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DC Council Passes Smoking Ban

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Sale of cigars and/or humidor rental. That might do it.

Hrm. Well, it seems like they're defining "Cigar Bar" sufficiently broadly to cover hookah bars - but 10% of revenues? I could see that for places that offer smoking but not drinking, or maybe smoking and drinking but not food, but I don't see how any establishment with a substantial menu or extensive wine list would make the cut.

They can offer one "luxury cigar" for a million dollars and sell it to the owner's daughter.

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Sale of cigars and/or humidor rental. That might do it.

Hrm. Well, it seems like they're defining "Cigar Bar" sufficiently broadly to cover hookah bars - but 10% of revenues? I could see that for places that offer smoking but not drinking, or maybe smoking and drinking but not food, but I don't see how any establishment with a substantial menu or extensive wine list would make the cut.

I specifically wrote to Jack Evans about Les Halles and BdC. But the 10% number is ridiculously high. They need to realize many cigar smokers patronize these restaurants since they are cigar friendly, however we bring our own. The damage to these places if they cannot allow cigar smoking will be more than 10% since they will lose much more than cigar sales, they will lose customers entirely. I will admit I may choose a restaurant partly because it is cigar friendly. If cigar smoking is banned entirely I would not patronize those places as much.

Edited by DCMark

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I specifically wrote to Jack Evans about Les Halles and BdC.  But the 10% number is ridiculously high.  They need to realize many cigar smokers patronize these restaurants since they are cigar friendly, however we bring our own.  The damage to these places if they cannot allow cigar smoking will be more than 10% since they will lose much more than cigar sales, the will customers entirely.  I will admit I may choose a restaurant partly because it is cigar friendly.  If cigar smoking is banned entirely I would not patronize those places as much.

Let's face it: no one goes to Shelley's for the food. The only reason to go there is to smoke a cigar (usually purchased at Draper's) and have a cocktail or two while doing so. If they banned cigars at Shelley's there would be no reason to go there (although the chicken wings allegedy are the best in town).

Edited by Jacques Gastreaux

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They can offer one "luxury cigar" for a million dollars and sell it to the owner's daughter.

I have this vision of Les Halles selling Swisher Sweets for $20 and throwing in a Steak Frites for free. :lol:

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I have this vision of Les Halles selling Swisher Sweets for $20 and throwing in a Steak Frites for free.  :lol:

Does Les Halles in NYC not allow cigars? I'm curious.

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Personally, I am very glad to see this development in general as it means all restaurants will eventually be smoke free. However, I personally would not have a problem with there being a completely separately ventilated area of a given establishment where smokers could dine. Not sure what to say about those who would be required to work those sections as their job, but as long as I could dine smoke fre I would be happy. There's almost nothing worse than just starting in to a meal when the table next to you (assuming your non-smoking section table is right near a smoking section table) has some people light up as they are basically done their meal. That is an inherent problem with co-mingled-ventilation non-smoking and smoking sections -- every table is on a different dining schedule of their meal and those that smoke want to light up whenever they want to if in a smoking section.

That said, I am still glad this is happening.

And to whoever said that bit about child-free sections...I AM ALL FOR THAT! :lol:

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I think few folks would quibble with not lighting up at table. But some bar areas are set off enough that there's no "affecting the tables" reason for disallowing smoking. I'm thinking about the bars at Zaytinya, Equinox, Vidalia, Les Halles, Notti Bianche, etc.

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There are a few places that I and others patronize for the sole reason that cigars can be smoked there. With this ban, I doubt that I will patronize them any more. I thought the Schwartz amendment was a reasonable compromise: Ban smoking in all establishments that don't have approved ventilation.

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And to whoever said that bit about child-free sections...I AM ALL FOR THAT! :lol:

A real conversation, held more than once at several different restaurants:

Host/ess: Would you like smoking or non-smoking?

Me: No-smoking, please. And do you happen to have a no-children section? [winking]

Host/ess: [knowing smile/roll of eyes/stiffled giggle]

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I thought the Schwartz amendment was a reasonable compromise:  Ban smoking in all establishments that don't have approved ventilation.

Rest assured the DC Council is monitoring this thread.

Maybe you should state your case in more detail?

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Rest assured the DC Council is monitoring this thread.

Maybe you should state your case in more detail?

I don't believe they actually CARE what non-District residents (read: non-voters) actually think. Just sayin'

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I don't believe they actually CARE what non-District residents (read: non-voters) actually think.  Just sayin'

Yes, they do (click), and there are a lot of people here from DC-proper as well.

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Rest assured the DC Council is monitoring this thread.

Maybe you should state your case in more detail?

It is quite apparent that those who voted against the Schwartz compromise have not visited an establishment that permits cigar smoking but has adequate ventilation installed. I invite anyone who cares to to join me for a cigar at the bar at Oceanaire. I guarantee you that neither the person sitting at the bar next to you nor any of the restaurant staff will be the slightest bit put out by having a smoker sitting next to them. I don't know what it would be like in the eating area, but the bar area has more than adequate ventilation. To me, Oceanaire is the gold standard for adequate ventilation. If it works that well for cigar smoke, I'll bet it works for cigarettes as well. The city council has been drinking the cool aide that the anti-smoking special interest has been serving them.

The ventilation at Shelley's Back Room is comparable to that at Oceanaire.

Edited by Jacques Gastreaux

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They can offer one "luxury cigar" for a million dollars and sell it to the owner's daughter.

Sorry rocks, couldn't resist, hehehe, you said cigar, million dollars,and owner's daughter, hehehe :lol:

But seriously, I think 10% is ludicrous. I I doubt shelly's sells any cigars at lunch, but I'll bet they sell 50 sandwiches, so that already means they have to sell about 8 EXTRA cigars per night...anyway, my nickname wasn't disgruntled dave without reasons...

D

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I prefer smoke-free myself. I do note that there is a distinct pleasure in walking into a restaurant and not having to say "non-smoking, please." I have been to California and note that the smoke-free rule is enforced but it only apples to indoor parts of restaurant. Last year, along the beach in Venice, it was a lovely day and we stopped off at a cafe for a beer and snacks and decided to sit outside and enjoy the weather. There were a lot of smokers out there. It is passing strange that the smokers are the only ones who can "enjoy" the fresh air.

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It is passing strange that the smokers are the only ones who can "enjoy" the fresh air.

Don't worry, a ban on outdoor smoking, smoking at home, smoking on a public road, etc is not far away.

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I've always thought that requirements intended to improve restaurant air quality should be more direct...why specify a blanket ban, if what you *really* want is to ensure good air for everybody other than the smokers? Especially when the ventilation technology to achieve that already exists?

But what exactly is "good air"? Is it totally smoke-free? Personally, I'm rather sensitive to cigar and cigarette smoke, and can't stand environments which are heavy in them. But shisha and pipe smoke bother me far less. What about...candles? I'm not talking about scented candles, but the faint aroma of beeswax and paraffin. What about the smoldering oak sprigs at Alinea, or the other forms of smoke used in avant-garde cuisine?

I haven't read the actual text of the Schwartz amendment, but it sounds like it's closer to the best compromise available.

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Don't worry, a ban on outdoor smoking, smoking at home, smoking on a public road, etc is not far away.

Actually, I'd be satisfied if you cigarette smokers would just put your butts out properly and stop littering the ground with them. It's really something else to walk along a park road in a pine forest out west during a high-fire-danger drought, and see the thousands and thousands of cigarette filters accumulating along the road edge.

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I guarantee you that neither the person sitting at the bar next to you nor any of the restaurant staff will be the slightest bit put out by having a smoker sitting next to them.

You've got one person (and her +1) here who has tried to sit at the Oceanaire's bar in the faint vicinity of two cigar smokers and a passel of cigarette smokers (six seats away) and found she had to move to the seats right in front of the door to get away from the smoke and smell. No offense, Jacques, but if you're the one smoking the cigar that's making the smoke, you're hardly in a position to be able to tell other people what should or shouldn't be bothering their noses or lungs. To be fair, short of putting the smoking section under a chemical lab's hood ventilator or in a sealed room, I don't see how any restaurant would be able to guarantee that it's going to keep smoke completely away from its nonsmoking patrons or employees.

Think of it this way: we've all seen and heard countless anecdotes about the entitlerati, or even witnessed episodes ourselves. Would you want to be the manager of one of these places with the ventilation systems and have to put up with that bunch? It's one thing now for customers to complain about smoke when you can just move them to a different table. Can you imagine what might go on when people are given the notion that not having to breathe nearby smoke is a right protected by law? I can just hear someone screeching about how they don't care that you have one of those fancy systems, that they can still smell the smoke and you're obviously doing something wrong and they're going to sic the Health Department/Beverage Control Board/etc. on you.

Or even worse, would you want to have to shut down your restaurant or flip-flop on your smoking policy every time there was the slightest problem with one of these systems? The ventilator option would seem to be setting establishments up to fail.

Edited by Principia

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Here is the text of the bill.  A cigar bar has to have 10% or more of its revenue from the sale of cigars in order to qualify.  I doubt Shelley's could meet that requirement, but I don't know.

I am told Shelley's meets that requirement, and will be exempt from the current bill. Smoke shops and cigar bars should be fine under the current legislation. Hookah bars are an open question for now.

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I am told Shelley's meets that requirement, and will be exempt from the current bill.  Smoke shops and cigar bars should be fine under the current legislation.  Hookah bars are an open question for now.

I don't know. DaveBVI used to work there and he seems skeptical. Most of the cigars that get comsumed there are brought from the outside.

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I don't know.  DaveBVI used to work there and he seems skeptical.  Most of the cigars that get comsumed there are brought from the outside.

Oops, never worked there, just drink and smoke there. I have to think of shellys as the gold standard of cigar bars, good food, good drink, good technology, and I think it would be tough to meet the 10 % rule. I'd have to guess it's about 50%50%, Maybe their storage units put them over the top, but to think that for every 10-15 beers and sandwiches they sell, they must sell one cigar is a little hefty, and it is the most mentioned cigar bar in town. It's almost like saying, if they do a good job selling food, you can't smoke. Let's punish the good. That's all I'm saying. So if they sell one shot of Louis XIII, they have to sell a whole box of cigars...sure, it all balances out in the end, but I haven't seen any numbers showing that 10 is realistic. And I feel Hookah bars would be done for, or at least have to stop their side business. Do some real study before you slap an arbitrary number on a commodity. rant over. 12-1 means you've won, but please be realistic.

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Hey all you DC council members reading this thread, I'm gonna be dining in VA with my tax dollars when this ban takes effect. And I'm not alone. :lol:

Edited by dirtymartini

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