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Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Bernie's Beach House? Here's What You Need To Know

Over the last 30 years, I've worked to hold reckless bars accountable for over-serving alcohol. My experience handling hundreds of cases has opened my eyes to just how many bars consistently fail to follow alcohol service regulations. 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 irresponsible bars play in those accidents. Since most people don't do what I do for a living, I make an effort to share my insights in hopes of calling more attention to this issue. One way I do this is by periodically reviewing Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission 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, please call me at (855) 326-0000.

Bernie's Beach House is a bar located in Port Aransas, Texas. Positioned a short walk from the water, it is a popular nightlife destination for tourists and locals alike. Recently though, it has also received a number of visits from the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2015 and 2019, authorities conducted six investigations into alcohol service practices at Bernie's Beach House.

In my experience, it's 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 contribute to an accident.

Note: Investigations are not proof of wrongdoing. However, if authorities investigate and fail to find evidence of a violation, 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 Bernie's Beach House for possible criminal or administrative violations.

TABC Investigations of Bernie's Beach House Between 2015 and 2019


Port Aransas - 730 Trout Street Suite A and B

Allegations:

On 12/02/2015, the TABC received a complaint from law enforcement that alleged a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred.

Upon investigating the claim, authorities were able to find sufficient evidence to issue a citation for an administrative violation. After handing down an unspecified penalty, the TABC closed the case on 01/30/2016.

The next complaint came from a concerned citizen on 03/01/2016, charging the bar with selling alcohol to an intoxicated person.

Authorities followed up soon after with an investigation. 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. In this particular instance, authorities had neither. As a result, the case came to a close on 04/28/2016.

Law enforcement contacted the TABC once again on 08/03/2016, alleging that another breach of the peace took place.

TABC agents looked into the matter, but failed to find sufficient evidence to take any action. As a result, they decided to shut the case on 08/26/2016.

Yet another law enforcement complaint came on 05/08/2018, claiming that the bar sold alcohol to both a drunk person and a minor, and allowed the minor to possess or consume alcohol.

As mentioned previously, the TABC relies heavily on video footage to corroborate most claims of wrongdoing. As they had no such evidence in this case, they decided to wrap up the investigation on 07/07/2018.

A member of the Port Aransas community filed a complaint on 02/09/2019, alleging the the bar sold alcohol to an underage patron.

The TABC launched an inquiry into allegation and was able to locate corroborating evidence. After citing the bar for both a criminal as well as administrative violation, authorities closed the case without handing down any punishment.

A law enforcement complaint, filed on 07/10/2019, accused the bar of selling alcohol to a patron who was already intoxicated.

The ensuing investigation was not capable of determining the veracity of the claim and authorities could thus take no action. Consequently, the TABC closed the case on 08/03/2019.

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.