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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 May ’20.

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, as Reddit user BadLemur once pointed out, 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.

For two-thirds of the month of May, Dallas bars were under the same coronavirus-related stay-shuttered orders that they were back in April when establishments across the city combined to report a mere $3.9 million in alcohol sales.

With Texas Gov. Greg Abbott finally walking those orders back some on May 22, allowing for bars to open at 25 percent indoor and full outdoor capacity, sales were expected to trend at least somewhat back toward the norm — and they did, but only slightly.

Throughout May 2020, bars, clubs, restaurants, venues, hotels and convention centers within Dallas city limits combined to report just over $17.9 million in alcohol sales. That figure is less than a quarter of what these same establishments reported during the same May stretch in 2019 ($80,705,759).

Still, even that minor return toward regularity didn’t come without some major headaches. Across late May into June, Dallas’ bar world has been something of a shit show. Various bars and restaurants around town have been forced to close after employees tested positive for COVID-19 –and, frankly, those are just ones we know about, as many more spots around town are rumored to have had employees tested positive and not announced it to their patrons.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped the Open Texas set from pushing for more deregulation, which they even got for a a while. On June 12, Abbott OK’d bars boosting their open capacities back up to 50 percent as his statewide reopening plans entered Phase 3.

By June 26, though, with cases spiking across Texas, Abbott ordered all bars across the state close again — perhaps due to the fact that TABC had been shutting down spots all across the state for blatantly violating his capacity orders, including at least four area spots (some of which, it should be said, believe they were targeted for raids because of their Black ownership).

Yes, it’s all quite a mess, and things don’t seem to be slowing in this regard any time soon. Bar owners and workers across the city have rallied this week in East Texas and in Austin in hopes of getting legislators to open bars back up, or to at least not strictly single them out as the sole offenders. A class action lawsuit here in Dallas, meanwhile, finds the owners of popular Dallas bars The Whippersnapper, High Fives and Tiny Victories — plus the owners of the big-earning Bottled Blonde, STIRR, Vidorra, Clutch and others, reportedly — suing Abbott for their unfair treatment of their industry.

Will they have any luck? What will next month’s sales look like?

Tough to say. All we know is you should still be wearing a mask, staying the fuck home whenever possible and washing your damn hands constantly.

Oh, wait: We also know the city’s top 20 alcohol-selling establishments over May, too. As with April, there’s a distinct margarita-to-go flavor to some of these — but with more of an outdoor patio base than before, which isn’t that surprising at all.

Really, the big shocker is the seller at the top of the list — a spot that always performs pretty well, but usually doesn’t even rack up these kind of numbers under the best of circumstances.

Dallas Establishments With Top Gross Alcohol Sales For May 2020:

  1. BOMBSHELLS: $517,178
  2. NICK & SAM’S STEAK & FISH HOUSE: $313,725
  3. SIDECAR SOCIAL: $302,101
  4. DFB CAPITAL LLC (Katy Trail Ice House): $278,447
  5. THE RUSTIC: $243,555
  6. BIERNAT’S RESTAURANT: $221,847
  7. OJOS LOCOS SPORTS CANTINA: $183,909
  8. MESERO – VICTORY PARK: $170,252
  9. VIRGIN HOTELS DALLAS: $169,719
  10. HILLSTONE: $162,103
  11. HG SPLY CO: $159,536
  12. BOMBONES: $155,193
  13. GLORIA’S RESTURANT #4 (Belt Line location): $152,724
  14. MESERO MEXICAN MENU: $150,310
  15. CHELSEA CORNER: $148,601
  16. MESERO: $146,587
  17. MI COCINA-WEST VILLAGE: $140,885
  18. (CHRP, LLC) DRAKE’S DALLAS: $139,475
  19. DEL FRISCO’S DOUBLE EAGLE STEAK HOUSE: $137,514
  20. BETO & SON MEXICAN MEXICAN RESTAURANT: $135,097

Total alcohol sales in Dallas in May 2020: $17,931,276
April 2020 total: $3,911,650

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