Bars Investigated by the TABC

The Thirsty Texan Investigated by TABC

By: Mike Grossman, Texas Injury Attorney

Considering A Dram Shop Case Against The Thirsty Texan? Here's What You Need To Know

I've been suing irresponsible bars for over-serving alcohol for 30 years. My experience handling hundreds of cases has repeatedly shown me just how many bars fail to follow alcohol service regulations, as well as the tragedies that all too often result. While people might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, they don't tend to hear about the role that reckless bars play in those accidents. In order to call more attention to this issue, I dedicate a portion of my time to reviewing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint records and reporting my findings here on my website. If you think you may have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim and have questions about how to proceed, don't hesitate to call me at (855) 326-0000.

The Thirsty Texan is a bar and grill located in Houston, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2018 and 2019 alone, authorities conducted no fewer than seven investigations into the bar's alcohol service practices.

In my experience, it is uncommon for a bar without a history of run-ins with the TABC to end up on the hook for contributing to a wrongful death or injury. Virtually every bar I have ever sued was already on the authorities' radar. That's why I pay close attention to bars with several recent complaints against them. The more investigations a bar has had, the greater my concern is that it could one day cause an accident.

Note: Investigations are not proof of wrongdoing. However, if authorities investigate and fail to find evidence, it doesn't necessarily mean an establishment is innocent, either. The purpose of this article is simply to relay publicly-available information about incidents where the TABC has investigated The Thirsty Texan for possible criminal or administrative violations.

TABC Investigations of The Thirsty Texan Between 2018 and 2019

Houston - 21135 Hwy 249


On 01/30/2018, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.

Authorities looked into the matter shortly thereafter. For most liquor law violations, the TABC requires either video footage of the incident or eyewitness testimony from one of its agents in order to take action. Having neither in this investigation, authorities decided to close the case on 02/22/2018.

A member of the Houston community reached out to the TABC on 04/16/2018, claiming that staff was drinking on the job. This type of allegation is more serious than it might appear on the surface. Staff has a legal obligation to stop serving alcohol to patrons who exhibit signs of being dangerously intoxicated. If staff is drinking, its ability to judge when to cut off service is impaired.

As mentioned in the previous investigation summary, the TABC relies heavily on video footage to back up most claims of wrongdoing. Since authorities had no such evidence in this investigation, they could not take any action, leading to their decision to close the case on 06/08/2018.

The TABC received a citizen complaint on 07/12/2018, accusing the bar of selling alcohol to an intoxicated person.

Upon investigation, authorities were able to confirm the allegation, which they classified as an administrative violation. After deciding not to hand down any punishment, the TABC closed the case without further action on 10/16/2018.

The next citizen complaint came on 07/13/2018, alleging once again that the bar sold alcohol to a customer who was already over the limit.

TABC agents conducted an inquiry, but due to a lack of video evidence, they could not determine the veracity of the claim. As a result, investigators could not take any further action, leading to their decision to close the case on 07/21/2018.

A citizen complaint, filed on 01/07/2019, brought the TABC back to investigate an allegation that the bar sold alcohol to a drunk customer and that staff was drinking on the job.

After over two months of investigation, authorities still had not managed to uncover any hard evidence of a criminal or administrative violation. Left with no other course of action available, the TABC closed the case on 03/23/2019.

On 06/17/2019, a citizen complaint alleged that the bar allowed staff to sell drugs on the premises, sold alcohol to an intoxicated person, and that staff was drinking on the job.

Authorities followed up with an investigation, but they were ultimately unable to produce any proof of wrongdoing. Unable to take any further action, the TABC concluded its work on the case on 10/29/2019.

Yet another citizen complaint reached the TABC on 11/21/2019, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.

The ensuing investigation was not able to turn up any evidence to support the claim. Consequently, on 02/11/2020, the TABC brought its work on the case to a close.

Texas Law Says Accident Victims Can Sue Bad Bars

If you would like to learn more about Texas dram shop law (i.e. lawsuits against bars who play a role in injurious or fatal accidents), please visit our Texas Dram Shop Law Info Page.

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