Bar Owners Protest Being Forced to Go Broke


SAN ANGELO, TX — The protest to keep bars in San Angelo open attracted a small gathering of about a dozen in front of a favorite downtown coffee shop at noon on Saturday.

Holding signs asking Texas Governor Abbott, “What do we do now” and “Do you think we are rich?” those gathered were owners, managers and workers at bars. The protest was organized by Stango’s Coffee Shop proprietor Steve Stango less than 24 hours earlier when Abbott ordered all bars, defined as venues that generate less than 51 percent of revenues on beer and mixed drink sales, close at noon Friday.

This is the second time this year bars have been ordered closed.

John Karcher, known affectionately as “‘Lil Dog” to bar patrons of his business, The Dead Horse Bar and Live Music Venue, said he was at a loss for words as to what to do next. He said he took advantage of the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP loan, but that money is now used up. The last time bars were ordered closed, March 20, led to a 45-day closure before a very limited re-opening in early May.

1933 Whiskey Bar owner Garrett Engle said the re-opening wasn’t as good for him or for his patrons, as most are in an older demographic who are at a heightened state of alarm over COVID-19. Toni Hunter from the House of FiFi DuBois considered the idea of going back to the venue’s original purpose — an antique furniture store.

“We haven’t sold antique furniture for over 12 years,” she said. She said she will probably take a pass on that idea. FiFi’s found success as a bar and will always be one, Hunter said.

Some bar owners said they thought of opening in the face of whatever suspension the TABC slaps on them as a last ditch option. One bar owner said their venue remained open Friday night and no one bothered them. They may do it again.

Universally, bar owners grimace at how restaurants with bars get a free pass when venues that are strictly bars are forced to close and go broke. During the first closure in March and April, once restaurants re-opened their dine-in areas, some restaurants took on the appearance of being a bar. A common example given was Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. Another is a new business that opened amid the COVID-19 restrictions. It is a bar and restaurant called Sports Next Level, 2838 College Hills Drive. It never had food or alcohol sales receipts prior to the COVID-19 response because it wasn’t open yet. Now it is open and, from all appearances, the new business is weathering the shutdown/slowdown with stride.

“If you walk in there, you see all of Blaine’s regulars sitting there and drinking,” someone said. That someone didn’t want to be identified, fearing reprisals. Blaine’s Pub is a popular downtown San Angelo bar that has been forced to close again. Blaine’s is not a restaurant.

Stango said he was pleased with the turnout for his protest he announced at the last minute.

“I hope we get the point across that these are businesses that have real people working for them and all of them need to be opened,” he said.

Stango said that if his coffee shop was ordered closed again that he will definitely not follow the order. “Lock me up. Put me in jail,” he said. His reasoning is because he believes the first shutdown at the end of March was not necessary to fight COVID-19.

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LMAO...... A dozen whiners (I mean protestors).... Wow, that woke the community up I bet...... If it's a must that you have it, buy your beer at Walmart and drink it at home where you're supposed to have your butts planted anyhow you pathetic whining cry babies.....

Who are you "Dr. Ding-bat" to tell the rest of us how to live. What gives you the right? Do us a favor and continue to cower in your basement, in front of your keyboard, and allow the rest of us to get on with our lives. Dupe!

I agree. And about the jobs, there are plenty of places hiring at the moment. So no, people wouldn’t be out of jobs.

Don't complain if you were part of San Angelo who didn't wear masks in the first place. Because if you didn't, then you are part of your own problem. The "Karens" of San Angelo wanted their nails & hair Abbott caved in...blame them.

is another group of people who have to go on unemployment.

how long can such a thing be sustained?

Serfs, just shut up and do what your told. I never thought the governor would do this again.
Hey maybe they can stop a flu virus from spreading like all the others in the last 100 years. Oh wait, that never happened.
Cry havoc and let slip the lawsuits of Justice.

Joker, Sat, 06/27/2020 - 21:16

I agree that they are cry babies. They made plenty money before this covid-19. Thats why they should of saved money like every other person did in other industries. These bar owners are not special and should be closed down. The bars are filthy places. If I see a bar open I will call to report them.

It surprises me to find myself on the side of these protesters. Singling out bars but still allowing restaurants and other establishments that have close personal contact like salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors, and even churches proves it’s just an arbitrary display intended to make it look like he’s taking action in the face of an absolute disaster. It’s a purely political move that exclusively sacrifices bar owners and their significant investments, which includes the thousands of dollars they’ve already paid to the state, county, and city for their liquor licenses.

Jeff L, Sun, 06/28/2020 - 06:21

they hold is ironically false. " we were responsible" : funny most of your patrons aren't
"you're tearing families apart" : funny that's exactly what alcohol addiction does
" you're ruining us" : funny that's also what alcohol addiction does.

At least for a week or two we will have less drunks leaving bars and running people and park cars over....

... your comment actually made alot of sense. Most of the comments you made earlier I didn't agree with but I agree with you on this particular one. I don't think it could have been said any better! I give you credit for this comment... and you are correct about alcoholism, it is a major problem here in West Texas as well all over America!

Jeff L, Mon, 06/29/2020 - 07:05

I'm fairly unpredictable. I prefer to be that way. One thing I cannot stand is alcohol. It destroys lives. There is no way around that fact and bars honestly should be closed permanently. Find another way to make money and hopefully you can do something more CONSTRUCTIVE instead.

We see folks protesting because they’re out of jobs and losing money. Now maybe that side of the politics can empathize with Black Lives Matter, because BLM is protesting even more than jobs and cash, they are being slaughtered and killed. Now maybe there can be some talk between the sides and feel some type of brotherhood between all races. We are all God’s children. Looks like they were outside, so no masks. Just a note, we ate at Stangos the other day. Great pizza and service. I’m glad they wear masks inside though :) Makes us feel like they respect our health by not spreading germs. This is a really bad time for lots of people. Minorities are being affected by the virus disproportionately, and loss of jobs because many are service industry. Now even established businesses owners are also being affected. We aren’t promised tomorrow so make the most of today. Share love, not hate. We are all people. Remember that. Let’s not demonize the other side. Let’s listen with open ears. You aren’t in their shoes. They aren’t in yours. God love you. God hears your cries and he cares for even the smallest of your needs. He knows what you need before you ask. Trust in the lord with all your heart.

We see sea folks protesting because they’re out of victims and losing ancient tomes. Now maybe that side of the politics can empathize with the Esoteric Order of Dagon, because George Soros' cultists are protesting even more than fishing boats and the federal government, they are marching to a future of glorious communism. Now maybe there can be some talk between the sides and feel some type of brotherhood between all races of man and fish and lizard. We are all the Great Old One's children, evolved from the fauna of their sleeping bodies. Looks like their servants were outside of this dimension, so they fell into madness. Just a note, we ate at Stangos the other day. Daemoniac, blasphemous pizza and service. I’m glad they wear human masks inside though :) Makes us feel like they respect our mental health by not spreading unspeakable eldritch horrors. This is a really bad time for lots of sea people. Shoggoths are being affected by the dropoing Antarctic temperatures disproportionately, and loss of direction from the Old Ones because many are service industry. Now even established cultist infiltrators are also being affected. We aren’t promised tomorrow so make the most of today. Share sheer terror caused by total loss of identity due to encountering the unknown, not hate. We are all sea people. Remember that. Let’s not infantilize the other side. Let’s listen with attentive transducers. You aren’t moving with their appendages. They aren’t moving with yours - unless they remove your brain and replace it with their own. The Outer Gods and Great Old Ones are indifferent to you. They neither hear your pleas nor care whether you exist. Your terror and stark panic mean nothing to them. You may only hope that the latter will destroy you last.

Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! Ph'nglui mglw'nfah Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

Folks, for the love of free speech, be sure to check out the masterful works of author H.P. Lovecraft before they get chuted down the Leftist memory hole in the name of hate speech laws and erasing the homophobisexiracism of the past!

Protect your right to speak frankly or flourishingly about what you wish!

We live in a society that has, for centuries, sought to incrementally become more and more just, and virtuous, and free. But we have not always moved unfalteringly in that direction.

Today in America, our lower classes are ignorant, the middle full of anger, and the upper consumed by greed. We are due for a collective reckoning which, after a point, we may not be able to stop no matter how badly we try.

It moves slowly, and with terrible momentum, towards us all.

YoBoe, Sun, 06/28/2020 - 19:51

If we were truly concerned about public safety then Walmart, HEB, Home Depot and other large occupancy businesses would be closed. I do my best to avoid Wally World, too many I D 10 T’s for my taste, but I need insulin and at $24.98 a bottle it is only smart to go there (CVS charges over $100 for the same thing). Last time I was there, most of the pharmacy staff was wearing their masks improperly, the clerk was pulling their mask down in order to speak to each customer (and did not stay behind the barrier).

If we must shut businesses down, let’s do it right, we’re can the most people be infected? Blaine’s or the big box store? (I have never been to Blaine’s, but I know it is popular).

What would you do if you owned a business and were forced to shut down and you had to lay-off your staff who was depending on that paycheck? Closing bars does not make any sense.

Jeff L, Mon, 06/29/2020 - 07:09

He also said that you shouldn't drink to get drunk. Esp on a daily basis. Bars are the devil and we all know it. Drunks and addicts are only in denial.

The ''Devil'' has no interest in bars. He's perfectly content getting smashed in the comfort of his own throne, reading Necronomicon or admiring his prized H.R. Giger collection.

...a friend told me, anyway.

Most bars in San Angelo don't play this stuff either:

Walmart, HEB, Home Depot, Lowes and etc sell necessities essential to survival. I cannot think of a single necessity that is sold in bars., nope not one, zero survival sustaining necessities.

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