Of Bars, Booze, and Bartending - Proving "Coughlin's Law" Invalid Since Feb '05

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em, Ohio

It's December 6th, the last full day of smoking in Ohio pubs, taverns, restaurants, stadiums, and just about everywhere else one can think of. At midnight, the new statewide smoking ban goes into effect. Pull up those ashtrays and throw 'em in the garbage, bartenders. It's over. We'll never have to wipe stacks of them clean with wet beverage napkins at the end of a grueling night again.

A few recent articles about the smoking ban (updated):

Cigar club goes up in smoke - As Ohio's ban looms, "'Men being Men' enjoy one last smoke fest

Smoke Ban Enforcement Hazy

Smoking Ban Causes Jitters

Countdown is On for Ohio's Smoking Ban

Lawsuit Filed To Block Ohio Workplace Smoking Ban

I currently work at a restaurant that has always been non-smoking, so the looming ban doesn't affect me on a professional level. But for most of my career, I've worked and smoked in smoky, smoky bars, and I'll mourn them. Won't we all, once they're gone forever?

One day, maybe we'll look back and say, "I can't believe we used to smoke in bars" the way we look at newsreels from the 1960s and say "I can't believe the newscasters used to smoke on-air."

I plan to head out to my local tavern tonight, puff a few cigs, and try to cling to the last moments of a dying era. The bars of Ohio will be frantic, and a little poignant, tonight. If you've never bummed a smoke from a cute boy, or girl, or bartender, or cocktail waitress, or guitar player in a bar, you don't know what you've missed. You have only a few hours to catch up.

That said, I support the smoking ban, I voted for it, I think its time has come, I think we'll all reap the benefits of cleaner air, and I think it's a progressive thing for Ohio voters to choose. I also think that bars will get used to it, and adjust. I predict many, many outdoor patios, with heating. And happier and healthier employees.

We'll get through it, restaurant and bar workers. At least it's happening around the holidays, when customers are as distracted and hurried as we are.

Besides, if there's anyone I really feel bad for, it's the bowlers. I'd have voted to let the bowlers smoke, were it an option. Here's to you, bowlers. Please don't immediately start leagues in Northern Kentucky and Canada.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em, Buckeyes. A toast to the last days of the smoke-filled rooms!

I met a gin-soaked, bar room queen in Memphis
She tried to take me upstairs for a ride
She had to heave me right across her shoulder
'Cause I just can't seem to drink you off my mind
It's the honky tonk women

Gimme, gimme, gimme the honky tonk blues

- Rolling Stones, "Honky Tonk Women"

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