Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Bottled Blonde? Here's What You Need To Know
I've been holding bad bars accountable for over-serving their customers for 30 years. The hundreds of cases I've handled have shown me over and over just how rampant this practice is, not to mention the tragedies that it so often leaves in its wake. While the public might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, it doesn't tend to hear as much about the role irresponsible bars play in those accidents. In order to draw more attention to this issue, 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 might have a dram shop (liquor liability) case, don't hesitate to call me at (855) 326-0000.
Bottled Blonde is a small chain of restaurants owned by Evening Entertainment Group. Featuring locations in Scottsdale, Dallas, Chicago, and one set to open in Houston, the brand has managed to generate a strong following in its relatively short history thanks to the popularity of its concept: part pizzeria, part beer garden. In spite of its success, the chain has also had its share of run-ins with the authorities. The Chicago location has been hit the hardest, and as of 2019, it was fighting a court case against the city seeking to keep it closed indefinitely. While Bottled Blonde's Dallas location hasn't had nearly as many difficulties, TABC has investigated on multiple occasions in the recent past. Between 2017 and 2019, agents conducted no fewer than six inquiries into its 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 contribute to an accident.
Note: Investigations are not evidence that a bar has broken the law. Investigators must have sufficient proof that there was a violation of TABC regulations in order to take legal action. Owing to the nature of liquor law violations, that proof can often be difficult for authorities to obtain. The purpose of this article is simply to relay publicly-available information about incidents where the TABC has investigated Bottled Blonde for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Bottled Blonde Between 2017 and 2019
Dallas - 505 N Good Latimer Expressway
On 12/18/2017, an unnamed source filed a complaint with TABC alleging three violations: selling alcohol to a minor, selling alcohol to an intoxicated patron, and failing to report a breach of the peace (typically a fight).
Authorities looked into the matter, but after more than a month of investigation, they were unable to locate sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to back up the claims. For most liquor law violations, 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 particular instance, authorities closed the case on 01/31/2018.
Another unnamed source lodged a complaint on 03/21/2018, again claiming that the bar sold alcohol to a minor, a drunk customer, and failed to report a breach of the peace.
The subsequent investigation was no more successful at proving any of the alleged violations took place than the first one. As a result, TABC ended its work on the case on 05/31/2018.
A concerned citizen placed a complaint on 08/16/2018, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an inebriated person. TABC later followed up with an investigation.
The inquiry was not able to produce sufficient evidence that a violation had occurred for authorities to issue a citation. Consequently, authorities concluded their work on 10/09/2018 and closed the case without taking further action.
On 12/13/2018, a member of the Dallas community alleged in a complaint that staff was over-serving alcohol.
As in the previous cases, there was no video evidence to back up the claim. After nearly two months of work, authorities closed the case on 02/12/2019.
Law enforcement filed a complaint with TABC on 05/22/2019, alleging that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace.
This time, TABC was able to find sufficient evidence to prove an administrative violation took place, for which it issued a written warning. On 06/06/2019, authorities closed this case.
On 12/17/2019, a citizen complaint charged the bar with selling alcohol to an a patron who was already over the limit.
An inquiry followed, but authorities failed to find any evidence that would stand up in court. Unable to take any further action, TABC shut the case on 01/23/2020.
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.