SAN ANTONIO -- From naughty bingo to a bra dangling from a taxidermic deer on the wall, Lucy Cooper’s Ice House is known for pushing the boundaries. But when it comes to the law, things are different.
“TABC can come in and shut me down and pull my liquor license away," said Braunda Smith, owner of Lucy Cooper's Ice House. "And I don’t know about you, but as a bar owner, I want to be on the side of being more best friends with TABC than their enemy.”
While you can now go out to dinner and even order a drink at some restaurants, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has not reopened bars.
The Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance suggests bars have a "soft opening" for just employees to practice social distancing measures at work and boost moral.
But Smith would rather spend that money in a way that directly impacts her employees.
“I think instead of hiring a DJ or a band to come throw a party for our staff, I’d rather pay their electric bill, so I think that’s what we’ll do with that instead," Smith said.
But Smith and the TBNA are on the same page when it comes to reopening. Both want to be 100 percent open by June 1.
“At what point does it become discrimination where the guy across the street can reopen but we can’t?" Smith asked.
Even though Lucy Cooper’s makes about a third of its revenue from food sales, establishments that make at least 51 percent of sales from alcohol must follow state guidelines for bars.
“There really are a lot of blurred lines right now as to what’s fair and what’s not," Smith said. "What is actual discrimination to that sign, that 51 percent sign?”
As far as the other TBNA suggestions, Lucy Cooper’s already has tables located throughout the bar so social distancing is built in. Smith doesn’t plan to use disposable cups and plates and is still on the fence about whether to require her employees to wear masks.
“Anybody that’s handled raw chicken will tell you, you know, this is a false sense of security," Smith said.
She wouldn’t say when, but if she can’t reopen in the coming months, Smith is willing to risk making TABC mad and even getting arrested to make a statement.