A man named Brent Johnson in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas is getting a lot of attention for his business, a bar called bar9eleven. Read that out loud to yourself and you’ll understand why. The September-11th-terrorist -attack-themed bar has pretty much flown under the radar, but a viral Twitter thread has brought it to national attention.
A series of photos of the establishment and the bizarre memorabilia inside was posted by Twitter user @jessebtyler, who wrote, “Drove by this bar and thought ‘huh I wonder what that’s about’ Turns out it’s about exactly what you think.”
The photos show the exterior, which seem to place the bar in some sort of strip mall, and some pictures of of the 9/11 info sheets framed and hung on the walls inside:
One breaks down the series of events of the 9/11 attacks from 8:46am to 8:52am, in case you need a refresher:
It is hard to imagine anyone doesn’t know what 9/11 is because the tagline of the whole tragedy is “never forget,” but it was twenty years ago, which means many young adults weren’t even born yet to remember that terrible day. Business and Politics Reviews reports that Johnson actually insists that the reason he started the bar is because of a survey that said 80% of Americans didn’t know the attacks’ anniversary was coming up—though the publication notes no such survey exists as far as they can tell.
“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,” said Johnson.
If you do need more info, over the course of the day on September 11, 2001, members of the extremist group Al-Qaeda brought down a number of hijacked planes on various landmarks, ultimately killing almost 3,000 people, including themselves. As far as I can tell, Johnson had nothing to do with any of that, except the general horror many Americans felt as they watched the news. But now he’s profiting off of it!
The bar apparently features a number of plaques describing Johnson’s attempts to open his other restaurant, a Tex-Mex place he also owns, during the attacks. So it really is all about him.
“I don’t want anyone who comes into my restaurant to forget that day,” Johnson insists, meaning the day he served Tex-Mex. Bar9eleven has been open since around 2012, though it got its current name in 2013 after a remodel. A 2016 review from Fort Worth Weekly danced around the issue by saying, “If it’s possible to tastefully theme a bar after a national catastrophe, Bar9Eleven’s owners have done it.”
Except it’s not possible, judging by the response to Tyler’s viral tweet:
“The only people who say that are people who don’t know me and are not from Fort Worth,” Johnson said about the online brouhaha. “It’s really really simple. 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.”
A sacred day for having a few brewskies.