As a society, I hope we’ve advanced enough to accept God’s truth: Breastaurants are pretty fun. The music’s great, the wings are good, and the neon orange shorts are cute! I’ll say it! I’m not alone in this thesis—Hooters has been thriving throughout the pandemic. The chain proved its superiority last weekend, when employees at a Texas Hooters location lavished affection on a service dog—in stark contrast to a nearby dive bar, which ousted the hardworking pup and her owner.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Bryan Miller, a Houston-based minister, popped into the Crazy Girl Saloon in Humble, Texas, last weekend to spread the good word. Per the Chronicle, Miller lives with post-traumatic stress and general anxiety disorders and navigates life with the help of his service dog, a black Lab named Jolene. But when Miller attempted to enter the dive, he was met with derision.
“I saw the sign on the door that said no fighting, no weapons, no pets,” Miller told the Chronicle. He reportedly asked the bartender about the policy, explaining that Jolene was a trained service animal, not a pet.
“[The employee] said ‘I’ll have to call the owner, he’s got a really strict policy,’” Miller said. “I said ‘OK.’ I went to the bathroom and came back, and she said ‘yeah, [the owner] said no, she can’t be in here. She can’t even be on the property.’”
Is it legal for bars and restaurants to ban service animals?
Miller took to Facebook to complain, at which point a bar representative responded with some serious snark. “Every weekend someone wants to bring in their ‘service dog’ to assist them with their drinking habits,” the representative commented. “We say no and point to the sign ... Fact is, it is private property, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason and we don’t allow pets.” (Miller has since deleted the Facebook post, so the responses are no longer visible.)
“Private property” or not, refusing to admit a service animal is illegal, according to both state and federal law. Of course, I don’t necessarily expect the owner of the Crazy Girl Saloon to be a conscientious citizen, but this level of discrimination certainly seems like a quick way to shoot your profit margins in the foot. Meanwhile, a nearby competitor—Hooters—accepted Miller and Jolene with open arms.
“I’ve never had anybody turn me away,” Miller told the Chronicle. “In fact, we went to Hooter’s to eat right before we went to Crazy Girl Saloon, and the entire staff was loving on [Jolene].” It’s a tale as old as time: When lesser men fail, Hooters will be there to pick up the pieces.