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The Restaurant Has a Bar, Can I Carry? Texas

Spring Break is here, and everyone is thawing out after a long winter. Watch Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker instruct you on the law before walking into a restaurant or bar with your firearm. 

It’s a situation you may have found yourself in before. You go to dinner out at a restaurant and have a couple of beers. You’re carrying your pistol like always. Are you committing a crime? Or you walk into what you think is a restaurant only to see a 51% looking back at you. In either instance, are you allowed to have your gun?

Happy Hour

If you have a drink or two, are you allowed to carry your firearm? If you’re a license holder, Texas Penal Code Section 46.035 states that you violate the law if you carry a handgun while intoxicated.

Texas Penal Code section 49.01 defines intoxicated as not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body. Or having an alcohol concentration of point zero eight or more in your blood.

The point at which you lose the normal use of your mental or physical faculties varies from person to person.

This doesn’t mean it’s absolutely illegal to have a beer while you’re carrying your handgun but if you become intoxicated you’re breaking the law

51% Sign

Under Texas law you cannot carry a firearm into a bar.

You’ll know it’s a bar because bars are required by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to post 51% signs indicating that the establishment derives more than 51% of its revenue through the sale of alcohol for on-site consumption.

A 51% sign will feature a 51% in large red numbers notifying you that carrying a handgun on the premises is a felony of the third degree.

This means that carrying into a 51% establishment could land you between 2 and 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

What about the bar area of restaurants?

If it is a true restaurant, and they don’t derive 51% or more of their sales from the sale of alcohol for on-site consumption, you can carry anywhere inside of that restaurant–even the bar area. Basically, the whole building is either 51% or it isn’t.

Comment section

21 comments on “The Restaurant Has a Bar, Can I Carry? Texas

    What is there is a 51% shown but you are a guest of owner and not drinking or there to drink.

    Many restaurates have biger income from wine beer and champaine that from the food and are not concidered bars

    What about liquor stores?

    Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth (a concert hall owned by Performing Arts Fort Worth) has posted 51% signs at the doors and is performing a cursory security search (“Please open your coat, sir.”) of people entering the building for concerts, plays, etc. Their justification for this is that another company–Arts Amenities, Inc.–leases the premises to provide food and beverage service (including beer, wine, mixed drinks) before shows and during intermissions. According to the Bass Hall website, “The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) makes a determination every two years (upon renewal) as to which signs are required to be posted and Bass Performance Hall is required to adhere to their determination. The TABC’s website shows that a “Red” sign is required at Bass Performance Hall. The “Red” sign is the 51% sign. ”

    When I go to TABC’s website, I get “no records found” when inquiring about Bass Performance Hall, Performing Arts Fort Worth, or Arts Amenities, Inc.

    Anybody have an opinion about what’s up here?

    Just checking on my OWN knowledge. Everything in the video is no doubt correct. However, if the RESTAURANT prohibits firearms … no firearms allowed under any condition ….. right???

      Bass Performance Hall is a perfect example of liberal anti gun administrators try to illegally circumvent state laws. Texas lawmakers passed legislation making it legal to carry in public buildings (other than the listed restrictions i.e., courts, polling places, etc.) Bass is a Public Building belonging to the city of Fort Worth. It is not a zoned bar! Yes they serve alcohol, but ask yourself this….. Do they derive 51% of their income from selling booze? Absolutely Not! That sign puts them at risk of being fined by the state! Again, as I stated before. Concealed Carry means flying under the radar. You don’t print, or expose your weapon and you don’t carry a flag saying “Molon Labe”. You also don’t get into a verbal fight with management, where they report you to Five Oh as being “Threatening”. Hope this helped

    Thanks for all you do for us with the videos. Please keep us on our toes.best money we could have spent have you walking the walk and talking the talk for us. Thanks

      Bass Hall is not owned by the City of Fort Worth. It is privately owned by Performing Arts Fort Worth, Inc., a non-profit corporation.

    Being both one of the first Texas CHL certified instructors and a former owner/manager of a restaurant I hope I can add clarity to this issue!
    In Texas, one main determination of the type of business one runs is zoning/licensing. Cities and municipalities have very strict requirements for licensing a business. Many neighborhoods would have no problem zoning a property as a restaurant that serves booze, but would never consent to that same property being solely a bar. The zoning and licensing difference is simple. If 51% of that establishments revenue is from booze it is a Not a restaurant it is a bar!
    But how is John Q Citizen going to be able to tell?
    Simple…. Zoning laws restrict the business’ signage from stating otherwise. If the word “Restaurant” is in the signage it CANNOT DERIVE 51% OF ITS INCOME FROM THE SALE OF ALCOHOL!
    The reason many restaurants deceivingly post the 51% sign is twofold. First simple esthetics. They do not like the states requirements for posting “No firearms allowed” on their front entrances. It’s much more esthetically acceptable to post the 51% sign in some corner of the bar. But the more subversive reason is that the establishment is anti Second Amendment and is to cowardly to admit this, so lies about its business, thus inferring that it is the state that is prohibiting your right to carry.
    My suggested solution? Simple!
    If their outside marquee sign says “Restaurant” and is principally known for serving grub and they have a 51% sign, they are in violation of zoning and licensing so ignore it and enjoy you meal. Remember, you are “Concealed Carrying”.
    If you get involved in a shooting, bring these facts up to your attorney.
    If you are open carrying you can bring up the licensing/zoning violations to the management, but you are still going to get tossed, because Texas allows a business to discriminate.
    On the other hand if you go to the “One Eyed Monster Bar” to eat their famous sausage special, just because they serve some food does not make them a restaurant and you ain’t supposed to be packin!
    Remember… 1 drink could classify you as impaired and even a righteous shooting will still cause a world of hurt for you! So if a beer has to be consumed with that braut, then leave the hogleg at home!

    I was curious about this . I patroned a restaurant a few weeks ago and the manager threatened to throw me out for merely asking this question. The establishment did Not have a 30.06 or 51% sign.

    Most popular restaurants such as Chuys, Olive Garden, Cheddars, etc. have bars but I don’t ever recall seeing a 51% sign anywhere. Are these 51% signs required to be posted near the front entrance door?

    I went to a Restaurant recently and noticed a 51% sign on the front door. The Restaurant had an outside area with a small stage. The establishment received revenue from Food, Alcohol, and (On Friday and Saturday night) a cover charge. I think it is highly unlikely that 51% of their revenue was alcohol sales. How do we report abuses of the 51% sign?

    I have NEVER seen a 51% sign at any establishment. Have you?

    Yes it is there usually behind the bar. If you don’t see it you are not at a bar or they are not following the rules for serving liquor.

    The Schlotzkey’s Deli at the 183 and Floral Park Dr. in Austin has a 51% sign in the window by the front door. I laughed when I saw it. They sell beer by the bottle (just got their license). There is zero chance they derive 51% of their revenue from alcohol.

    Are you breaking the law if you don’t go inside and are on the patio? Saying if you show up some were and people you are with go inside and you stay outside never going into the bar are you legally allowed to sit outside?

    Seriously?! Amy’s ice cream kills me with (no 51%) their 30.06 sign!

    I also saw a 51% sign in a local Schlotzsky which offers no alcohol on their menu. No way they make more than half their revenue on alcohol. I researched on the TABC website and they’re licensed for a “Blue Sign” (Handgun must be licensed), not a Red Sign (51%). Are they in violation of Texas Law by posting the 51% sign? Should a formal complaint be filed?

    I was told by an instructor that if the restaurant has a bar in it with a 51% sign behind the bar you could still set out in the restaurant and eat but just not at the bar. Is this true? I know the Chilis restaurant had the 51% sign up behind the bar.

    A friend of mine went into a small convience store here in Texas. They served beer, wine and a few bottles of the hard stuff. No signs on the door
    Other than ads for various kinds of liqueur sold here. I would measure the sales there at around 20 percent.
    Cops were called on my friend mainly because he continued to debate the signage or no signage. He was cuffed and eventually told he must leave and gave his firearm back to him without bullets of course. He had not drank anything. A simple discussion about signage resulted in cops being called and he was told not to come there again or he would be arrested for trespassing.
    Store owners can make their own laws, I guess. The whole thing blew over in just a few minutes.

    So … improper signage, …. where/how do we report it??

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