LAFAYETTE — A Jefferson Street nightclub faces a potential suspension or revocation of its liquor permit after netting third-offense citations in selling alcohol to minors.
Six NiteTown employees were cited Saturday for 17 counts of selling to minors, authorities said, after a weekslong compliance check into underage alcohol sales.
“It’s some pretty serious violations,” said Commissioner Troy Hebert, of the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. “ATC went over there about a year ago trying to clean things up and let them know this kind of activity was not going to be tolerated.”
NiteTown’s latest violations come less than a year after a three-month sting investigation into selling to minors at Lafayette bars, during which the club was cited on Nov. 24 with one count, according to ATC. It logged a second offense Feb. 9.
The count starts over after three years with no offenses, Hebert said.
Selling alcohol to people under the age of 21 is an offense under both state law and local ordinance, said Capt. Dwayne Prejean, of the Metro Narcotics Task Force.
His department — along with the Lafayette Police Department’s Youth Services Section — led the compliance check from Aug. 30 to Oct. 25 after an anonymous citizen raised concern about underage drinking at downtown bars, Prejean said.
“We generally don’t get involved in that a whole lot,” Prejean said. “Only when we get a complaint that comes our way.”
NiteTown faces another four counts of allowing minors into the 18-and-older bar, and the business was cited after 11 employees were found without vendor permits — known as “bar cards” — that legally allow them to serve alcohol. The business owners also will have to deal with two more citations, one for not having employee records and another for not labeling their mixed drink machines.
Two other Jefferson Street businesses also received citations during the weekslong operation.
The Office landed a second-offense violation for one count of selling to a minor, and Arcadian Bar & Grill was cited Oct. 4 for two counts of selling alcohol to minors — its third offense.
The business has since shut its doors after operating for less than a year.
Each business owner will be called to an ATC hearing next month, at which point Hebert said he’ll decide on penalties, which can range from fines to a revoked liquor permit.
Two businesses lost their permits in May because of fifth-offense underage alcohol sales.
Catahoula Restaurant Corp., which owned The Keg — a decades-old bar on the McKinley Street Strip near the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus — lost its liquor permit for two years and was fined $15,000, a penalty Hebert said is his agency’s maximum.
The bar has since reopened under new ownership.
Tuffy’s Quick Stop 2, a North University Avenue convenience store owned by AJK Investments, also had its license revoked for two years for the same offense.
“We’re certainly trying to send a message,” Hebert said. “Nothing good can come out of selling alcohol to minors.”
Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook.