UPDATE, 6:15 P.M. Drink.Well co-owner Jessica Sanders has issued a statement in the wake of the temporary closure of the bar.
Her husband, Drink.Well co-owner Michael Sanders, “checked into an inpatient rehabilitation facility, where he will remain for as long as necessary,” she said in an email. “As family, friends and colleagues who are most intimately familiar with us know, Michael has struggled with depression and anxiety for many years. Alcohol abuse has been the means with which he has often dealt with these issues — the consequences of which are now being most deeply felt.”
While the bar is closed — with no set date for its return — the staff that has chosen to remain at Drink.Well will still receive their full salaries, she said.
She noted that she is “confused and devastated” following the events of this week.
“I intend to help everyone who has been affected by this,” she said. “I have reached out to the members of the staff at both bars to be as transparent as I can with them and try to understand what may be needed to heal and move forward. There was a lot I didn’t know then and there’s a lot I still don’t know now. I am working really quickly to understand the full scope of what has transpired here and be as helpful as possible.”
She also acknowledged that Backbeat will continue its operations without her “immediate involvement.”
EARLIER: Two days after North Loop bar Drink.Well closed abruptly, another bar associated with Drink.Well owners Michael and Jessica Sanders has announced that the Sanderses are no longer managing it.
“Effective immediately, Backbeat has parted ways with Jessica and Michael Sanders of MJS Ventures, LLC,” according to a statement made by the investors of Backbeat. “We have met with our staff and are united in this decision. Backbeat will continue regular operations with our team.”
On South Lamar Boulevard, Backbeat opened last year with the Sanderses at the helm, four years after the couple had established Drink.Well as one of the top cocktail bars in town.
While it’s business as usual at Backbeat, however, Drink.Well remains closed. The Aug. 16 announcement on social media about the closure said that it wasn’t permanent.
“Sometimes, we all need to take a break in order to give our best self to others,” the announcement read. “With that in mind, we will be temporarily closed through September 5. We are incredibly grateful for our staff and every guest who continue to support us. Drink.Well. is a very special place, and we will come back stronger than ever, with a renewed commitment to serving our guests with excellence.”
We have reached out to Drink.Well representatives for comment and more information about the changes behind both bars.