Photo by Kathy Tran

As the struggle between public health priorities and small-business viability drags out in Texas, an Oak Cliff bar is taking on the State of Texas.

Cocktail lounge Tiny Victories is among the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Dallas this week against Gov. Greg Abbott after he shut down the state’s bars for a second time.

Abbott ordered bars to close last Friday as the coronavirus pandemic worsened in Texas.

“We believe the governor’s order is vague, it’s ambiguous, and it violates the rights of these bars as it relates to the Texas constitution,” Dallas attorney Jason Friedman told the Dallas Morning News.

Bar and restaurant dynamos Brandon Hays and Phillip Schanbaum opened Tiny Victories on Tyler at Davis after their success with High Fives, The Whippersnapper and Ferris Wheeler’s.

What’s key to know about their Oak Cliff venture is that zoning in our neighborhood prohibits the operation of bars only with no food sales. The owners managed to receive City Council approval for a specific-use permit that allows them to operate Tiny Victories without a kitchen. But they have to renew the permit every year, which costs at least $2,500 each time.

The lawsuit argues that bars should be allowed to be open at 50% capacity, the same as restaurants.

“I want to be very clear: We don’t want to be a public health problem,” Hays told the newspaper. “That is not the goal of anyone in this group. We just don’t want to be treated unfairly or unconstitutionally.