Salt Lake City Drinking Liberally

Promoting democracy in Utah one pint at a time.

Frequently Asked Questions*

*Not guaranteed to be frequently asked

1. There are liberals in Utah?

Yes – a pretty sizable community of us, too. Utah has a funny way of providing the catalyst that produces liberals – see our flagship product, Rocky Anderson. There are also those that may have considered themselves conservative before moving here, and once they got here find themselves magically liberal compared to those around them.

2. Do you sit around and bash Mormons?

No, in fact we’ve got some Mormons in our group, although they don’t drink. Necessarily.

3. But your logo seems to be offensive to Mormons…

The national DL logo is great, but we wanted a logo that better represented Salt Lake. In deciding on something that illustrated the uniqueness of Salt Lake, it was either the angel on top of the temple or the SLC skyline with the prominent and, um, phallic church office building.

The importance of alcohol in the early days of Utah isn’t discussed much but it played a significant role, so we think it’s pretty fitting (see Del Vance’s book, “Beer in the Beehive” or City Weekly’s interview with the author). Besides, who wouldn’t need the occasional beer after blowing a horn for 100+ years?

4. What is Drinking Liberally all about?

We like to think of Drinking Liberally as a place for like-minded people to get together and discuss topics of the moment over drinks in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. Living in a red state surrounded by conservative neighbors and co-workers, Drinking Liberally offers a good outlet for the weeks’ pent-up frustrations. We also like to think of DL as an easy entry point into politics and civic engagement; you don’t have to be a policy wonk, although the wonks are welcome too. We don’t have an agenda, we just like good conversation and friendly debate.

5. So you’re a group that sits around bitching and drinking. Isn’t that counterproductive?

We’re not an activist group – there are plenty of groups in Utah for that. Many of our members participate in these groups, but Drinking Liberally is about bringing the party (think part-tay) back to politics (you can even get a t-shirt from our national group that says as much). Local liberal activist groups are doing a lot of good in the work of righting our nation, we’re happy to be the after-party.

6. Isn’t “drinking liberally” irresponsible and prove that Democrats don’t have family values?

Firstly, we’re in no way associated with the Democratic party. We attend some of same events, have some of the same members, and share some of the same goals, but we’re really party agnostic.

Second, we’re all adults and as such drink responsibly. This is a tough concept for many Utahns to grasp (I’m looking at you, state liquor commission), but there is such thing as responsible drinking. Drinking Liberally is our name, not a rule. You don’t even have to drink to be a member!

7. How much are dues?

There are no dues. The national Drinking Liberally leaders would really appreciate it if you bought some of their schwag, though. This will help Drinking Liberally grow with full time staff to support the chapters in their needs.

8. What’s the average age of Drinking Liberally members, and are you a bunch of slacker hippies?

We’ve put out a few polls to understand our members better, but we’ve never asked age. If we were to guess, we’d say our average age is somewhere around 40-45. We have members ranging from 21 to 80+, but it seems that the generational differences don’t exist when you’re at Drinking Liberally; probably because we’re united by our ideology more than we’re divided by age.

We have some wanderers and hippies, but also some doctors, pilots, scientists, professors, lawyers, engineers, teachers and artists. About the only thing we can say regarding what would constitute a “typical” DL member is that they’re not originally from Utah.

9. I heard Drinking Liberally is a liberal meat-market, is this true?

We’ve seen a fair number of relationships spring from DL, but it’s a rare person who comes out for that purpose. We do, however, have the distinction of having been the first Drinking Liberally chapter to have a marriage and baby come from a DL relationship. How could it have not been Utah?

10. How did Drinking Liberally get started? How long have you been around? Why have I not heard about this before?

Salt Lake City is just one chapter of more than 230 in the U.S.. Drinking Liberally started in a dive bar in New York City in May, 2003 when it felt as though the politicians, press and public were giving conservative cons a free pass. The national leaders are a dynamic group of bright, talented liberals. You can read more about them and DL’s beginnings at drinkingliberally.org

After some discussion on the national bulletin board, the Salt Lake City chapter was started in August 2005. The first meet-up had 8 people and has grown organically since then. Word of mouth is how most people hear about us, but City Weekly’s entry under “Books and Talks”, Barb Guy’s column in the Salt Lake Tribune featuring us, and Rocky Anderson’s appearances have each given us bumps in membership. We’ve never advertised or press released, but we’re slowly and surely building momentum.

11. I’m passionate about ____ issue and/or candidate ____, would you consider endorsing it/him/her?

Nope. In keeping with the idea of an open, welcoming club, as an organization we don’t endorse candidates or issues. We’re not a political action committee, and we don’t want supporters of yyy candidate to feel intimidated by DL because they’re endorsing candidate zzz. Although you’ll find strong opinions within individual members of our group, DL as a whole only cares to see a brighter, more progressive America.

12. Can I bring literature and propaganda for my issue or candidate?

Yes, by all means. If you’ve got an issue or candidate you’d like to spread the word about, feel free to join us at a meet-up and talk with people about it. There’s a broad spectrum of people that come to Drinking Liberally, and you’re bound to find someone interested in what you have to say.

13. Will you send the attached info in your weekly e-mail?

We receive a LOT of e-mail, and much of it is interesting and of concern to us. However it’s just too much to put in one e-mail each week. Instead, we came up with our website (http://drinkingliberallyslc.org) where you can register and start posting things yourself.

14. Great! How do I join?

The term “member” is pretty loose for us, but generally it just means you’re on our (low-volume) e-mail list. If you’d like to join us at a meet-up, we meet almost every Friday in the back room of the Piper Down (1492 S. State Street in SLC) from 6:30 to 9:30. We say “almost” every Friday because occasionally we meet somewhere else for a special event or something similar. If you’re on our e-mail list you’ll be notified of our special events, and we try to post them on our entry at the national website (http://livingliberally.org/drinking/chapters/UT/saltlakecity) and on our Google Calendar (http://www.google.com/calendar/). We also have a Facebook group for those that are into that kind of thing. The 6:30-9:30 part isn’t a formal start and end – come and go as you please.

Piper Down is a little less than a mile from TRAX – a perfect walking distance to burn off some of those drinks. There’s a bike rack in front of the Piper Down for the pedal pushers, and if you’re a biker of the motorized sort, there’s plenty of parking for you right up front. If you’re coming by car, parking isn’t great but you can usually find something on the street close by. DON’T park at the Chinese restaurant next door – you will be towed!

There is a full bar, a good beer selection, and an Irish-themed menu in case you come hungry. Our usual server at the Piper Down, Cherish, is the best server we could ask for: everyone can do separate checks and she’ll remember your drink the next time you come out. Tip her liberally!

by @ 10:13 am on January 24, 2008.

One Response to “Frequently Asked Questions*”

  1. Starland Gophers Says:

    Howdy..!
    Just curious ~ one month ago, we joined this blog to submit a few noteworthy items that we thought would be of genuine interest to DL Salt Lake City… but our first submission is still “Pending Review” along with other dated material… so, who do we hafta buy a drink to join in the conversation?

    Cheers.!
    Spanky & The Starland Gopher Band

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Welcome to Drinking Liberally Salt Lake City. We meet at 6:30 p.m. every Friday in the back room of Piper Down [Map] and go to 9:30. All are welcome.

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