Harris County cracks down on unlicensed, after-hours bars

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Three bars that Harris Co. prosecutors say were operating after hours without proper licensing have shut down in the face of legal action.

The Envy Lounge and Climax Lounge in southwest Houston and Palacios After-Hours in north Houston were all the subject of court orders obtained by Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan in recent weeks.

A lawsuit filed by Harris County alleges that two undercover officers went into Palacios on July 7 and were able to purchase alcoholic beverages from two different bartenders even though the club did not have an after-hours license. Those bartenders were arrested for selling liquor without a license.

Another lawsuit claims undercover officers were served after-hours at Envy. When the officers called for backup to arrest the bartenders, the lawsuit alleges the bartenders dispersed into the crowd of partiers in an attempt to hide from law enforcement. Three bartenders were arrested and charged.

At the time of the sting at Envy, its Facebook page began promoting Climax as a new after-hours bar. Legal action from Harris County now prohibits the owners of the property on which Envy sits from leasing to any bars that are not properly licensed.

Envy, Climax and Palacios are the latest of 10 bars to shut down around Harris County this summer as a result of legal action related to after-hours licensing issues.

"After-hours bars are a threat to our community, often breeding violent assaults, shootings and drunk driving," County Attorney Ryan said. "Young people who frequent these clubs are unwittingly placing themselves in dangerous situations. My office will continue to work with law enforcement to shut down these nuisances."

Under Texas law, it is illegal for venues to sell alcohol or permit patrons to consume alcohol after 2 a.m.

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