The Deep Ellum mainstay bar July Alley has been around since long before many of its patrons were old enough to drink. But late last week, the State Comptroller of Public Accounts seized the property for failure to pay state taxes. When it will open again, nobody knows, including July Alley's owner, Frank Edwards.
"There was an audit that was performed of us that produced a very high amount of money that they said that I owed," says Edwards this afternoon. "I've been trying to figure out how to dispute that audit for some time now, and there doesn't seem to be a good way for me to go about doing it. I've been going back and forth with the state on this and finally, I guess they ran out of patience and decided to shut us down."
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Update: Just got word from Edwards who says "We worked out a settlement agreement with the state, and will be opening sometime later today" (Tuesday, May 10).
Despite not having the money that's owed to the state, Edwards hopes to have the bar up and running again soon, ideally by this Friday, May 13 -- a day he predicts will bring in a big sum of money to help repay the back taxes. But at this point, according to Edwards, it's all up in the air. "The person that I need to talk to with the state went on vacation the day after the shut down," he says in a frustrated tone.
In the meantime, July Alley's employees will be covering day shifts at the neighboring bar Reno's Chop Shop, which will open at noon during the week to accommodate its new temporary employees.
July Alley wasn't the only bar that suffered a similar fate. The windows of downtown's Ten Sports Bar & Grill has the same warning signs posted. However, another sign in their window says they'll be open again on Wednesday, May 11.