Billy Bob's Texas will reopen — for a second time — on Thursday, August 13. "The world's largest honky-tonk," in the Fort Worth Stockyards, announced the highly anticipated opening date on social media August 12.
"It's official! We're opening at 11 AM on Thursday, August 13. Stop in for lunch and enjoy something sweet from our new dessert case. See y'all soon!," says a Facebook post, accompanied by a new logo for "Billy Bob's Texas Honky Tonk Kitchen."
Under a new permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Billy Bob's is reopening and operating primarily as a restaurant with live music. The first concert will take place Auguest 14 and feature The Bellamy Brothers.
The 39-year-old venue had reopened in phases June 18 after its initial COVID shutdown. But on June 26, amid spikes in cases around the state, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the closure of bars (defined as places that made 51 percent or more of their sales from alcohol), and Billy Bob's turned off the lights, canceled upcoming concerts, and furloughed staff.
Under the new "restaurant" guidelines, the 6,000-person venue will permit just 1,200 patrons inside.
The Honky Tonk Kitchen will be open daily for lunch and dinner, serving "authentic Western cuisine" like Southern Frito pie, chicken-fried steak, and barbecue plates, according to the website. There are hot dogs, salads, burgers, and shareable plates, with prices topping out at about $20. (See the whole menu here.) Executive chef Chris Fersch oversees the food service operations.
With any reopening these days come new COVID-19 safety measures, and Billy Bob's has many. Guests and employees will wear masks, and hand sanitizing stations will be located throughout the venue. The restaurant will use disposable or digital menus, and single-serve condiments will be available upon request.
Additionally, guests can expect these measures, per the website:
- All guests enter through the West Side doors by the Box Office.
- Use of a non-invasive thermal camera as guests enter the building. If a guest registers a high temperature, they will be pulled aside for additional screening. If the guest continues to register a temperature higher than 99.5, they will not be allowed to remain there. If purchased tickets are involved, a full refund will be offered.
- After the guest has passed their temperature check, the admittance line will pass by a Hand Sanitizing Station manned by a Billy Bob’s Texas employee, and each guest will be required to sanitize their hands prior to entry into the club.
- The only time face masks/face coverings will not be required for guests is when they are seated at their table, but they are still recommended.
- Staff will be enforcing social distancing.
- The dance floor will be roped off and the entrance and exit to the dance floor will be through one location monitored by Billy Bob’s Texas. A maximum of 30 people will be allowed to dance at any one time and masks will be required.
- The pool balls and cues have been sanitized and will be checked out from the retail store, requiring a guest driver’s license. There will be no coin-operated pool tables. Upon return, the balls and cues will be sanitized, as well as the pool table itself.
Bull-riding, dance lessons, and valet parking will not be available, club personnel say.
With the reopening comes a new slate of shows. Just like guests, all entertainers and their crews will be temperature checked and will use hand sanitizer when entering the backstage area of the club. Concert tickets will be limited to 1,000 socially distanced Reserved Seats and 200 socially distanced General Admission seats.
Below is the new lineup of upcoming shows; tickets and more information here.
Friday, August 14 – The Bellamy Brothers (10 pm)
Saturday, August 15 – Flatland Cavalry (10 pm; sold out)
Friday, August 21 – Tracy Byrd (10 pm)
Saturday, August 22 – Casey Donahew (10 pm)
Sunday, August 23 – Chad Prather (8 pm)
Friday, August 28 – Kevin Fowler (10 pm)
Saturday, August 29 – Josh Abbott Band (10 pm)
The Pickin' for Preemies fundraiser originally scheduled for Sunday, August 30, has been canceled.