Over the weekend, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission slapped the perpetually packed Houston outpost of Handlebar with a 30-day liquor license suspension after the bar failed to comply with reduced capacity mandates.
Handlebar is one of a dozen bars across the state, including Barge 25 in Seabrook and Austin’s Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Icehouse, targeted by the TABC’s undercover Operation Safe Open investigation. According to a press release from the TABC, all of these establishments failed to comply with Gov. Greg Abbott’s requirement that bars reduce their capacity to 50 percent of normal occupancy. If these bars violate the rules again, they face a 60-day liquor license suspension.
From the beginning of Abbott’s order limiting bar occupancy, establishments have been blatantly flouting the rules. When bars were allowed to reopen on May 26, partiers packed into Houston pool bar Cle, and video from the weekend went viral on Twitter. Later, Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo set up a form for locals to report businesses who were failing to comply with reduced capacity orders during phase one.
The suspension of Handlebar’s liquor license comes just a few weeks after the reopened on May 28.