wouldn't drink alcohol, tea, coffee, coke."

      Even Irn Bru?!? Kick him out!

      1. defiler Silver badge

        Re: Ah, Provo

        Exactly - not even Bru. Still, he was a nice guy so we tolerated that for a year.

      2. Ken Shabby Bronze badge
        Pint

        Re: Ah, Provo

        Did they drink you under the Tabernacle?

  10. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    "In close proximity to a Mormon church"

    Here in Queensland they'd get their licence and the god-botherers would get two months to move the church.

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: "In close proximity to a Mormon church"

      In that State it's impossible *NOT* to be in close prox to a church.

      They have more churches than SillyCon Valley has entrepreneurs & Hollywood has celebreties combined.

      1. Public Citizen

        Re: "In close proximity to a Mormon church"

        In Utah you have to get Really, Really Far Out In The Countryside to not have at least one [if not more] of the iconic spires of their churches visible from ground level.

  11. jake Silver badge

    What's dangerous about axe throwing?

    I've been throwing an axe in logging competitions (and occasionally in bars/pubs) since almost before I can remember. In all that time (well over half a century), I cannot remember anybody getting hurt. Not even once.

    I can't say the same thing about darts.

    1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: What's dangerous about axe throwing?

      "In all that time (well over half a century), I cannot remember anybody getting hurt."

      The well known frequently re-discovered effects of alcohol consumption vs. memory

    2. MrBanana

      Re: What's dangerous about axe throwing?

      Just discovered axe throwing on a visit to Toronto - crazy bonkers, especially when they bring out the big axes. Highly recommended. They did have a booze license [*], so it must be that physical exercise thing.

      [*] Absolutely no issues with the axe slipping out of my grip, your honour.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: What's dangerous about axe throwing?

        "They did have a booze license"

        Note to the traveler: Toronto is in Canada, not the US, and has completely different laws when it comes to axes and booze, so caveat viator. With that said, advice I would give for any bar in any jurisdiction is "go with the flow, it's probably both legal and fun".

  12. Herby Silver badge

    Salesman...

    I was told of a story that there was a nice Mormon fellow who was in outside sales. The bosses were wondering why his expense account charges were so small, then they found out. No wining and dining for him. They had to let him do other work.

    On the other hand, if you ARE in the church, you ARE taken care of if you happen to come across in bad times.

    Me? Yes, I have relatives (cousin) who live in that part of the world, but my (now deceased) grandparents weren't of that persuasion from what my mom says, it was an enlightening experience to be a "minority".

  13. EastFinchleyite

    Grounds for Appeal

    Karaoke has no attraction for me and the thought of one less amateur crooning bar in the world does not fill me with despair. I do think however that the bar's owners have a valid claim for appeal.

    The karaoke establishment itself has not been banned, just the selling of beer (and presumably any other alcoholic drink). The Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution bans "cruel and unusual" punishment. Any way you look at it, karaoke when you are not pissed meets that standard and some. If you doubt me, visit such an establishment when sober and see how long you last.

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