County Attorney Vince Ryan Wins Two Court Orders In Crackdown on Unlicensed After Hours Bars

Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has obtained two court orders against three unlicensed, after-hours bars.  The Envy Lounge and Climax Lounge, in southwest Houston, and the Palacios After-Hours bar, in north Houston, have all closed since the lawsuits were filed.

Judge Larry Weiman of the 80th District Court signed a temporary restraining order against the owners of Palacios After-Hours bar at 414 North Sam Houston Parkway East, ordering them to cease selling or serving alcohol at the bar or any other location without a valid liquor license. The owners are also ordered to cease allowing patrons to consume alcohol after 2 a.m., which is illegal in Texas.  The bar advertised on social media that it is “Houston’s Premiere After-Hours Nightclub,” open from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. 

According to the lawsuit, on July 7, 2017, undercover vice officers with the Houston Police Department entered the club and purchased two tequila shots and Amaretto from two bartenders, even though the club had no license.  The bartenders were arrested for selling liquor without a license.  Since the County’s lawsuit was filed, the Palacios club has closed.

In another case, Judge Dan Hinde of the 269th District Court signed an injunction order against the real property owners of the Envy Lounge at 6821 South Gessner and the Climax Lounge at 9357 Richmond, both unlicensed after hours bars.  The lawsuit states Envy Lounge is well-known to law enforcement as a site of criminal activity, including violent assaults.   During an investigation in May 2017, undercover vice officers entered the club and were served drinks by bartenders.  When they alerted their arrest team to enter, the bartenders left their stations and attempted to blend with the crowd while employees began to whistle as if to signal that police had entered.  However, three bartenders were arrested and charged with selling liquor without a license and during prohibited hours.

At the same time that Envy was being closed, that venue’s Facebook page began advertising the grand opening of a new after-hours bar called “Climax After Hours” on Richmond.  It was not licensed by the state to sell alcohol either.

The order prohibits the property owners from leasing space for a bar to anyone who does not have a valid liquor license or to anyone who is operating an after-hours bar.  As a result of the County’s lawsuit, the Envy Lounge and Climax Lounge are closed. 

In the past two months, 10 unlicensed after-hours bar locations throughout Harris County have been closed because of lawsuits filed by the Harris County Attorney’s Office.

“After-hours bars are a threat to our community, often breeding violent assaults, shootings and drunk driving,” said County Attorney Ryan.  “Young people who frequent these clubs are unwittingly placing themselves in dangerous situations.  My office will continue to work with law enforcement to shut down these nuisances.” 

Click here to read the Palacios After-Hours lawsuit and here to read the temporary restraining order.  Click here to read the Envy Lounge lawsuit and here to read the temporary injunction.