OGDEN -- Throughout history, the tearing down of walls has usually been cause for celebration.
It was no different Wednesday afternoon at MacCool's Public House Restaurant and Bar in Ogden, as owners took down a plywood wall that shielded the bar portion of their establishment from the rest of the restaurant.
MacCool's was awarded the state's only available club license earlier this week by the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
In the state of Utah, even restaurants with full-service liquor licenses can only serve alcohol to customers if they first order food.
"It's the intent-to-dine law," said MacCool's manager Chel Brian.
Before the UDABC's decision, MacCool's had a restaurant license, which meant that they had to shield their beer taps and open liquor bottles from the restaurant.
"Hence, the black plywood wall our customers had to stare at," Brian said.
A crowd of about 30 patrons were on hand Wednesday as restaurant co-owners Scott Schlisman and Mic Warner took sledgehammers to the plywood wall.
Just before the wall came down, one of the patrons shouted a Ronald Reaganesque, "Tear down that wall."
"It's nice to finally see it down," Warner said.
According to state law, only establishments with club licenses are able to serve alcohol without the dining prerequisite.
The problem with that, says Schlisman, is that the state limits how many club licenses it hands out.
"For whatever reason, our lawmakers have decided to only give out a certain number of them," he said. "And that can make things difficult for a place like ours."
Located at the corner of 25th Street and Washington Boulevard on the first floor of the Ben Lomond Suites Historic Hotel, Schlisman said MacCool's has a broad customer base and many out of town guests staying at the hotel stop at the restaurant looking to have a drink.
But not having the club license put MacCool's at a competitive disadvantage, Schlisman said.
"People may have loved the atmosphere of our restaurant, but would have to choose to go somewhere else because they couldn't come in and only get a drink," he said. "There are places along 25th Street where you can go in and only have a drink, so we're glad we're finally part of that."
Vickie Ashby, UDABC's public information officer, said there were 16 applicants for the one club license. Based on population estimates, one new license will become available in December.
Establishments wanting the license are placed on a waiting list and then have to plead their case before the UDABC Commission.
Schlisman said MacCool's was on the waiting list for 19 months before finally getting the license.
Ashby said the commission considers a number of factors when awarding the licenses, including the violation history of the establishment seeking for the license and the number of licenses that already exist in one general area.
MacCool's has restaurants in Layton and Salt Lake City, but the club license does not apply to those establishments.