Utah ax-throwing venue adds pool tables, gets beer license

Axe-throwing coach Kennedy Howard holds axes at Social Axe Throwing Wednesday, May 1, 2019, in Salt Lake City. The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control announced Tuesday, April 30, 2019, that beer will not be allowed at the Salt Lake City karaoke business or an Ogden axe-throwing venue because neither fits the 14 definitions of a "recreational amenity,"under a new law passed by Utah's Republican-controlled legislature during the yearly session that ended in March. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Salt Lake City ax-throwing business has been granted a license to sell beer after adding pool and billiard tables to the venue.

General manager Devan Watanabe throws an axe at Social Axe Throwing Wednesday, May 1, 2019, in Salt Lake City. The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control announced Tuesday, April 30, 2019, that beer will not be allowed at a Salt Lake City karaoke business or an Ogden ax-throwing venue because neither fits the 14 definitions of a “recreational amenity,”under a new law passed by Utah’s Republican-controlled legislature during the yearly session that ended in March. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

A new liquor law that took effect May 14 raised questions about whether some locations could serve alcohol. It listed businesses that can have recreational beer licenses, including bowling alleys, concert venues, miniature golf courses and pool parlors, but did not include ax throwing or karaoke. The commission last month denied license requests from Social Axe and Heart and Seoul Karaoke, both in Salt Lake City.

On Tuesday, Utah alcohol commissioners approved the license for Social Axe Throwing after finding that the addition of the pool and billiard tables on the premises satisfied a new law’s definition of a “recreational amenity.”

At the Tuesday meeting, Social Axe co-owner Mark Floyd told commissioners that they have “done everything” to comply with the law. The business also plans to host nine-ball and three-ball tournaments on the three tables, he said.

Commissioner Thomas Jacobson questioned whether just adding pool tables followed the spirit of the law, noting that other businesses might take this approach as a way to sell beer to customers.

“In my mind, Social Axe has gone above and beyond to show good faith to comply with the intent of the Legislature,” Commissioner Jacquelyn Orton said. “At some point, I think we have to be reasonable.”

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