What You Need to Know If You Are Thinking of a Dram Shop Case Against Clutch Bar and Restaurant
My firm has handled more dram shop cases than any other in Texas. With 30 years of experience behind me, I have seen countless examples of bars that fail to follow alcohol service regulations and the tragic consequences that can result. This issue is more rampant that people realize, and one of my goals is to bring it to the public's attention. One way I do this is by reviewing Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission complaint records and posting about my findings. If you think you may have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim and want to know how to proceed, please call me at (855) 326-0000.
Clutch Bar and Restaurant is one of five different concepts under ownership of SoClutch Group. It currently has locations in Dallas, Houston, and Chicago. A cross between a gastropub and nightclub, it is marketed as a trendy, high-end establishment. However, beyond the attention it has received from local patrons, Clutch has also received a fair amount from the TABC for alleged liquor law violations. In the span of just two years, the two Texas locations have been under investigation a combined total of seven times.
One reason I pay such close attention to TABC investigations is because they are a good predictor of which bars might soon cause an accident. I know this firsthand, because the vast majority of bars I have sued for illegal alcohol service had already come under TABC scrutiny at one point or another before their actions led to a wrongful death or serious injury. When I see a bar with multiple complaints on file, I want to make people aware of the danger it poses.
Before moving on, I want to emphasize that an investigation does not mean that a bar did anything illegal. If an investigation finds an establishment is not in violation of TABC code, it doesn't mean that the alleged violation didn't take place. It is often considerably difficult in these cases for authorities to obtain the evidence necessary for a conviction. What follows is simply a discussion of the complaints on file against Clutch Bar and Restaurant.
TABC Investigations of Clutch Bar and Restaurant Between 2017 and 2019
Dallas - 2520 Cedar Springs Road
On 07/18/2017, an unnamed source filed a complaint against this location. It alleged that a staff member was intoxicated and that a breach of the peace (likely a fight) occurred.
During the ensuing inquiry, authorities found sufficient evidence to cite the bar for having an employee drinking on the job. Even though investigators found proof of wrongdoing, they handed no punishment down. After dismissing the matter, TABC closed the case on 08/29/2017.
The following complaint was another a two-in-one. A citizen complaint filed on 11/05/2018 alleged claimed that the bar sold alcohol to a minor as well as to an inebriated customer.
The TABC took a look at the claims, but lacking sufficient evidence to prove a violation had occurred, it dropped the matter on 12/30/2018.
Houston - 5334 Washington Avenue
The first complaint against this establishment came on 02/01/2017, with a law enforcement agent alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a patron who was already over the limit.
TABC investigated and quickly turned up evidence to substantiate the claim. Though the bar received a citation, it appears that it paid no penalty. Investigators then closed the case on 02/12/2017.
On 07/12/2018, a concerned citizen claimed that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated patron.
On this occasion, TABC did not have as much luck finding proof of a criminal or administrative violation, and soon ended efforts without further action on 08/01/2018.
A member of the Houston community filed the next complaint with TBAC on 10/04/2018, claiming that the bar not only sold alcohol to a drunk patron, but that one of the staff was also intoxicated.
In the investigation that followed, TABC found no corroborating evidence. Unable to take further action, TABC decided to close this case on 12/29/2018.
A few months later, on 03/15/2019, TABC received another citizen complaint that alleged a drunk received alcohol at this location.
Considering how difficult it is to corroborate this kind of claim without video evidence, it isn't surprising that the investigating authorities had trouble finding sufficient evidence for a citation. After five weeks of investigation, TABC closed this concluded its efforts on 04/23/2019.
On 09/09/2019, an unnamed individual lodged a complaint with TABC, accusing this bar yet again of selling alcohol to patron who was already drunk.
Once more, the authorities could not find any proof that would hold up in court, so they dropped the matter on 10/13/2019 and took no further action.
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.