C’est Bon: ATC gives Artmosphere, city six-month reprieve

by Walter Pierce

The state office of Alcohol & Tobacco Control has granted Artmosphere and the city six months to work out how to keep the popular live-music bistro in business without being subject to state rules governing liquor licenses issued to restaurants.

Two weeks ago the City-Parish Council passed a resolution asking ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert to waive a scheduled October audit of sales at Artmosphere, which because it is licensed as a restaurant is required to earn more than 50 percent of its revenue from food sales. In a letter to council members this week, Hebert granted the request:

I have received your resolution requesting that I grant an extension on a planned audit of Artmosphere. Recognizing the complexity of this issue and the fact that you, as a Council, have the authority to ultimately determine the fate of this business, I will grant a six month extension. ATC looks forward to working with you and Artmosphere to resolve this issue.

Known more for its nighttime live music than for its restaurant menu, Artmosphere has always had a hard time hitting the 50-percent food threshold required by the state. As a result, owner Berry Kemp has repeatedly faced the prospect of losing her license to sell alcohol, which would effectively shutter the business absent a tectonic shift in culture in Lafayette wherein audiences agree it’s OK to listen and dance to live music without drinking beer, which will never be OK. This is South Louisiana after all.

Read more about the issue here and here.