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Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Backyard Bar Stage and Grill? Here's What You Need To Know

My firm has handled more liquor liability (dram shop) cases than anyone else in Texas. With over 30 years of practice behind me, I can attest to just how many bars regularly fail to adhere to alcohol service laws, particularly when it comes to their obligation to refuse service to patrons who are already drunk. While the public might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, it is much less common for it to hear about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. In order to increase people's awareness of this problem, I dedicate a portion of my time to researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint database 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, please call me at (855) 326-0000.

Located in downtown Waco, Backyard Bar Stage and Grill is a exactly what you would imagine from its name. In addition to a full bar and restaurant, it boasts a large outdoor performance stage, fountain, rooftop deck, and fire pits, in addition to games like corn hole and pool in its outdoor recreation area. While it has become a popular place for locals to gather for a good time, it has had its share of run-ins with the TABC along the way. Between 2015 and 2019, authorities investigated Backyard Bar Stage and Grill no less than five times for allegations of liquor law violations.

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 Backyard Bar Stage and Grill for possible criminal or administrative violations.

TABC Investigations of Backyard Bar Stage and Grill Between 2015 and 2019


Waco - 511 South 8th Street Including 517

Allegations:

On 10/12/2015, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with TABC alleging three violations: permitting a minor to possess or consume alcohol, selling alcohol to a minor, and selling alcohol to an intoxicated patron.

TABC agents followed up with an investigation of the charges, but after nearly two months of inquiry, they failed to find any evidence of wrongdoing. On 12/10/2015, authorities ended their work on this case and took no further action.

A second citizen complaint, dated 03/14/2016, claimed that staff sold alcohol to an underage patron.

The ensuing investigation failed to uncover proof of an administrative or criminal violation. It is important to note that, for most liquor law violations, TABC needs either video evidence or eyewitness testimony from one of its agents in order to take legal action. Having neither in this particular instance, TABC decided to shut the case on 05/11/2016.

On 10/03/2017, TABC received a third complaint from a member of the Waco community who alleged that the bar sold alcohol to a minor.

An inquiry into the matter did not turn up sufficient proof of wrongdoing for authorities to issue a citation. As a result, on 11/29/2017, the case concluded without further action.

A further citizen complaint on 03/28/2018 claimed that the bar both served alcohol to a minor as well as to an intoxicated person.

Authorities looked into the allegations, but due to a lack of video evidence, they were not able to determine their veracity. Consequently, they decided to end the investigation on 05/31/2018.

On 07/16/2019, a citizen complaint charged the the bar with committing three violations: making alcohol available to a minor, permitting a minor to possess or consume alcohol, and selling alcohol to a drunk person.

Like in all the other investigations on this list, authorities were not able to locate sufficient evidence to corroborate the claims. Left without any other option, they closed this case on 01/17/2020.

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.