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North Loop neighborhood bar reopens after temporary closure

North Loop neighborhood bar reopens after temporary closure

drink.well. Austin bar North Loop cocktail
Drink.well is back in business after closing this August following sexual assault allegations. Drink.well./Facebook

North Loop bar Drink.well, which has been closed since late August, reopens its doors October 4 at 4 pm. The neighborhood bar temporarily shuttered amid allegations that then co-owner Michael Sanders sexually assaulted bar manager Becca Yannone. Michael Sanders will no longer be affiliated with the bar.

A new bar manager, Los Angeles transplant Antonio Tommasi, collaborated with owner Jessica Sanders on a new drinks menu that includes 10 new seasonal cocktails, including the whimsically named Rub My Tummy and Feed Me Soup and Gorgeous Ladies of Riesling. Justin Bumbalough, who was leading the kitchen prior to the August closure, is still on board and has added a couple of new dishes to the menu.

Although hours will be extended soon, for now the bar will be open Wednesday through Saturday, from 4 pm-midnight, and Sunday, and 4-11 pm.

Owner Jessica Sanders issued a joint statement with Yannone in conjunction with the reopening announcement, explaining the new steps the bar is taking to address the episode and move forward.

It reads in part, "Drink.well. would like to express its sincere gratitude to Becca Yannone for bringing a recent difficult event to Drink.well’s attention. Although the incident did not take place at Drink.well, it affected the entire team. Small teams that work closely together often develop a family-like closeness, and Drink.well’s team is no exception. Becca’s report was taken seriously, and Jessica Sanders and Becca have worked together, amicably and respectfully, to hear and address Becca’s concerns and find a path forward.  

"Enacting meaningful change requires thoughtful and thorough consideration, and Becca and Jessica came together to resolve this difficult but important issue with careful deliberation over the past several weeks. The time needed for this consideration resulted in the temporary closure of Drink.well.  Jessica and Becca are grateful to the friends, colleagues, and the members of the community who have allowed them this time. While Drink.well and Becca have reached a private resolution, the public portion of their solution includes the actions listed below."

Actions outlined in the statement include:

  • Michael Sanders has divested 100 percent of his ownership in Drink.well. to Jessica Sanders. He will no longer be part of the management or ownership of the business.
  • Jessica Sanders has engaged an outside human resources firm to serve as an independent resource for employees to address concerns and complaints. She is also solidifying Drink.well’s formal, written policies and procedures, including those addressing workplace safety, respect, and harassment, and will require additional training for all employees, including herself.

It concludes: "Jessica will reopen Drink.well on Wednesday, October 4, 2017. Becca supports Drink.well.’s reopening and wishes Jessica and the new Drink.well team every success. Likewise, Jessica and Drink.well wish Becca and the other former Drink.well staffers all the best in their future endeavors and express thanks for their valued contributions. Thank you."