Are venues/clubs/bars that have gone smoke free the new normal?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Thumpinshelton, May 29, 2018.

  1. Ok, so let me start by saying this up front. I am not a smoker and never really was (experimented as a teen). I know a lot of businesses have gone smoke free altogether and this includes a lot of bars that host live bands. What is it like in your area? I lived in Nashville and was pretty active in the local honky-tonk scene when they passed the laws that made them smoke free. Of course there was a HUGE fear of lost revenue, but I never noticed a drop from my perspective. What is your area like? I myself prefer smoke free, but for petty reasons! The BIGGEST being that I don't like my clothes and gear smelling of smoke. What are your thoughts?
  2. Meyatch

    Meyatch Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    Here in PA, you can still smoke in bars if you make less than some percentage of your profits from food sales. I want to say 50%, but I don't know for sure. Bars that are technically hotels (there are quite a few, I don't know if that's a thing in other places) can't have any smoking, and private clubs can smoke all they want regardless of how much they make in food. As far as I can tell there are 0 bars that have gone non-smoking, either voluntarily, or as a result of having too much food sales. Its pretty lame. I much prefer playing in non-smoking venues, and nobody seems to care. Some of the best bars we play are non-smoking, and it doesn't seem to effect their business at all.

    I never really understood the argument that sales would be lost. Smoker's aren't used to going outside the rest of their lives? I used to smoke, it was still nicer to play in non-smoking bars, and I never smoked in my own house. That stuff stinks.
  3. In florida it is also less than 50 percent food revenue then smoking is allowed. I think all the service clubs and lodges in my area have gone smoke free. Years ago a big restaurant put in a big tiki bar for the smokers. We play a lot of tiki bars/restaurants so the smoking is not an issue. I think we have one indoor place on our circuit that has smoking. There was one place that cut out bands that used to be very bad with smoke. On the way home one time we were all hacking. I don't smoke.
    HamOnTheCob and Plectrum72 like this.
  4. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Erie County, NY went smoke free in 1996.

    It did, in fact, kill the local bar business.

    I would estimate half of the corner bars have closed since then.
    Axstar and dragon68 like this.
  5. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    Since the mid-90s the whole state of California is smoke-free inside public buildings, bars, clubs, restaurants, etc. Lately, in many outdoor areas smoking is also banned. Smokers have "smoking zones" outside in many public areas. Smoking is prohibited within 20 feet of most entrance/exit doors. I'm an ex-smoker. The smoke in the clubs rarely bothered me unless it was really bad. I just hated going home with everything smelling like an ash tray.

    The club/bar scene seems to have acclimated. Most have an outdoor patio area where the smokers go to light up. Sure, some smaller places have gone away but others have taken their place. There are still plenty of places to play if you have a good product and can sell it properly.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    nixdad, Jhengsman, Flippy and 9 others like this.
  6. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    If anything, it's helped business around here, as people who don't smoke were staying away in droves, not wanting to deal with the stank.

    Statewide ban in 2004....
  7. McG

    McG Goat Hill Gamblers

    Oct 6, 2010
    Costa Mesa, CA
    Here in California there is no smoking in any business or public place since 1995. Bars were exempt u
    ntil 1998) Businesses may have designated outdoor smoking areas that are away from the general seating.

    Being a nonsmoker it is SOOO nice to come home from a gig not smelling like an ash tray.
  8. McG

    McG Goat Hill Gamblers

    Oct 6, 2010
    Costa Mesa, CA
    Cliff just barely beat me to the California response. :thumbsup:
    nixdad and BassCliff like this.
  9. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Massachusetts is pretty much smoke-free, and predictions of the death of bars, etc., proved premature. Smokers know to step outside to light up. About half the places we play have enclosed patios where cigars are just fine. Marijuana is legal here, but "social consumption" (smoking in a public place) is still not allowed.

    I have been an advocate of no-smoking in clubs since the night way back when, when there was so much smoke it got into my sweat, which then dripped into my eyes and burned, burned, burned. (At the same time shocking myself on a non-grounded microphone--a real Dante rings-of-hell experience!).
  10. Ender_rpm


    Apr 18, 2004
    St. Louis MO
    Clubs in St Louis are smoke free for the most part, some smaller bars are holding on, but they have the same 4 regulars and will likely not make it much longer anyway.

    I'd probably argue its more the aging of the general populace, economic malaise, and general population decline that did in those kinds of small Upstate bars, rather than smoking laws. DUI laws? Big impact. Smoking laws? I have not seen major drop offs, and in two cases (Florida and DC) the nightlife bounced back significantly. At least until the recession. Post- recession the 20 somethings that go out aren't smoking tobacco in the same numbers or at the same rates as previous generations. They don;t even realize it hasn;t always been this way.

    As a former restaurant server who worked the smoking sections, its a double edged sword. On one hand, smokers generally tipped better, but I hated how I smelled and felt after those shifts.
  11. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    They did it here in Michigan about 10 years ago.

    In the area I lived in at the time, most of the bars were out of business within a year---there were other factors, but that was the final straw.

    I have however, been in some small "dives" that just ignore the law and seem to be doing fine.
  12. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    Here in my part of Pennsylvania, most of the venues have gone smoke free and their business has gotten much better than when they permitted smoking. We only play a couple clubs that still have smoking and they are thinking about going smoke free in the near future.
  13. bass12

    bass12 Blistering barnacles! Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Bars and clubs have been smoke-free in Montreal since 2006. It shouldn't have taken so long. When I think back to the nights I spent playing and DJing in smokey bars I honestly wonder how I was able to do it. A lot of people seem to think that the ban has been largely responsible for the drop in the number of patrons at bars and clubs but I don't buy it. I think the internet, online socializing and the virtually endless options for home entertainment have much more to do with the decline than any smoking restrictions. But if I'm wrong and the smoking ban is the reason bars and clubs are in such rough shape these days... Well, I'll take fewer gigs over blackened lungs any day. :)
  14. Ross W. Lovell

    Ross W. Lovell

    Oct 31, 2015

    I believe it's more of a State by State thing on whether or not smoking is allowed.

    I was always surprised no one pressed OSHA into responding to smoking with regards to employees? Any other business when someone has to work in an area with the same definition of something like cigarette smoke, masks must be worn.

    Always surprised that restaurants mandated employees to work in the smoking area that was NOT dilineated by a separate room. Not sure how that was legal, OSHA people?

    I stopped playing indoors before they started banning smoking. Dry cleaning bill was money out of my pocket and wasn't appreciated, but eventually I passed that on to the venues.

    Giving thought to going out again because of the new rules.

    Still don't play $ drink or beer nights. Don't miss the Blues Brothers/chicken wire, wrapped venues that marketed these.
  15. JKos

    JKos Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2010
    Torrance, CA
    Yes, it is the new normal. Having lived in California for a while now and enjoying the smoke-free nature, it is sometimes a "shock to the system" to walk into restaurants/venues in other states and smell smoke. I will turn right around and leave a business that smells like smoke.

    Unfortunately, we are now starting to smell a different kind of smoke outside more often now.

    - John
    DirtDog likes this.
  16. ClusterFlux

    ClusterFlux Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    It's normal in NYC and NJ. As far as I can tell, it's had no long-term effect on bars or other businesses.

    I am also in the "Yay!" camp, as I do not enjoy reeking of stale cigarette smoke after a gig or a drink.
    Omega Monkey, HamOnTheCob and GregC like this.
  17. Ontario has been blissfully smoke free since the late 90s. I think it actually helped the restaurant business. The number of bar venues is on the decline, but I think that's population statistics and online entertainment. (Young) People are just not willing to pay a cover to see music anymore.
  18. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    Nevada - smoke 'em if ya got 'em.

    Well, for casinos and bars, anyhow. Restaurants, not so much.
  19. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    cincinnati: i'm newer here so i don't know the exact laws, but i haven't been in any restaurant/bar/dive/hole where smoking is allowed. someone from cincy will chime in with how long that has been going on. but we're right across the river from kentucky (produces tobacco and booze).

    i smoked most of my life (vaping now for almost 10 years) and was never bothered by it until i stopped the cigarettes.

    IME: drunk driving laws have had more to do with venue attendance than tobacco laws, overall...for years.
  20. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    We never had to have haze/fog machines in the bad old days. And now because of overly-sensitive smoke detectors my fog machines rarely get used :meh:.
    packhowitzer likes this.
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