After videos of massive crowds inside Houston nightclubs Spire and Cle went viral over the weekend, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has yet again suspended the liquor licenses of the two repeat offenders.
The agency announced the emergency suspensions in a press release on Tuesday afternoon, noting that Cle will lose its license for 60 days, and Spire will lose its ability to legally serve alcohol for 90 days. Even though both spots are obviously nightclubs, Spire and Cle have operated under a loophole in Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order that allows them to open as “reception halls” because the bulk of their revenue allegedly comes from ticket sales and not alcoholic beverages.
As the agency’s release notes, both Cle and Spire have already had their liquor licenses suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic — once for Cle, and twice for Spire. Cle Group, the hospitality group behind the clubs, can appeal the decision in front of a state administrative judge, but will not be able to sell alcohol unless a judge rules in their favor.
A third Houston bar, Grooves at 2300 Pierce Street, also lost its liquor license for 30 days after an unspecified violation on January 16.
Over the weekend, Houston mayor Sylvester Turner called on TABC to close the loopholes that allow spots like Cle and Spire to operate, and criticized rapper Bow Wow, who was at Cle on Saturday night to celebrate a friend’s birthday. In October, Turner added Spire to the city’s “Wall of Shame,” intended to call out establishments that were worsening the COVID-19 pandemic by not enforcing the rules.
Bow Wow, born Shad Miller, ultimately tweeted an apology to Turner on Tuesday morning.