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9/11-themed bar in Texas sparks outrage but owner claims he wants diners to ‘never forget’


A Dallas area restaurant owner opened up a 9/11-themed bar because he didn’t want ‘anyone who comes in to forget that day.’

Bar9Eleven, which is attached to the Rio Mambo Tex Mex y Mas restaurant in Fort Worth, has been in operation since 2013, when owner Brent Johnson decided to remodel it and name it after one of the nation’s most tragic days.

The restaurant opened on September 11, 2001 – the same day terrorists hijacked four passenger airliners and flew them into the Twin Towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and a field in Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 people.

Johnson said that during a remodeling of his business more than a decade after its opening, he decided to name the bar after 9/11 so that diners ‘won’t forget.’

Bar9Eleven, which is attached to the Rio Mambo Tex Mex y Mas restaurant in Fort Worth, has been in operation since 2013, when owner Brent Johnson decided to remodel it and name it after one of the nation’s most tragic days

Tyler posted a photo of the bar as well as a commemorative plaque that describes the events of September 11, 2001, which also happens to be the day that the bar owner opened up one of his restaurants

Tyler posted a photo of the bar as well as a commemorative plaque that describes the events of September 11, 2001, which also happens to be the day that the bar owner opened up one of his restaurants

‘Drove by this bar and thought “huh I wonder what that’s about”,’ Twitter user Jesse Tyler tweeted last Monday. ‘Turns out it’s about exactly what you think’

‘Drove by this bar and thought “huh I wonder what that’s about”,’ Twitter user Jesse Tyler tweeted last Monday. ‘Turns out it’s about exactly what you think’

Brent Johnson, 62, the owner of Bar9Eleven, told DailyMail.com that he doesn't care about the naysayers online and that naming the establishment after 9/11 was to ensure that patrons 'never forget'

Brent Johnson, 62, the owner of Bar9Eleven, told DailyMail.com that he doesn’t care about the naysayers online and that naming the establishment after 9/11 was to ensure that patrons ‘never forget’

But it gained renewed attention when a curious passerby visited the establishment after he was taken aback by the provocative name.

‘Drove by this bar and thought “huh I wonder what that’s about”,’ Twitter user Jesse Tyler tweeted last Monday.

‘Turns out it’s about exactly what you think.’

Tyler posted a photo of the bar as well as a commemorative plaque that describes the events of September 11, 2001.

Another Twitter user commented: ‘So many questions. Does this place get a lot of business? Do they realize it’s not paying tribute but exploiting the day? People man.’

Another Twitter user commented: ‘So many questions. Does this place get a lot of business? Do they realize it’s not paying tribute but exploiting the day? People man.’

Another Twitter user joked: ‘Never Forget ... IT'S WING WEDNESDAY! Stop by bar9eleven for 25 cent wings and 3 dollar pints of Budweiser every Wednesday night from 9 until 11’

Another Twitter user joked: ‘Never Forget … IT’S WING WEDNESDAY! Stop by bar9eleven for 25 cent wings and 3 dollar pints of Budweiser every Wednesday night from 9 until 11’

Another Twitter user mocked a sign inside the restaurant that read: ‘Bar9Eleven, more than a name...more than a date...a state of mind...never forget, ever.’

Another Twitter user mocked a sign inside the restaurant that read: ‘Bar9Eleven, more than a name…more than a date…a state of mind…never forget, ever.’

One Twitter user ridiculed the bar’s web site for boasting of its ‘two full bars’ - or ‘the Twin Counters.’

One Twitter user ridiculed the bar’s web site for boasting of its ‘two full bars’ – or ‘the Twin Counters.’

The plaque shows an image of the burning Twin Towers after hijackers crashed two passenger airliners – one into each building – on that fateful morning nearly 20 years ago.

It then goes on to describe how the owner of the bar, Johnson, experienced that day.

‘The phone at Rio Mambo Tex Mex y Mas rings for the first day of operations,’ the text of the plaque reads under the subtitle ‘8:49am’.

‘Enthusiastically I answer the phone with pride and anticipation. Rosanne (my wife) informs me that reports out of New York indicate some type of aircraft has collided with the World Trade Center but details were “sketchy”.

‘Having hosted over 400 people the previous night to “christen the ship” and at the end of a long, hands on, construction journey that began with John Paul (my son) and I ripping out pink carpet on July 2nd, my response was predictably short.

‘“Honey, our restaurant will open in less than two and a half hours. I cannot talk on the phone”,’ Johnson is quoted as saying.

‘After 71 straight days of physical labor, interviewing, hiring, training, and negotiating with the immense sacrifice of my family…we were poised to introduce Rio Mambo to Fort Worth.

‘I hurried back to moving equipment and preparing for what I anticipated to be one of the greater memories of my life. I was wrong…’

Bar9Eleven is part of the Rio Mambo Tex Mex y Mas restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas

Bar9Eleven is part of the Rio Mambo Tex Mex y Mas restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas

The image above shows the interior of the bar. Despite the name, there are no overt symbols or images that would remind patrons of 9/11

The image above shows the interior of the bar. Despite the name, there are no overt symbols or images that would remind patrons of 9/11

The image above shows one of the two bar counters inside the establishment

The image above shows one of the two bar counters inside the establishment

The undated file image above shows one of the counters at the bar

The undated file image above shows one of the counters at the bar

Tyler’s tweet mocking Bar9Eleven went viral on Twitter, generating more than 1,600 retweets and 19,000 likes as of Sunday.

‘Blown away by this work of creative nonfiction depicting the owner of a tex mex restaurant in north texas as the main character of our nation’s darkest day,’ Tyler tweeted.

Twitter users who reacted to Tyler’s tweet largely agreed with him that naming a bar after 9/11 was in poor taste.

‘What a terrible name for a bar, it reminds me of that tragedy,’ one Twitter user wrote. 

One Twitter user joked: ‘Never Forget … IT’S WING WEDNESDAY! Stop by bar9eleven for 25 cent wings and 3 dollar pints of Budweiser every Wednesday night from 9 until 11.’

Another Twitter user mocked a sign inside the restaurant that read: ‘Bar9Eleven, more than a name…more than a date…a state of mind…never forget, ever.’

One Twitter user ridiculed the bar’s web site for boasting of its ‘two full bars’ – or ‘the Twin Counters.’

Another Twitter user commented: ‘So many questions. Does this place get a lot of business? Do they realize it’s not paying tribute but exploiting the day? People man.’

A defiant Johnson told DailyMail.com on Sunday that he doesn’t care about the criticisms of the bar.

Diners don't seem to mind the bar name as they've given the restaurant largely positive reviews on Yelp

Diners don’t seem to mind the bar name as they’ve given the restaurant largely positive reviews on Yelp

‘The only people who say that are people who don’t know me and are not from Fort Worth,’ he told DailyMail.com on Sunday.

Johnson said that his bar attracted attention from the news media after its remodeling in 2013, though ‘Twitter wasn’t as strong back then.’

He said that locals in Fort Worth ‘know me and understand what purpose was behind it.’

‘It’s really really simple,’ the 62-year-old Johnson told DailyMail.com.

‘I opened my restaurant on the most tragic day of my life. 9/11 was just a very tragic day for our country.

‘It was very somber and it’s become a sacred day for all of us.’

Johnson said that he decided to name the bar after 9/11 because he had read a statistic which claimed that some 80 per cent of Americans never heard of 9/11.

One of the photos inside the bar shows the above image depicting the memorial at Ground Zero

One of the photos inside the bar shows the above image depicting the memorial at Ground Zero

The plaque shows an image of the burning Twin Towers after hijackers crashed two passenger airliners – one into each building – on that fateful morning nearly 20 years ago. It then goes on to describe how the owner of the bar, Johnson, experienced that day

Another photo inside the bar shows a commemorative plaque depicting the remnants of one of the downed towers

Another photo inside the bar shows a commemorative plaque depicting the remnants of one of the downed towers

Another image of a photo from inside the bar shows the 9/11 memorial in Jersey City, New Jersey

Another image of a photo from inside the bar shows the 9/11 memorial in Jersey City, New Jersey

‘We were remodeling the bar so I said “We’re not going to forget. And people who come into this restaurant aren’t going to forget”.’

Johnson said that those mocking his bar on Twitter are actually proving his point because ‘they thought of 9/11’ – which was the goal all along.

‘Mission accomplished,’ he said.

‘My goal is very simple. Don’t forget. No more, no less.’ 

Johnson said that there are no 9/11-themed menu offerings or other insensitive gimmicks that look to ‘take advantage’ of that somber day.

On Yelp, diners don’t seem to mind the bar name and think that the restaurant is worth patronizing.

‘One of my favorite go-to Mexican / Tex-Mex restaurants,’ one reviewer wrote. 

‘Staff here is always friendly and they have great customer service.’

Another satisfied customer wrote: ‘Was traveling to Ft Worth quite a bit and stumbled upon this fantastic place!! The food was fresh and I love their thin tortilla chips!!’ 



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