Pedestrians cross the street near bars on East Sixth Street in May.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe said he’s not going to allow bars to reopen at 50% capacity Wednesday, citing a memo from the county's top doctor saying COVID-19 "continues to be a threat."

A bar on Sixth Street in Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A group representing bar and nightclub owners is angry over Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to allow bars to reopen because Abbott left the decision to county judges in each of the state’s 254 counties.  

Bartenders Miles Mayfield and Glen Kurth at Dive Bar & Lounge in May.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission passed rules Tuesday aimed at making it easier for bars to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hole in the Wall had reopened at 50% capacity but was forced to shut down again after Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order June 26 requiring bars in the state to close.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Travis Tober was finally finding a rhythm. 

When people entered his East Austin bar, Nickel City, they were greeted by an employee who laid out all the ground rules: No mask, no entry. Tables would be 6 feet apart. No loitering at the bar top. A waiter or waitress would take their orders. 

Workers board up bars on Sixth Street in Austin after Gov. Greg Abbott closed bars in Texas for the second time in three months because of the COVID-19 pandemic on June 26.
Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune

Several Texas bars and owners filed a $10 million federal lawsuit Tuesday afternoon against Gov. Greg Abbott, in an attempt to void his executive order shutting down bars for a second time since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

More Than 30 Texas Bars Sue Over Gov. Greg Abbott's Recent Shutdown Order

Jun 29, 2020
An employee boards up a bar on Sixth Street in Austin after Gov. Greg Abbott closed bars in Texas for the second time in three months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune

Hoping to block Gov. Greg Abbott’s Friday decision ordering Texas bars to close due to a rise in coronavirus cases, more than 30 bar owners filed a lawsuit Monday challenging Abbott’s emergency order.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Summertime means more Texans are expected to be out and gathering in public places. But that's a problem during a pandemic when the only way to keep the coronavirus from spreading is by maintaining social distance.

Dive Bar and Lounge
Michael Minasi / KUT

Texas bars can reopen at 25% capacity today – just in time for Memorial Day weekend. Even with the limited number of customers, it’s a good opportunity to make back some of the money these businesses have lost after months of closures. 

But while many bars are eager to reopen, some aren't quite ready yet.

Nickel City Co-owner Travis Tober and Manager Amanda Carto go over delivery orders.
Michael Minasi / KUT

To say businesses in Austin are getting hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic is putting it lightly. The City of Austin on Tuesday ordered all bars and restaurants to close their dining rooms, restricting businesses to takeout and delivery-orders only.

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks to media at a press conference regarding COVID on Feb. 27.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order that temporarily closes schools, bars and gyms – and limits restaurant service to takeout and delivery orders only amid COVID-19 concerns. The order, which goes into effect at 11:59 Friday night and lasts until April 3, also limits gatherings to 10 people.

Could Liability Insurance for Bars Curb Drunk Driving?

Mar 17, 2015
Photo courtesy kevharb

This legislative session, Arlington Rep. Chris Turner pre-filed a bill that would hold bars responsible for the behavior of over-served customers, requiring all bars in the state carry minimum liability insurance.

While Turner’s bill may seem onerous to some bar owners, he argues his proposal to require bars to have insure bars would insulate owners from lawsuits and, ultimately, curb drunk driving.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Austin police have released a list of the top 20 bars its DWI arrestees had their last drinks at before getting pulled over.

Here’s the list in question. The following are the top 20 bars associated with DWI arrests, from January through the end of October:

Austin's has another big event this weekend. The seventh annual Fun Fun Fun Fest is taking place all weekend long at Auditorium Shores. The eclectic three-day festival promises underground music from all genres, along with comedy, extreme sports, food, fashion, and art.

Stay tuned to KUT News for updates from the festival, and maybe even a Ryan Gosling sighting or two. Until then, here's a preview of some of the events taking place at Fun Fun Fun Fest, along with fest-related aftershows. 


Night: For the hip-hop lovers, rap legends Run DMC and Bun B will take the stage. Hipsters will rejoice to the sounds of Santigold and Twin Sister. If that's not enough, a series of skateboard and BMX sessions are kicking off, and will run all weekend.  Each day of the festival also promises two hours of Anarchy Championship Wrestling.

Talk about a bum steer: A Houston court has tossed a lawsuit against an Austin bar – and its mechanical bull.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Rebels Honky Tonk in downtown Austin prevailed in court case brought by a customer, Revel Thom, who was tossed from the bar’s mechanical bull in 2010, fracturing his vertebrae:

Although Thom suffered back pain four to five years before he rode the bull, he said nothing about his condition to the operator, according to the appellate court ruling. He rode the bull until he was thrown off, resulting in the fracture of the T-12 and L-1 vertebrae, court documents state.

Photo courtesy of Zirzamin's Facebook page:

In case you were wondering what Momo’s owner Paul Oveisi had been up to since the venue closed in late December, he’s been busy creating an Austin-themed venue in Manhattan.

Zirzamin, which is Farsi for “underground,” is located in a cellar bar in Greenwich Village and has a small menu that includes breakfast tacos (2 for $6), “Austin-style” chile con queso ($5), brisket tacos (2 for $6) and Lone Star beer.

“Ultimately, there will be music every night of the week. We'll certainly bring in some Austin acts but it's gonna be an eclectic mix of world music, funky ensembles, and surprise guests,” Oveisi told the New York City/Austin music blog IndieSounds. “It won't be predictable but it will be good.”