San Antonio bars reinvent themselves with plans to reopen

TABC is adjusting requirements to help business owners, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has been making changes to the requirements necessary to receive a Food and Beverage Certificate to help more bar owners meet those requirements.

San Antonio – The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has been making changes to the requirements necessary to receive a Food and Beverage Certificate to help more bar owners meet those requirements.

Bar owners like Tony Keogh, of Main Street Bar, is adapting to keep their businesses alive.

“I can’t just sit back and watch my business fail,” Keogh said.

The bar has been closed for 66 days since Governor Greg Abbott ordered the statewide shutdown in late June.

The latest TABC amendment eliminates the need for the business to have a commercial kitchen. Additionally, the amendment also allows the sale of prepackaged food or the use of a food truck on the bar property to help account for the food sales.

Bar/restaurants must have at least 51% of their sales come from food or other merchandise other than alcohol, according to TABC’s requirements.

Keogh says it changes the whole business model and makes it very challenging for owners to stay afloat.

“We are a bar with a food component,” Keogh said. “So, we do have food capability, but it’s limited. So, whether you’re able to do that, to the extent that we are required to as a restaurant would be a pretty big challenge.”

Keogh has written a letter to local leaders, state leaders and even President Donald Trump in the hopes of getting someone to help bar owners. But, he has yet to hear from anyone.

The certificate from TABC to be able to reopen will cost about $800, money Keogh says he really cannot afford.

“Which stings a little bit, especially when you haven’t had revenue for a while,” Keogh said. “But, again, it’s that or sit back and do nothing and maybe lose it all.”

The City of San Antonio has set up a special compliance team that does random drop-ins on bar restaurants and other businesses on the weekend. This weekend 23 citations were issued to 12 restaurants and 5 restaurant bars not in compliance with the state and county emergency orders.

Related: Emergency TABC amendment relaxes requirements for Texas bars to reopen as restaurants


About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.