Report by Paula Antolini, June 11, 2019, 5:27PM EDT
Bethel’s Proof Bar & Cafe, located at 1 Front Street in Bethel, CT, in the former location of “The Spot,” closed suddenly today after being in business only 46 days. The owners John Schauster and his wife Sam Lupacchino did not answer calls or messages today or this past weekend, but left a message on their Facebook page at approximately 1:30pm that simply read: “To everyone who supported our venture, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Unfortunately, Proof has to close its doors. It was a pleasure serving the Bethel community. It was a blast! Cheers to you all 🍻”
Proof operated with much controversy in the last weeks as they took a strong stand favoring LGBTQ, hung a Pride Flag outside their business, and also came out against a local business, namely, Chick-fil-A and their beliefs. They advertised “lots of condoms,” for their upcoming event “Pride & Pretzels at Proof! 18+” that was to occur on Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 6pm to 12am. They announced that they planned on having s “Drag Brunch.”
Proof named one of their chicken sandwiches “Chick-fil-gay” possibly aiming to counteract the Chick-fil-A’s company anti-gay beliefs and anti-gay causes to which they seem to donate funds. Proof stated, ““Our own spicy chicken deluxe, except instead of profits Chick-Fil-A makes on their sandwiches being donated to homophobic organizations who aim to take away the rights of our LGBTQ community, 15% of sales on this sandwich will go to The Trevor Project. Nothing tastes better than equality feels. Happy Pride ❤️🧡💛💚💙“
Finally Proof posted a statement making it clear others were not welcome unless they agreed with their viewpoint: ““Love is love ❤️ Happy Pride Month! Look out for some exciting events coming up during the month of June ❤️🧡💛💚💙 . (and to those saying they can’t support our establishment because of our flag, go 👏🏻 some 👏🏻 where 👏🏻 else 👏🏻 ) .”
Proof seems to have also had other issues with uncooked and/or cold food and an incident with their bartender interacting improperly with a customer, as shown on social media when Proof asked for feedback about their restaurant. The bartender has since been fired.
In fact it was the bartender who first revealed on Facebook that Proof was closing when he asked, “Anyone hear of any bartending jobs in the area hiring. Let me know. Nothing like getting a text saying your job closed.”
John Schauster was previously a partner with Michael Boney in a company called “Hop Knot” in Middletown, a very similar pretzels, beer and cocktails business to Proof.