City of Houston

Houston to boost enforcement at after-hours establishments due to recent shootings

It requires BYOB establishments to follow a number of measures and the city said it is now checking to see if those businesses are in compliance. 


Houston Police Department
Houston Police responded to multiple shootings over the June 10, 2023 weekend.

In the wake of a number of violent incidents over the weekend, the city is looking at additional measures and possible lawsuits against establishments where violent crime is taking place.

A shooting outside the Tabu Restaurant and Lounge on Richmond Avenue early Sunday left six people injured, and came three weeks after the city passed a Bring Your Own Beverage ordinance, cracking down on after-hours bars and clubs that are not certified by the TABC to obtain a permit. It requires BYOB establishments to follow a number of measures and the city said it is now checking to see if those businesses are in compliance.

"We’re taking a look at all of these businesses, especially those after-hours businesses, to make sure whether or not they have the occupancy license, and all of the things that they need to operate," said Mayor Sylvester Turner. "Their doors may be open, and people may be coming in, but they should not be open – they’re operating in violation of our laws – so we intend to crack down on those businesses."

A report from HPD in April showed between November 1, 2022 – April 18, 2023, there were 9 murders, 32 robberies, and 103 aggravated assaults at bars and nightclubs. Of those incidents, there were four murders, 13 robberies, and 36 assaults that occurred after 2 a.m.

Turner said it's time for businesses to start taking responsibility for the actions that's leading up to people getting shot and even killed.

District C Council Member Abbie Kamin said the Standard Bar, which used to be located on Washington Ave. but has since relocated to Fourth Ward, is an example of a business she said is operating illegally.

"They have had so many violations that the city, through the administrative process we created, pulled their sound permits and everything else that they could, [but] they continue to operate illegally even though some of their permits have been pulled," she said. "HPD has been out there and I think they’ve had upwards of 40 citations, and they’re still operating without that valid approval by the city."

Houston Public Media reached out to The Standard Bar for comment, but did not hear back from them.

Mayor Turner said the city is possibly looking to file Chapter 125 lawsuits against those businesses with recurring incidents and do not have the proper certifications or licenses to operate.

"There are certain types of crimes, such as violence firearms, that if you have that habitually happening, it allows the city to sue, not only the tenant but also the property owner, and we’ve done this successfully in the past," said City Attorney Arturo Michele. "It also allows the city to reach a settlement where they agree to take certain steps, that would not otherwise have the leverage to provide, but we can because of the violations that we can uncover and the liability they may have."

The city filed a lawsuit against Spivey's Bar and Lounge in February 2022 for recurring aggravated assaults and shootings and failing to take responsibility for the incidents.

District J Council Member Edward Pollard suggested that the city implement a different measure of enforcement.

"What I’ve seen that could be something that we need to consider as we look at enforcement, is going after the property owners as well," he said. "I know chapter 125 is a process and you have to gather the evidence and go to court...we’ve seen that when we do that, and we do it on a daily basis, it starts to hit those landlords so hard, that they start to pay more attention to the tenant."

Mayor Turner is also considering an ordinance that "may" require businesses that "primarily" sell alcohol to use metal detector wands to reduce the number of guns being brought into bars and clubs.

"Alcohol and guns do not mix – they simply do not mix," said Turner. "We shouldn’t have to wait until something horrendous [happens] because potentially what happened on the weekend could have been even more horrendous than it was."

Ashley Brown

Ashley Brown


Ashley Brown is a news reporter at Houston Public Media, News 88.7. She covers a range of topics, primarily focusing on Houston City Hall. Before moving back to Houston in 2022, she worked at WHQR Public Radio in Wilmington, NC where she covered city and county government, homelessness and community...

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