The Lafayette Consolidated Council agreed Tuesday to ask the Commissioner of Alcohol and Tobacco Control to delay its food sales audit for Artmosphere. The restaurant and live music venue on Johnston Street operates under a restaurant permit. The permit requires at least 51 percent of Artmosphere’s revenue to come from food sales. In recent audits, that’s been a problem for the business. The other concern is the owner cannot get a bar permit because of an existing moratorium to keep bars from opening in downtown.
Artmosphere owner “Berry” Kemp Moody hopes the commissioner grants the council’s request to delay the October audit. Moody and apparently the council believes there are other options on the table for the locally owned business. Failing the audit could mean Artmosphere could be shut down. Moody sees the delay as a chance to think things over. “For me it means that we have more time to work on something that gives us some kind of different permit maybe or a variance or something,” adds Moody.
The ban on new bars downtown was adopted 12 years ago to protect the central business district from a disorderly nightlife. Artmosphere sits right at the edge. “Some people recognize that if we open it up to having more establishments downtown there would be more competition and the quality of life would go up. That’s just economics 101,” says Moody.
The Chief Executive Officer for the Downtown Development Authority supports Artsmosphere. “Artmosphere is a cultural asset to Lafayette,’ says CEO Nathan Norris. Norris says Artmosphere could be given a variance, be rezoned or put in a new classification to qualify for a bar permit, or the city could re-think its moratorium. “We need to consult with a wide range of constituents between now and over the next month or so to come up with what is the most viable option. Maybe present multiple options for the council for consideration. Ultimately it’s going to be a council decision on what happens to Artmosphere,” says Norris.