Smoking in the Girls Room?

September 11 marks the date when local business must comply with the anti-smoking ordinance. 

I CAN'T WAIT!  Here's the link to the rules and regs.

I went to the bathroom at my lunch stop today and passed people smoking where the food is prepared.  That is so beyond disgusting.  It was like 80 degrees — they couldn't go out on the porch, for crying out loud?  I was assured that would stop on Thursday so I'm not naming names.  <shudder>

I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will mean at least one gay-owned non-smoking bar.  The bar issue is tricky.  It appears from the regulations that some of the larger nightclubby places are not going to qualify for an exemption. 

The term “drinking establishment” does not include a nightclub, which is defined as a public hall or hall for which admission is generally charged and which is primarily or predominately devoted to dancing or to shows or cabarets as opposed to a facility that is primarily a bar, tavern, or dining facility.  The CIAA defines a nightclub as a public place and as a place of employment that must be smoke free.

This could be a win-win.  Those who want to smoke and drink can continue to patronize the bars.  Those who want to smoke and dance and drink can go outside.  Those LIKE ME who might want to dance and drink without inhaling the fumes of a thousand cancer sticks can go to the nightclubs.  So any business lost from the smokers who start haunting the bars will be offset by the non-smokers who flock through the doors.  Right?

This has long range implications.  People in the know have told me that Pittsburgh is in a new era of bar/club resurgence.  They define it by PrideFest … first it was for the political/activist people (some of who went to bars), then it was for families (think Northshore park) and now it has turned to the bar crowd.  A lot of LGBT organizations hold events in bars. 

The win for everyone is that they can simply alternate between smoking and non-smoking bars, thus eliminating the illusion of the non-smoking section which everyone with asthma knows is ridiculous.

I'll be able to go to Ritter's Diner again.  I'll be able to talk to a bartender without choking.  I won't have to go to Cattivo at 5 PM and hurry home before the grown up lesbians arrive. 

Officially speaking, the exemptions are a bunch of capitulating crap. 

Still, what a great day for Pennsylvania!



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  • Don't bet on it. The business owners will slime their way around these rules faster than you can get a seat at Ritter's Diner. No gay bar owner in his right mind (note the his, darling) would go non-smoking. It would be suicide. It is wishful thinking. Maybe if you can find a bakery that will serve you, you can appreciate the smoke free zone.

  • Spin has been non-smoking since it opened, and I don't think it's hurt business. And the old True on the North Side was also non-smoking. Plus the gay-friendly bars (“straight” bars with a large gay clientele like Elbow Room, Red Room and Casbah) have been non-smoking for a while.

  • Where is Spin, George? I'll go buy a drink just to say good job! 🙂 True was nice.
    Thanks for the information. My coworker likes to organize happy hours and I'm always lobbying for non-smoking. Now I have something concrete. Is the whole Elbow Room non-smoking?

  • Yes, the entire Elbow Room is non-smoking. They started in May. It's nice because we always preferred the booths, which are in the bar area. Here's the irony: when we used to go for lunch when the bar was smoking, we always got a booth and put up with the smoke cause most people asked for non. Now that's it's all non, we have trouble getting a booth.

  • Spin is right next door to the Elbow Room. Very nice decor, and they even have sofas and chairs to lounge in in a small elevated area away from the bar. And nice big windows looking out onto Ellsworth, and even a few tables and chairs on the sidewalk.

  • George,
    Do you know any bars in that corridor that are smokefree and have a patio or decent sized outside space? Like accomodating 10 people in one group?
    I was only to the Elbow Room once a long time ago. For some reason, the name always makes me giggle and think about Elbow Macaroni instead of actual elbow room. I think my mother fed us far too much elbow macaroni as children. I'm going to pledge to check it out! Do they serve lunch?

  • Elbow Room has a patio inthe back, and I think it's non. At least, I've never seen anybody smoking out there. ANd Red Room just opened up an outdoor terrace on the second floor that I haven't been to yet. You'll probably have to call ahead and see if they can addommodate ten people.

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