Washington Ave Spec’s: Too Close for Southern Comfort

WASHINGTON AVE SPEC’S: TOO CLOSE FOR SOUTHERN COMFORT The Harris County Attorney’s office filed suit last week, demanding the Spec’s Beer and Wine store at 6100 Washington Ave. — near the Westcott roundabout — be shut down. The new store is within 1000 ft. of a school. How’d it get there? “In December 2007 [Spec’s owner John Rydman] sent a letter explaining his intent to the school — Memorial Elementary — and put in an application with the city. To his surprise, the city said yes. He said he assumed that since the proposed store was a couple of blocks away, across a major intersection and not even visible from school property, the city had granted him an exception to the rule. He said he double-checked to make sure there were no problems and was assured that neither the city nor the school district opposed the prospective store. About $400,000 later, and on the hook for a lease totaling $2.4 million more, Rydman now finds himself at odds with the state, which wants to yank his license. The law is the law, says the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and since a formal variance was not given by the city, Spec’s is violating it.” [Houston Chronicle]

14 Comment

  • That is seriously a bunch of f*cking bullsh*t.

    I had no idea the city/state just hands out Liquor licenses and then investigates them after the owner’s have poured all their money into the establishment.

    My simple logic would have thought that this investigation would have been done prior to awarding the license.

  • John is a fairly savvy guy, and usually does not miss stuff like this. Most likely he should be allowed to retroactively file for a variance. It sounds like the city screwed up on this one. Thank you planning department…

  • I hope they manage to sort this out and keep the stores open. However I’m a little surprised that someone with that much experience in the liquor store business wouldn’t know that the variance is an official document and wouldn’t make damn sure they had a copy filed away before signing a lease that big.

  • Having said that I’m more than willing to believe that the City made a complete balls up of it.

  • This store is physically two stores with separate addresses – a small liquor store and a large beer and wine store. This setup allows the beer and wine store to be open on Sunday.
    A few months ago, Specs bought out a liquor store a mile south at Memorial and Westcott. All Specs needs to do is close the liquor store and expanded the beer and wine store. (I am assuming beer and wine can be sold near the school since a C store, which is closer to the school then Specs, sells beer and wine). The yuppies can go a mile south for their scotch.

  • It could well be the second store that has caused the confusion. What this also exposes is the sheer lunacy (imho) of some of our other liquor related laws in Texas. Why can’t I buy liquor on Sundays and why can’t I get a beer before noon?

  • This is just another example of the city screwing up. Yes, Rydman should after all of the stores he’s opened up, know the process pretty well, but the city gave him his blessing. It sounds like the makings for a lawsuit against the city.

  • Kids need alcohol too!! =P

    JK… relax people.

  • I suspect Specs has a legitimate counter-suit on their hands which would end up costing way too many people way too much money in the end. They’ll reach a permitting agreement which will most likely involve a variance and some small fee paid to the city. Its a vicious cycle: write new regulation in pencil–>give City money–>erase regulation–>write new regulation in pencil and so on. As long as money keeps coming in, repeat as necessary.

  • this store doesn’t sell liquor. only beer wine food.

  • So a Spec’s can’t be within 1000 feet of a school, yet people can bring their children INTO any Spec’s in the city, to say nothing of every pub I frequent? I think Spec’s employees are savvy enough to not sell to someone 3 feet tall who can’t produce an over-21 driver’s license.

  • I can see where this makes sense about places serving by the drink, but a retail store doesn’t make much sense. It is illegal to drink from the bottle on the liquor store property anyway, so the whole point is to carry it away, but I guess they lumpsummed retail stores and by the drink establishments all into one law.

  • The 1000 foot rule is going to become more of a problem as our density increases. I’m glad to hear that they are adding more groceries, a service that is greatly needed in the area. My guess is that a stand alone small grocery would not be very profitable but a combo grocery/wine/liquor would work.

  • I might be way off, but, I have a chair/recliner/rocker and swivel chair from the 70’s. I love it. Southern Comfort of Miss.,Inc is all the infor I have on it. It is still in good condition but I want a new cover, slip cover