Downtown Austin dive bar Mugshots is now closed permanently. The 407 East Seventh Street bar’s official last day — though it was already temporarily closed since June — was on August 31.
“It is with a heavy heart to make this announcement,” reads the statement, “as we were forced to shut our doors permanently.” It continues: “We could go into reasons for our decision or cast blame, but that is not the Mugshots way.”
Many businesses — including bars and restaurants — have been struggling to stay open during this ongoing period of lack or diminished sales coupled with required bill payments (rent, utilities, taxes, payroll, etc.) during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Many bars, restaurants, and music venues in the downtown Austin area have already decided to close permanently for similar reasons, such as B.D. Riley’s, Daruma, The Townsend, Barracuda, Plush, and Scratchouse.
In mid-March, Mugshots temporarily closed along with other businesses due to city and state-wide orders to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. During that time, the bar had stayed active by hosting virtual happy hours. When bars were allowed to open up their doors again in late May, Mugshots decided to wait three weeks before reopening in mid-June. Then Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reordered the shuttering of bars (though restaurants could remain open) in response to the rapid surge of cases and hospitalizations throughout the state in late June.
While technically bars — businesses that make more than half of their sales through alcoholic purchases — are still required to remain closed, there’s a loophole provided by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Bars that expand or add food offerings through on-site kitchens, partnering with food trucks, or selling prepackaged foods and can prove or predict that they’ll make more food than alcohol sales can reapply for new permitting designating them as restaurants, thus allowing them to reopen for dine-in services.
Mugshots opened in December 2002 by Marcos Canchola, Brian Hyde, and Keith Young (who passed away in 2013). Canchola and Hyde also run North Austin bar the Hideout Pub, South Austin spot Bender Bar & Grill, East Austin bar Violet Crown Social Club, and Far North Austin bar the Pour House Pints & Pies (and its previous iteration Pour House Pub in Brentwood). The two are also involved with Cedar Valley brewery Hitmaker Brewing. Canchola also runs North Loop dive bar Barfly’s on his own.
- Mugshots [Facebook]