Cahoots is one of many bars that line Bardstown Road, but it has garnered a reputation for being at the center of fights and crime. | By Caitlin Bowling
Cahoots is one of many bars that line Bardstown Road, but it has garnered a reputation for being at the center of fights and crime. | By Caitlin Bowling

The judge in the case against Cahoots has recommended the Bardstown Road bar’s liquor license be suspended for 36 days.

Judge Pete Karem heard testimony from Cahoots owner Marcia Cain, Louisville Metro Police officers and ABC investigators on Sept. 15.

The city argued that Cahoots’ liquor license should be revoked for good after drugs were allegedly found on two of Cahoots’ bartenders and after Cahoots failed to post uniformed off-duty police officers outside the bar — a requirement agreed upon by ABC officials and Cain after previous troubles at Cahoots.

Cahoots has gained a reputation for being at the center of fights and crime in the Highlands, and some have called for the city to shut down the business.

However, owner Cain and her supporters have disputed claims that Cahoots has caused excessive problems in the neighborhood.

After nearly a month of deliberation, Karem recommended that the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Alcoholic Beverage Control Board suspend Cahoots’ license for 36 days after Cain acknowledged that she did not comply with a July 14 order to post off-duty police officers outside her establishment.

However, Karem also found that there was no concrete evidence tying the two bartenders to the alleged use of drugs on the premises.

Both parties, Cain and the city, will have 15 days to submit exceptions to Karem’s findings and recommendation.

“I was hoping (the recommendation) was less severe,” said Thomas Clay, Cain’s attorney, who added that he was not surprised since Cain testified that she struggled to find officers to work at Cahoots.

As of 3:30 p.m. Friday, Clay had not spoken with Cain, and no decision had been made about a possible appeal. However, Clay said the suspension would be a hardship for Cain’s business.

“The atmosphere around Cahoots has made her business very difficult to continue,” he said. “She plans to give it her best effort, and I don’t think she intends to give up.”

Larry Osterhage, the attorney representing the city, did not immediately return a call for comment.

Louisville Metro Codes & Regulations director Robert Kirchdorfer will issue an official ruling. Kirchdorfer could take Karem’s recommendation, issue a different penalty or not issue a penalty at all.

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Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]