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Monday, December 19, 2005

Dive, dive, dive with me

Posted by on December 19 at 22:13 PM

It’s generally impossible to post anything smoking-ban related on the forums (or this slog, for that matter) without inspiring fruitless, antagonistic barbs from someone on either side of the argument. Let’s stop that, shall we?

Yes, it’s too early to measure the positive or negative financial impact of the ban on bar sales and employee tips. Yes, some bars seem to be thriving and will continue to do so. Yes, any dip in sales may be mercifully brief. However, this is a terrible time of year to get hit with a loss of income in the bar business. Any service industry worker will tell you that the extra income accumulated in December cushions the predictable blow when business slows in January.

Unless you frequent blue collar watering holes or dive cocktail lounges outside of Capitol Hill or Belltown, you can’t possibly understand how this is impacting some of this city’s historical bars during the holiday season. My most beloved cocktail haunts are in Ballard and other northern Seattle neighborhoods. I’m seeing first hand what’s happening at places like the Moon Temple, the Fremont Dock and the Tin Hat (all of which have been in business for more than 20 years, some as many as 50). Unsurprisingly, Ballard’s Smoke Shop is suffering from a particularly alarming drop in business. In effort to counteract this depressing trend, myself and my fellow dive bar devotees in BYSUK have designated the Smoke Shop as our Thursday night meeting spot for the next several weeks. When we were there last week, there were only 3 other customers bellied up to the bar. We’re a fiesty, thirsty bunch, but even our livers and wallets have their limits.

It doesn’t matter if you voted for or against the ban. If you harbor any affection for Seattle’s few remaining dive bars, please make an effort to patronize your favorite one as much as possible—especially over the next few weeks. Industry veterans like Darlene Kaiser are counting on it.

CommentsRSS icon

I'm in total agreement, Hannah: support your dive bars, folks!

One bit of good news: Al's in Wallingford is doing okay so far. Vague secondhand accounts indicate bars in the U District and Wallingford area are doing okay so far. I'll keep my eyes open for the status of other bars following the holiday season.

As a non-smoker who supported the ban from the start, I admit I was apprehensive about it in regard to its impact on the city's blue collar watering holes. However, I must say it's been a major relief patronizing smoke-free dives, so much so that I've been out drinking at my favorite North End dives more often since the ban. Leny's, Al's and Moon Temple have all been pleasantly non-eye-and-nostril burning. Not to mention I've done less laundry since the ban went into effect.
So, yes, do as Hannah says, support those dives! They are, above all else, DRINKING establishments, not smoking establishments.

I'm not so sure I buy this argument that the smoking ban is the cause for slow business. What? Are alcoholics now staying home? I think in order for this argument to hold water one has to assume that the reason people aren't going to bars is because they are going elswhere to smoke and drink. If that's true, I'd like to know where?

Yes, *, many smokers would rather buy some liquor at the liquor store and hang out at home, where most are allowed to smoke, than to go to a place where they must go out in the 30 degree cold in order to smoke.

If your need further clarification, let me know.

So you are telling me that are tough enough to injest cancer-causing agents, but not tough enough to bundle up for a 5 minute smoke break?

What a bunch of pussies.

boo f-ing hoo! smokers can cry me a river, then float on past smoking their cigs.

this argument has no validity. the facts are: post smoking ban, cigarette smoking goes down, and bars recover within a few months as everyone gets used to it.

oh yeah, and less lung cancer in the future for wait staff.

i'll take that trade off anyday!

maybe if these bars really want the non smoking business, they should wash the years of toxic chemicals that have been added to cigs for years off their walls so that they smell and "feel" cleaner.

if they can't manage that....screw 'em.

HMA: Either you didn't read my original post or you lack basic reasoning skills. I wasn't talking about smokers; I was talking about people who work in a certain type of bar taking a hit in holiday income. It may be a temporary hit, but it's a hit, nonetheless and it has ZERO to do with whether you are for or against the ban. Try reading before commenting.

*, you're more than welcome, every hour on the hour, or half hour, to get up, walk outside and spend a few minutes in the cold. Do you consider that fun, relaxing and enjoyable?

It's not a case of being a pussy, it's a case of having a choice between going out and dealing with the hassle, or staying home and not dealing with the hassle. Therein lies the rub, and the concern of possible lost business.

And as Hannah stated to the other poster, you're clearly missing the point of her post. BACK ON TOPIC! We've had this discussion at length already.

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