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A Look At How Coronavirus Shutdowns And Re-Openings Affected Booze Sales At Dallas’ Bars, Clubs, Restaurants, Venues And Hotels In August 2020.

Welcome to Bar Raised, our recurring column that proves that Texans like to spend copious amounts of their income participating in the Great American Pastime. We know this because the Texas Comptroller keeps tabs on that sort of thing and makes all that info public record. Any establishment in the state that holds a Mixed Beverage license must report all sales revenue generated from the sale of liquor, beer and wine at their establishments on a monthly basis. The comptroller, in turn, puts all that info into a conveniently navigable database. And then we break down Dallas’ numbers for you here.

More than half a year into the coronavirus pandemic, it’s still clear as day: Government-mandated shutdowns have wreaked complete and utter havoc on the bar industry.

For the sixth straight month, alcohol sales throughout August at Dallas bars, clubs, venues, restaurants, hotels and convention centers remain just a shadow of their pre-pandemic self. The $31.3 million in alcohol sales that these establishments within city limits collectively reported in August 2020 is less than half of the $73 million this set set submitted in their August 2019 reports.

While slightly improved from July’s $28.4 million count, August’s figures could soon give way to a greater September bounce-back. Even though Texas Gov. Greg Abbott maintained in mid-September that all bars that don’t serve food must remain closed — this while upping the indoor capacities of restaurants to 75 percent of their usual figures — the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has cleared the way for many watering holes to return to operations this month.

Thanks to the loophole we reported on in early August that allows bars to reapplying for new permits if they could show that 51 percent of their total sales come from food purchases — even those procured from on-site food truck operations — a number of bars in the city are finding ways to get back into the game. At the East Dallas beer destination Strangeways, this means adding tamales to their offerings. At Deep Ellum hotspot Bottled Blonde, it means… business as usual and getting away with it?

Is all this very confusing? Yes, and in a comprehensive interview with Eater, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins even concedes as much while expressing sympathy for his friends in the bar industry.

Even so, the fighters in the scene are soldiering on, be it through finding ways to open new spots (as Double Wide owner Kim Finch recently did with her new Thunderbird Station concept in Deep Ellum) or hanging on against all odds (as appears to be the case at Deep Ellum’s BrainDead Brewing).

Hey, if there’s one thing history’s taught us, it’s that people are gonna find ways to drink no matter what. And, maybe sooner or later here in Dallas, we can all finally raise a Yuengling in honor of that? The Dallas Morning News says the legendary Pennsylvania beer might soon be headed this way, so maybe!

Anyway, here’s hoping September’s numbers indeed mark the beginning of a turnaround for the industry. In the meantime, take a gander at August’s numbers below.

Dallas Establishments With Top Gross Alcohol Sales For July 2020:

  1. VIRGIN HOTELS DALLAS: $820,182
  2. DD BEVCO, LLC (AT&T Discovery District): $518,105
  3. BOMBSHELLS: $481,332
  4. NICK & SAM’S STEAK & FISH HOUSE: $443,694
  5. OJOS LOCOS SPORTS CANTINA: $437,864
  6. MOXIE’S GRILL & BAR: $396,386
  7. SIDECAR SOCIAL: $351,568
  8. BUCK’S CABARET: $325,846
  9. THE RUSTIC: $320,970
  10. JAVIER’S RESTAURANT: $302,371
  11. TMC BEVERAGES OF DALLAS, INC. (The Men’s Club of Dallas): $269,077
  12. HG SPLY CO: $260,291
  13. BIERNAT’S RESTAURANT: $260,086
  14. SALC, INC. (Hilton Anatole): $259,300
  15. HILLSTONE: $257,592
  16. TOPGOLF USA: $253,600
  17. (CHRP, LLC) DRAKE’S DALLAS: $235,319
  18. THE HENRY: $233,607
  19. SOCIAL (W Hotel): $230,160
  20. HOSPITALITY INTERNATIONAL INC (The Ritz-Carlton): $227,412

Total alcohol sales in Dallas in August 2020: $31,287,451
July 2020 total: $28,446,081

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