On Sunday evening the building was dark, and all the doors were locked, even though their website lists the space as open on Sundays. At times over the past week, Andy's Google listing has shown "temporarily closed," and other times not. However, bands did play at the main venue on Saturday night and others are scheduled this weekend. It's clearly in flux.
This all comes after a dispute between employees and ownership over the past few weeks. The bars' ownership group includes Radical Hospitality Group, which owns a handful of other venues and restaurants in Denton, including LSA, Barley & Board, Earl's Pizza and Bumbershoot BBQ in Argyle. Midlake band members also have a stake in the ownership of Paschall Bar.
Earlier in June, employees at the venue met with three of nine partners with an ownership stake, two of whom are involved with Radical Hospitality. The employees asked for higher wages and security. According to an employee who spoke on condition they remain anonymous, they asked for wages of $10 to $13 per hour for various positions, including host, bar back, bartender and shift lead positions, in addition to a tip-splitting standard. The employees also asked for periodic evaluations with pay adjustments based on tenure and performance.
Additionally, employees requested security staff on high-volume nights, Friday and Saturday, to handle difficult and unsafe situations. The anonymous source says such situations have included violence, hate speech and other unsafe circumstances.
We reached out to Andy's management several times for comment about the negotiations and status of the bars but did not hear back. We also reached out to Midlake and did not hear back.
The employee said that at the end of the meeting earlier in June, the owners said they would review the requests. Several of the employees then quit the week of June 5. About five stayed on, the anonymous source told the Observer, but those remaining did not hear from ownership until June 14 when they were informed that the basement and Paschall Bar would be closed until new staff was hired and security issues were addressed.
@__Madi_ tweeted on June 15 that she was "laid off without notice today from a job I loved." While she was part of the group asking for higher wages, she stayed on despite that request not being fulfilled, then was laid off anyway.
The tweet from @__Madi_ included a screenshot of a chat explaining that the basement will close until they decide on a concept and "Paschall will close for the time being until new staff and a general manager is hired."
A note over the screenshot says that 11 staff members requested higher wages and a bouncer for the basement bar two weeks ago. The owners denied their request. Several employees who decided to stay on were later let go. Management then apparently shut down the basement bar and Paschall's.
The latest TABSReport, which uses Texas State Comptroller data to report liquor sales across the state, states that in April 2023 (the latest month available) Andy's Bar and Grill cleared $93,825 in liquor sales alone. In January, February and March, liquor sales were between $82,000 and $85,000 each month.
This is so disheartening but I got laid off without notice today from a job I loved. The remaining employees had a meeting with ownership to discuss wages and a bouncer for the basement as well instead of just up at Paschall. pic.twitter.com/pv2Ozgthrg— Mads🐘 (@__Madi_) June 15, 2023
According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a living wage in Texas for a single person living alone is $16.79 an hour.
For now, there's no indication of shows being canceled at Andy's, as new shows are continually announced on Facebook.