2 Houston-area bars defy closure order and have licenses suspended
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has suspended the liquor licenses of seven bars across the state for operating despite Gov. Greg Abbott's order that closed bars statewide on Friday. That includes two in the Houston area.
Prospect Park, a sports bar west of the Galleria, and Bokeeters Cocktail Bar in New Caney have both had their licenses suspended for 30 days, effectively immediately. The enforcement action also includes establishments in Austin, Fredericksburg, Abilene, Longview, and Willis Point.
Prospect Park also suffered the indignity of being one of three businesses named to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's Wall of Shame, along with downtown nightclub Spire and Midtown sports bar Pour Behavior. The bar's second location in the Willowbrook area is not affected by the suspension.
TABC reports that it inspected approximately 1,500 businesses from June 26 - 28 and found only 59 operating in violation. Of those, 52 agreed to cease operations immediately; the seven that refused had their licenses suspended. The actions are part of the agency's Operation Safe Open, which ensures bars and restaurants are complying with regulations designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
"We know this is an extremely difficult time for our state's bar owners and we sympathize with all of the owners, operators, and employees who are hurting during this pandemic," TABC executive director Bentley Nettles said in a statement. "It's the duty of all Texans to do what's necessary to prevent the spread of this disease. Taking these steps now will help ensure a quicker re-opening once this pandemic has passed."
TABC had previously suspended the liquor licenses of 17 bars statewide as part of Operation Safe Open.