Ending with a #Trump2020 hashtag, the Basement Bar is doubling down on its plan to reopen on May 1. After starting a viral storm yesterday by posting its intentions, the Stockyards watering hole returned to Facebook today with promises to also serve a new drink called the “Fuck Zuckerberg,” in reference to the fact that the social network owned by Mark Zuckerberg took down the bar’s original post for allegedly violating community standards.
The drink is “for all you Karen’s [sic] out there,” the bar says in its latest post. (“Karen” is a derogatory term for a bossy woman.)
“Wow,” the Basement Bar adds, “we had no idea there were so many Carol [sic] Baskins in the world,” referring to a villain on the hit TV show Tiger King.
The bar goes on to say it’s just advertising what everyone should already know: that all bars will be allowed to open on May 1, which is partly true. If Fort Worth’s and Texas’ shelter-in-place orders end on April 30 as planned, local bars will be permitted to open with social distancing in place. If the orders do not end — Dallas has extended its for another few weeks — then the lockdown will continue and no bars can open.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price also has said that she intends to follow the national guidelines set forth by the Trump administration: There needs to be fewer suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases for 14 consecutive days before cities can consider reopening nonessential businesses like bars, restaurants, and theaters.
The comments on the Basement Bar’s page raged for hours. Most of the naysayers were chiefly peeved with the bar’s tone. It was stridently right-leaning, casting the pandemic as an exaggeration.
In its entirety, the unedited post read, “We abided by the rules set forth to help prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed and to ‘flatten the curve.’ Since March 18th we have been closed. We always put our customers first as well as theirs and our employees safety. As most of you already know, more and more evidence is brought to light everyday that most of this was all nonsense and grossly over exaggerated. We feel it is most important to stand up for our freedoms and get our employees back to work, it is our right. We can no longer neglect our livelihoods for the illusion of safety put forth by our city leaders. There’s no more ‘Y’all Stay Home’ it’s ‘Y’all Get Back To Work!’
“This post,” the Basement Bar continues, “is not to be insensitive or undermine anyone who feels they have or knows someone has has lost their life to ‘covid19.’ Any loss of life is tragic. But freedom is exactly what makes life so precious and special. Without it what kind of life can you live? If you disagree with us, please feel free to stay home.”
Weekly contributor Steve Watkins replied, “I’m thinking a pool as to who puts a padlock on the door first — [Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission], Code Compliance, or the Health Department.”
And Michael Huggins commented, “If you want to join the crowd and get COVID-19 over a cold beer, pick it up rodeo style at the Basement Bar at the Fort Worth Stockyards! At the Basement Bar, their philosophy on the pandemic is that ‘this was all nonsense and grossly exaggerated,’ as the owner recently posted on Facebook. (If you like to wear a MAGA cap, PLEASE head to the Basement Bar as fast as you can and go there often – it will make all the difference in November!) This has been a public service announcement.”
Though the Basement Bar’s spokesperson did not return my request for comment in time for this article, the club’s most recent post indicates an appreciation for all the newfound notoriety.
“May 1st all bars will be open. We just happened to advertise it first and between the supporters and the haters, it was the best PR move we ever made. Thank you for almost 300k views and comments! We support all small business and truly wish everyone the best of luck in opening soon! We understand the need to feed your families and pay your bills. Love you all and see you soon! Cheers!”
An addendum to the most recent post says, “Nothing is free. There is a cost for everything, for shutting down the economy, for starting back up the economy. Lives will be lost either way both from the virus or from the aftermath of locking down the world. If you want to get out that should be your right. If you don’t that should also be your right. #FreedomToChoose