Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bennigan's Closing?

Say it ain't so!

It may come as a shock to you that I drink beer.

I don't drink just any beer. Most of the beer many of you think of when you hear the word beer is barely beer at all.

I never much cared for beer until I spent time in Germany. I think it's because I was always fed the barely beer that is mass produced here.

In the neck of the woods where I live, it's hard to find a pub that serves good beer. Most of the time, you go out to eat and say, "What do you have on tap?" and the reply is, "Coors Light, Miller Light, and Michelob Ultra". Then, you say, "No, I was asking for a beer list." Then you see the deer in the headlights look as the last gleam of hope disappears from your beer aspirations for the evening.

I could always trust Bennigan's to have at least one and normally several good beer options. They always have Guiness on tap. They'll normally have Harp and Bass Ale as well. Sometimes they'll have Smithwicks (one of my favorite Irish brews).

Ok. Now, place your hat on your head backwards and read carefully. I suspect the government is responsible for the Bennigan's demise. I know in Texas and in some cities in Texas we have insane alcohol laws. In Irving, they have some kind of crazy thing about bars must make at least 50% of their money from food sales. Or maybe no more than 40% of their income through alcohol sales. I'm not really sure the verbiage, but it's something along those lines. It's nearly impossible to find a good bar in Irving. Not too long ago, Irving was the destination of Texas law enforcement for an experimental operation where they would arrest people at bars for drinking too much. Some kind of bastardization of the public intoxication laws. They'd stash undercover officers in bars and arrest people that had more drinks than what some law maker considered reasonable. This wasn't looked upon too favorably by the beer drinking public.

A few years ago, the government told bars and eateries that if they wanted to allow smoking they had to have a smoking section and have it ventilated properly. I don't know how many millions of dollars big chains may have spent to upgrade their establishments for meet these requirements. Then, in the last couple of years, cities around the state have started banning smoking in building all together (Dallas is one such place). So, now you just write off the money you already spent? I know people that smoke and they won't go to a bar where they can't. They'll travel to another city if necessary.

The government just spent millions, maybe billions bailing out the sub prime mortgage criminals. Give Bennigan's some help. Don't deny us our right to drink good beer!


  1. Hey, I live about a block from a Bennigan's in Irving, perhaps the one you mean, the one at 114 and Walnut Hill, at about the site where Tenaya's used to be. I never went to it, and actually I'm not sure I've been to a Bennigan's since the late 80s. They used to be one of the few places where you could get fresh Guinness and Pislner Urquell on tap. Steak & Ale also closed, but despite their name, they used to have a crappy beer selection. Last time I ate at one was a return trip from England in '85, at one along 635 in Mesquite. I remember their ale selection was basically "budmillercoors", with maybe Michelob among their premium selections.

    You're certainly right about the lack of good beer bars in Irving. I usually head to Dallas, to the Gingerman, Idle Rich, Trinity Hall or Old Monk, or sometimes up to the Saucer in Addison. The Press Box Grill downtown recently added about 50 taps, too.

  2. I work for a company that manages and tracks gift cards, and I've been following retailers filing for bankruptcy on savvywallet.com. Ponderosa and Bonanza are still accepting Metromedia gift cards. I'm not sure about franchise owned Bennigans's. My advice? Go spend your gift cards, we simply do not know how long they will be accepting them. Don't forget The Sharper Image incident: $25m in unused gift cards.

  3. Howdy Allen, thanks for the bar tips. I've been to the Saucer although I usually end up at the one in Fort Worth. I've never been to the others. I'll definitely have to check them out. Lonnegan's normally has a pretty good selection as well for those in the mid-cities area.

    I never thought about the gift card aspect Austin. That's some interesting stuff. I'd be pretty irritated if I had a Bennegan's gift card laying around and nowhere to use it.