Artmosphere in ATC crosshairs?

by Walter Pierce

The popular bisto-slash-music venue has been forbidden from giving away food to meet a sales ratio and its owner has been summoned to Baton Rouge. Could this be the beginning of the end of one of Lafayette’s best bars for live music?

Artmosphere owner Beryl Kemp
Photo by Robin May

The state Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control made another visit to Artmosphere Monday, the day our story, “The High Cost of Business,” appeared in the print issue of IND Monthly. In it, Artmosphere owner Berry Kemp acknowledged that over the last several months, during which the bistro was on probation with ATC for selling more alcohol than food, she has spent thousands of dollars of her own money purchasing food and then giving it away in order to meet that the 51-49 food-to-alcohol sales ratio required of restaurants.

In an email to The IND last night, Kemp writes: “Received a violation and the rep told Josh (mgr) I could not buy food and give it away. I am reading to see where it says that in the law but nothing yet. She also stated that we should get legal representation so working on that.”

Any live-music-loving attorneys out there willing to take Kemp’s case pro bono? Find Artmosphere on Facebook or email me and I’ll hook y’all up. (As Kemp noted in the story in our February issue, she’s spent so much personal funds on food over the last several months she can’t afford an attorney.)

In the meantime, Artmosphere will make another major push to get its February food sales up with an event on Saturday, Feb. 28 they’re calling “FoodRaiser.” Kemp says the event will feature “specials that pair food and drinks as well as several ‘special’ specials like grilled tuna.” Attendees will walk away with T-shirts bearing the slogan, “I came, I ate, I saved Artmosphere.”

For the back story on Artmosphere’s troubles, read “The High Cost of Business.”