Coronavirus News

TABC suspends 1 Fort Worth bar for not following safe COVID-19 policies

TABC suspends 1 Fort Worth bar for not following safe COVID-19 policy

Sorrel Urban Bistro dining room crowd
Crowds like this are no longer allowed. Courtesy photo

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has suspended a dozen bars across Texas, part of an initiative to make sure bars are observing best practices to curb coronavirus.

That includes one bar in Fort Worth and two bars in Dallas.

The program is called Operation Safe Open and is an effort by TABC agents to ensure that businesses across Texas are following protocols to slow the spread of COVID-19. Those include capacity limits of 50 percent indoors for bars and 75 percent for restaurants, along with social distancing of at least 6 feet between groups of customers.

TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles says in a release that they're going with zero tolerance.

"Protecting the health and safety of Texans during this pandemic is our top priority," Nettles says. "We warned businesses TABC will have no tolerance for breaking the rules, and now, some bars are paying the price. I hope other establishments will learn from these suspensions."

Business are handed a 30-day suspension of their permit to serve alcohol.

Fort Worth bar the New PR's, aka PR's Saloon, a bar in the Stockyards, was cited for exceeding the occupancy limit of 50 percent inside on June 20.

In a statement, PR's denied going over the occupancy limit and said they had raised $7,000 for Fort Worth officer Matthew Brazeal, who was catastrophically injured on duty.

Two Dallas bars were cited:

  • Harris House of Heroes, the McKinney Avenue bar owned by former New Orleans Saints player De'Vante Harris
  • Marty's Live, a gay bar on Maple Avenue

Harris House of Heroes was already shut down in May by Dallas Code Enforcement for exceeding crowd limits.

TABC's roundup also included one bar in Houston, three bars in Austin, as well as bars in Lubbock, El Paso, and Seabrook, as follows:

Austin: UnBARlievable (West 6th), Buford's Backyard Beer Garden, Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot Icehouse

Houston: Handlebar Houston

El Paso: Coconuts, Werk Bar

Lubbock: Little Woodrow's

McAllen: Elevate Night Club

Seabrook: BARge 25

TABC says that it is strictly monitoring bar and restaurant activity and will pursue emergency license suspensions if it finds violations.

The first infraction results in up to a 30-day license suspension. The second will result in up to a 60-day suspension.

They began enforcement on June 19, when they inspected more than 200 establishments. In the past month, agents have inspected more than 3,000 locations across the state.