Considering A Dram Shop Lawsuit Against Dave & Buster's? We Have Some Important Information for You
Our firm has sued more alcohol providers for negligent over-service than anyone else in Texas, so our knowledge about the full extent of this problem is much more extensive than the average person's. Because the first step in combating a problem is knowing how serious it actually is, I do my best to increase the public's knowledge by looking through the TABC's records of complaints and publishing what I find. If you believe you may have a dram shop case, please call me at (855) 326-0000.
Dave & Buster's is a popular dining and entertainment venue founded by by David Corriveau and James "Buster" Corley. With its first location established in Dallas in 1982, every subsequent Dave & Buster's location has included a full restaurant and a large video arcade. As of July 2018, the company has 117 locations in the United States and Canada, with plans to expand further in the near future. According to recent estimates the chain's estimated gross income hovers around $250 million.
Alas, the chain's operations aren't all fun and games. Any place that serves alcohol risks occasionally running afoul of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). Since the start of 2017, the TABC has been called to Dave & Buster's locations in the Lone Star State four times.
Note: Investigations are not guarantees of guilt. The fact that a complaint was filed is not necessarily an indication that Dave & Buster's actually violated the law with irresponsible alcohol service. However, even if sufficient evidence of a violation is not found, that doesn't necessarily mean the restaurant is innocent--only that the misdeed couldn't be proven. In order to make any allegations stick, investigators have to find irrefutable evidence that the company violated Texas dram shop law. Due to the nature of these offenses, this proof can be difficult to find. All we're doing here is relaying publicly-available information about incidents where the TABC has investigated Dave & Buster's based on complaints about potential criminal or administrative violations.
Dave & Buster's Locations That Have Been Investigated by the TABC Since 2017
Houston - 704 Baybrook Mall
3/29/2017: According to the TABC complaint record, a citizen called the agency to allege that this Dave & Buster's location was in possession of "un-invoiced alcoholic beverages."
It's a little surprising to see that the complaint originated with a citizen when it relates to the back-room operations and invoicing at the bar. Of course, a "citizen" doesn't have to be a bar patron munching on hot wings; the complaint could have come from someone involved in the alcohol's supply chain. The report doesn't give much information about who specifically called in the complaint.
Whoever it might have been alleging that the bar was selling alcohol it hadn't obtained through the proper channels, TABC officers didn't find sufficient evidence of illicit practice to take any further action beyond the initial investigation. The complaint was closed without disposition just a few days later (perhaps Dave & Buster's was able to furnish proof that the alcohol was obtained properly) without disposition on 4/05/2017.
Houston - 7620 Katy Freeway #100
3/07/2017: A member of the Houston community contacted the TABC to allege that this restaurant was refilling empty liquor bottles.
Refilling is a prohibited practice regardless of the proposed reason for doing so. Section 28.08 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code specifically states:
No holder of a mixed beverage permit may refill with any substance a container which contained distilled spirits on which the tax prescribed in Section 201.03 of this code has been paid.
If the allegations were confirmed the bar would likely have faced a fine for its misbehavior. However, investigators do not appear to have found sufficient evidence to support the citizen's refilling allegation, and the case was closed without disposition on 4/20/2017.
Frisco - 2601 Preston Road Suite 1200
4/03/2014: The TABC was alerted by a source they marked as "Other" that the Frisco location of Dave & Buster's served or sold alcohol to a minor.
The TABC investigated the complaint for about a month but was apparently unable to find enough evidence to make the complaint's allegations stick. The complaint was closed without any further criminal or administrative action on 2/04/2018.
El Paso - 6101 W Gateway Boulevard Suite 2006
8/02/2018: A law enforcement agency notified the TABC that a breach of the peace occurred at this Dave & Buster's location. Unfortunately the report does not specify what manner of breach occurred.
Whatever may have brought the police to the restaurant at the time, the TABC's followup on their provided information resulted in a written warning being issued to Dave & Buster's for failing to report the breach in an appropriate amount of time. The complaint was closed after the warning was issued on 8/05/2018.