Owner defends 9/11-themed bar after 'gobsmacked and horrified' Twitter users criticise it

Owner Brent Johnson decided to rename the bar after 9/11 so that diners "would never forget"
Owner Brent Johnson decided to rename the bar after 9/11 so that diners "would never forget" Photo credit: Twitter

A Texas bar owner is defending his 9/11-themed bar after a tweet about it went viral last week. 

Twitter user Jesse Tyler was passing by the bar in Fort Worth when he was taken back by its name - Bar9Eleven.  

"Drove by this bar and thought 'huh I wonder what that's about'. Turns out it's about exactly what you think," he wrote.

The tweet has since attracted more than 19,000 likes and 2300 retweets. 

The restaurant reportedly opened on September 11, 2001 - the same day terrorists hijacked four passenger airliners, flying two of them into the World Trade Centre in New York, killing more than 2600 people. 

During a remodeling of the bar in 2013, more than a decade after its opening, owner Brent Johnson decided to rename the bar after 9/11 so that diners "would never forget", the Daily Mail reports. 

The bar has a commemorative plaque on the wall that describes the events of the day. The plaque shows an image of the Twin Towers, describing Johnson's experience that day.

"The phone at Rio Mambo Tex Mex Y Mas rings for the first day of operations. 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 Centre 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, my response was predictably short: 'Honey, our restaurant will open in less than two and  half hours, I cannot talk over the phone.'"

Twitter users mostly said naming a bar after 9/11 was distasteful.

"So many questions. Does this place get a lot of business? Do they realise it's not paying tribute but exploiting the day? People man," wrote one twitter user. 

"I was gobsmacked and horrified by this, wondering what town would ever have a bar like this," wrote another.

Johnson told the Daily Mail he doesn't care about the criticisms of the bar, because locals in Fort Worth "know me and understand what purpose was behind it".

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