57 S. Main St.
What a letdown.
I had been eagerly anticipating Eddie McStiff’s.
I was excited, but a little nervous. What if the place is packed?
What if all those hipster mountain bikers and off-roaders who pour into Moab every weekend give me the “velvet rope” treatment at the front door?
What if I can’t get in?
I can’t come all the way to Moab, UT and not treat my proud American readers to a review of the world famous Eddie McStiff’s!
You have to understand, thanks to my schedule, I typically pull into places like this around 10:30PM on a Tuesday hoping to beat last call.
But tonight was different.
It was a Friday evening during peak tourist season. It was 7PM when I checked into what was literally the last available hotel room in the town.
This town was booked solid! I better get to Eddie McStiff’s and start standing in line now!
To fill you in, Moab is the mecca for the play hard, party hard, bearded outdoorsy types who come from all over the world to kick up some red dirt and leave tire marks with their ATV’s and mountain bikes.
And when they’re done ripping up the landscape, they all pile into Eddie McStiff’s to eat, drink, and party. Kind of an oasis in this tight-laced Mormon state.
At least that’s what I heard.
Turns out, the place was as quiet as the Mormon Tabernacle on Mardi Gras.
All that anticipation. For this???
One lonely guy sat on a barstool. A couple of smokers were out on the patio.
Wooooooo! Hello Friday night in Moab!
Unfortunately, the food didn’t make things much better.
For $13, I found my pork tacos kinda on the skimpy side. A little green chili salsa and a side of forgettable rice and beans, it felt like more of an appetizer.
This would never satisfy the appetite of any dirt-covered mountain biker who just got back zipping up and down the canyons of Moab.
I moved on and ate half of a pepperoni and sundried tomato pizza.
Much better. Certainly nothing fancy or gourmet, but at least the cheese and toppings were generous.
One of the biggest reasons why Eddie McStiff’s has such a party-hearty reputation is the fact that it retains one of Utah’s few coveted “Club” liquor licenses.
Basically, that means you can actually get real beer here. As long as you get it in a bottle, though.
My waitress tried to explain.
She said there are 10 different types of liquor licenses in Utah. Only a few places in the state have been able to bribe the right politicians to sell bottled beer over 4% ABV.
And no place in Utah, not even their famous microbreweries, are allowed to serve draft beer over 3.2% ABV.
To put that into perspective for you—that’s a whole 1.5% percent lower than the watered down American lite beers.
As you might imagine, this creates a bit of tension between the Mormons (who make up 60% of the population and 80% of the politicians) and the free-spirited, fun-seekers who flock to the mountains, canyons, rocks, and waters of Moab.
A tension that was obvious when I looked over Eddie McStiff’s list of Utah beers.
I couldn’t resist the urge to order a Wasatch “Polygamy Porter”.
Nevermind that Mormons supposedly gave up polygamy over a century ago.
The Utah brew masters who try and make a living by navigating the state’s corrupt labyrinth of alcohol laws clearly use every opportunity they can for payback.
The label says it all—“Why have just one?”
Well turns out that’s an easy answer—because it’s not that good.
So I upgraded to a bottle of Squatters Hop Rising, a double IPA at 9% percent alcohol.
Now we’re talkin’! Hoppy and strong, this Utah brew makes whatever the owner had to do to get permission to sell it all worthwhile.
Too bad no one else came into the place to share in my frivolity.
By 10PM (again, this is on a Friday night), my waitress had started sweeping the floors and putting chairs on the tables.
So much for wild partying in Moab. So much for my worries about velvet ropes. So much for my anticipation of downing beers with that guy from the movie who cut his arm off with a pocket knife.
What a letdown.
Rating: Would Wear a Free Shirt.