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Spire nightclub owner speaks out about recent TABC suspension

Spire nightclub owner speaks out about recent TABC suspension

Houston, The Spire, Jan 2017, cocktail waitresses
Spire will be back. Photo by Mike Victorick

Zach Truesdell doesn’t want a fight. The owner of Spire tells CultureMap he isn’t some rule breaker looking for a showdown with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission or Gov. Greg Abbott.

Truesdell says that he and his partners have accepted TABC’s decision to suspend the club’s liquor license.

“We want to make it clear we’re not here to fight the system,” he says he told the commission. “If you tell us we cannot be open, we will not be open until you say we can be.”

The decision came Monday, July 6, one week after videos posted from the club caused an outcry on social media from people who assumed the venue was operating in violation of Abbott’s order that closed bars statewide. However, as CultureMap has previously reported, although Spire operates as a nightclub, it is legally permitted as a reception hall, meaning it wasn’t subject to the order.

Truesdell says TABC agents had been at Spire the same night. They documented the steps the club took to enforce social distancing and allowed it to keep operating.

“They positioned themselves for about 15 minutes taking all kinds of videos. Basically, either waiting for us not to do the right thing or to have the evidence to shut us down or have the evidence to show why they didn’t write us a ticket or shut us down,” he says. “It was the latter. They said to us you’re doing a good job of what you’re doing.”

Still, Spire will comply with the suspension and remain closed. While Truesdell says it will reopen, he’s worried about smaller bars that might not survive the second shutdown. He thinks they’re owed some sort of assistance or guidance to help them cover expenses like rent.

“A lot of people who own bars, they’re not going to be able to make it through a second mandatory closure,” he says. “I wish there was some answer to how we help bars get through this besides ‘you’re closed until we decide you’re not.’”