Big Trouble in Little West Side – The Rail Club Live Protests Governor Abbott’s Bar Closures


Doors opened to a statement being made by Rail Club Live owner Chris Polone on the safety measures expected to be followed by everyone, including social distancing, sanitation, face coverings, letting only forty people in, etc. He graciously thanked everyone for their participation in the protest and showing support for the club.

The Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission showed up within thirty minutes of doors opening only to see that no alcohol was being served and in fact absolutely zero currency was being exchanged because this was a completely dry and free event. Polone was pulled outside by the two TABC officers to discuss the evenings function. They stated that even though no alcohol or transactions happened, the club was in violation of the order due to the certificate of occupancy being registered as a bar and they had thirty minutes to shutdown and clear everyone out or have their liquor license revoked. Polone replied with a “we will continue our protest in defiance of an unconstitutional order.” The main officer stated that they would be back in thirty minutes to make sure we shutdown. No one from the city came by the rest of the evening.


Polone promptly came inside and took the stage after Blackout finished their current song. He filled the crowd in on the events that had transpired outside with the officers and proceeded to rip the papers in several pieces and ordered the night to continue as planned.

How are you going to pick and choose whose kids get to eat at night by who serves a burger over a beer? Everyone socially distanced outside of their parties and used sanitizer excessively (unlike the Boomer Jacks we attended after where people were seated elbow to elbow at the bar and standing all over the place within six feet of each other) the entire time the doors were open. I just do not comprehend it, Mr. Abbott. How is that acceptable, but a place that makes the majority of its money on alcohol is not? Okay, back to the “Tea Party,” after the speech by Polone, Blackout finished the rest of their set and the night winded down. Multiple news agencies showed up as well as some local filmmakers and photographers to cover the protest – which being a peaceful protest they are constitutionally allowed to congregate, right? I would consider the night a success for Chris Polone, The Rail Club Live staff, and bar owners everywhere.

– Brently Kirksey

Featured photo of Blackout by Lewis Leveridge.

Let your legislators know you support independent live music venues through the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA). NIVA’s mission is to preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent live music venues and promoters throughout the United States. Learn more at this link

The Rail Club Live owner Chris Polone. Photo by Brently Kirksey.
Chris Polone addresses fans entering the venue. Photo by Brently Kirksey.
Chris Polone talks with TABC. Photo by Brently Kirksey.
Chris Polone addresses fans during Blackout’s set. Photo by Brently Kirksey.
The Rail Club Live post on Facebook concerning their preparation for the protest.
The Rail Club Live post on Facebook concerning the evenings goal.


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