Almost exactly one month after its Dec. 14 closure, The Keg reopened its doors on Monday, Jan. 13, and owner John Slaughter said he wants to “look to the future” of the bar with so much history.
“I knew from experience that it was a good business and had been here a long time, and there was a lot of evidence that it would be here for a long time,” said Slaughter, who bought The Keg in 2007.
The Keg shut down following a three-month undercover investigation by the Alcohol and Tobacco Control. ATC targeted establishments that allegedly sold alcohol to minors and uncovered 60 violations in total. Under the direction of Commissioner Troy Hebert, ATC suspended alcohol sales at BED, Scotty’s Icehouse and The Keg.
Prior to the suspensions, Hebert summoned more than 25 club owners to discuss the consequences of irresponsibly serving alcohol. In ATC’s Dec. 16 press release regarding the suspensions, Hebert said, “The sad part is I personally met with them for two hours to try and find some solutions. Obviously, they are not responsible enough to have the privilege of selling alcohol.
“This blatant disregard of the law will not be tolerated,” stated Hebert.
Slaughter declined to comment on The Keg’s suspension, but he did credit the last month as an opportunity to view The Keg as “something that needed a significant update.”
Despite the revocation, Slaughter said The Keg will still allow people under 21 to enter the bar because he said he views the demographic as “18-early 20s.”
“Never underestimate branding in terms of success for a business,” said Slaughter. “And in terms of The Keg and UL, those are linked very strongly. There’s a lot of connection between those two, and we are today a college club. It has been a college club, and it’s changed here and there, but today it’s predominantly a college club (for) the college kids that go to UL, that go to SLCC and those folks that interact with the university.”
SGA President David Neef was present for The Keg’s first Friday night of business since reopening.
“It’s always been a tradition,” stated Neef.
Brad Nelson, 20, tended bar outside of The Keg. Nelson said he has been working at The Keg for three months and came to the bar “as a freshman.” Asked if he drank at The Keg, Nelson said, “Probably, yeah, I usually got my buddies to go buy me something and stuff like that.
“But you know, We’re trying to stop that right now,” continued Nelson. “Trying to get a lot more geared toward the 21-age group. John (Slaughter)’s doing a really good job pushing us to do that.”
“I’m about to get white-girl wasted with the nastiest sloots in Lafayette, Louisiana,” said one 19-year old advertising major.
Callie Sheffer, 20, a criminal justice major, said she was a Keg regular who frequented the bar as a freshman.
“I started to come back since they renovated,” said Sheffer. “I like the renovations. It’s being classy. I like it a lot.”
“I like it because it’s like a mixture of like, a party vibe and a chill vibe,” said instrumental music education major Myron Saul, 20.
“I think for the benefit of the university and the population that lives in the Freetown area and the area between, let’s say, University and the thruway, it’s walking distance,” said Slaughter. “It’s a very safe environment. I don’t think that can be underestimated.”