LAFAYETTE, La. — Bar owners across the state including several in Acadiana have begun reimagining their businesses to operate as restaurants in order to keep their doors open during the pandemic after Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered the closure of bars to on-premise consumption in July.
The governor's order requires bars in the state to close to on-premises consumption with only curbside, takeout or delivery service being permitted.
According to the latest numbers from the Department of Health, there have been 41 outbreaks stemming from bars, resulting in 468 cases of COVID-19.
However, some bars have taken it upon themselves to change their business model to serve more food in order to stay open by applying for a Restaurant Conditional Permit from the state’s Alcohol and Tobacco Control.
According to ATC, bars operating in the state usually apply for a Class AG (Bar) Permit, which is issued only to a retail outlet where alcoholic beverages are sold on the premises for consumption on the premises by paying customers. This permit doesn’t allow anyone under the age of 18 years on the licensed premises at any time.
Restaurants operating in the state apply for a Class AR (Restaurant) Permit, which is issued only to a restaurant establishment whose primary function is to take orders for and serve food and food items including the serving of alcoholic beverages in conjunction with meals.
Other requirements for this permit include having average monthly revenues of more than 50% from the sale of food and nonalcoholic beverages; serving food every day of operation; maintaining separate sales figures for alcoholic beverages; and operating a fully equipped kitchen.
According to ATC, any retail establishment holding a Class AG permit may be issued a restaurant conditional permit if it also meets the requirements for a Class AR permit during the hours from 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., which includes the ability to allow persons under the age of 18 years on the licensed premises during these hours.
According to records obtained from ATC, 173 bars across the state have applied for a restaurant conditional permit as of Aug. 14, with 18 in Acadiana.
The Acadiana bars that have a conditional use permit include:
- Caffe Cottage, 1013 E. St. Mary Blvd., Lafayette
- Daiquiris Supreme, 4680 Johnston St., Lafayette
- Daiquiris Supreme, 2761 E. Milton Ave., Youngsville.
- Dewey’s Lounge, 2901 Bonin Road, Youngsville.
- Kelvins Piano Bar LLC, 109 South State St., Abbeville.
- Legends on Bertrand, 215 Bertrand Drive, Lafayette.
- Legends on Johnston, 4559 Johnston St., Lafayette.
- Legends on Pinhook, 3439 W. Pinhook Road, Lafayette.
- Legends South, 6772 Johnston St., Lafayette
- Legends on Verot, 2921 Verot School Road, Lafayette
- Meeks Lounge & Bistro, 409 West Prien Lake Road, Lake Charles.
- O’Darby’s Pub & Grill, 827 Hector Connoly Road, Lafayette
- Pour, 1901 Chemin Metairie Parkway, Suite 5, Youngsville.
- Pour Bar, 4 De Gaulle Square, Lafayette.
- Shannon’s, 4855 W. Congress St., Lafayette
- The Bulldog, 109 General Mouton, Lafayette.
- The Tap Room, 201 Settlers Trace Blvd., Lafayette
- Tipsy Cajun, 1600 Ridge Road, Duson
Several bar owners in Acadiana have filed a lawsuit against the governor in federal court and have asked for an injunction against the state’s bar restrictions after a Monday hearing in Lafayette. The judge for that case has yet to make a ruling.
Another federal judge sided with Edwards on Friday after 10 southeastern Louisiana bar owners challenged the July closure order in U.S. District Court in New Orleans.
A Louisiana judge upheld Edwards' statewide mask mandate and bar restrictions as legal and enforceable earlier this month after Jefferson Parish business owners claimed that the governor overstepped his legal authority in enacting the coronavirus rules.
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