Restaurant longevity in Park City is an oxymoron. Though the buildings themselves still stand from the ’70s and earlier, you’d be hard pressed to name a business that’s weathered the decades. Blame high rents, seasonal tourism, and crazy Utah liquor laws for making this ski town one in constant flux. But one bar and après-ski hangout has managed to survive. Born as the Corner Store in 1974 to Jim Doilney and family, the small watering hole and patio at the base of Park City Mountain even withstood the Vail Resorts tidal wave. It did wind up masquerading as the Hungry Moose from 1994 to 2004, but then, like the mythical Phoenix, the Corner Store rose again under Jim’s son, Max.
“The laws are constantly changing and so are we,” says Max’s partner, Jeff Jacobs, about Utah’s food and beverage mandates. This summer the gathering spot for visiting skiers and locals alike underwent a $100,000 remodel. “You adjust to your environment, not by choice but just to keep working.”
This season, longtime guests will notice the bar swapped places with the restaurant and, if management gets the “recreational beer license” they are hoping for, you may just have to duck—to avoid ax-throwers—when moving around. “You need a recreational league activity license if you want to order a drink and walk around with it,” explains Jacobs. “We’ll definitely still have live music but maybe ax-throwing, too,” he says. Downstairs will house a rental/retail ski shop and yet another coffee bar.
“The Corner Store was where all the kids hung out with their families,” reminisces Jacobs. “It was a fun place with music. Sometimes it would be a little loud, but we could control it ourselves.” The new liquor laws, which prevent children from hanging out near bar areas, may wrestle away some of that autonomy, but families and the under-21 crowd are still welcome on the north side of the building. And Jacobs assures us the Corner Store will always be that place where everyone knows your name—and a ski bum can get a drink after a legendary day on the slopes.