La Carafe Having Trouble Spilling Over into the Lot Next Door

Owner Carolyn Wenglar reports she is having a few problems getting a permit for the planned expansion of La Carafe across from Market Square Downtown. Wenglar recently purchased the adjacent vacant lot on the corner of Travis and Congress, and had plans to turn it into a beer and wine garden for long-storied bar she’s owned for more than 20 years. John Nova Lomax reports:

. . . she has been told that patrons would not be allowed to carry drinks from the bar to the tables on the lot. Wenglar told Hair Balls that the narrow space between the two properties is a city-owned alley, and to cross that alley with booze in hand would . . . be in violation of Texas liquor laws, and thus have held up her permit.

The La Carafe building, which began its life in 1847 as a bakery — and at one point served as a Pony Express station — is just 15 ft. wide. The alley runs along its east side.

Photo: Flickr user Richart

14 Comment

  • Couldn’t she purchase the small strip?

  • She needs to get the City to vacate the right-of-way (assuming there are no utilities in place and no one needs it for access she should be ok). Since she owns the property on both sides of it, the City could sell it to her without objections. Only problem for her is it will likely get appraised for market value and not be cheap.

  • She should have checked the survey – the city doesn’t always approve the alleyway abandonment.

  • Gotta love Texas liquor laws. The Washington Spec’s can’t open because it’s within 1000 feet (though not within sight) of a school, but the Smith Street Spec’s was Romper Room the last time I was there with numerous children in carts and two little darlings running up the gin aisle.

  • Well they are probably a bit young to fully appreciate the intricacies of Scotch, and clearly shouldn’t be in the humidor.

  • The kids at Spec’s are with their parents, presumably. School kids often are not unless their parents walk or drive them to school. I suspect that distinction was important to the framers of that law. Having said that, I am perfectly willing to agree that most of Texas’ liquor laws are outmoded or never made sense. What can/should be done about it is another question.

  • Understood. However, if I had a child walking to school (up Washington alone, no less) I’d be a little more concerned about Bubba’s where alcohol is consumed on the premises starting at 11 AM than a packaged liquor store, but hey, that’s just me.

  • when will they start taking credit cards???

  • Perhaps some old school, prohibition-era tunneling is in order. Assuming there’s no utilities in the way…

  • It would be easier to put a walkway over.

  • Back in the day we had some good times in that alley.

  • You had some good times in that particular alley? Do tell!

  • Great. So instead of letting the patrons enjoy a nice patio next door that is currently not in use, the city apparently prefers the current arrangemnet in which the drinkers (and especially the smokers) are forced to congregate on the sidewalk in front of the building and block pedestrian access.

  • A simple solution would be to set up a seperate bar in the beer garden with its own permit.
    @ biggerintexas:
    If drinkers are on the sidewalk, then they’re violating the law. If smokers are within 25 feet of the entrance to the building, then they’re violating the law, too.