The Save Our Pubs and Clubs Campaign are calling for nominations from members of the public for the best pub smoking area. You can send them your nomination here. All they need are brief details – they will then go on to contact the licensee to get more information.
Some may argue that giving an award for smoking areas is in effect legitimising the smoking ban. However, at present it is a fact of life that pub operators have to live with, and to argue otherwise is cutting off your nose to spite your face. Despite the ban, smokers are still more likely to be pub customers than non-smokers, and it makes good business sense for pubs to extend a warm welcome to them as far as possible within the law. Highlighting the provision of smoking areas also helps keep the general issue of the smoking ban in the public eye.
One of the key features of a successful smoking area is that it should make smokers feel valued and part of the pub in general, something that a dingy lean-to tacked on at the back will never do. It is disappointing that one or two high-profile pubs that do many things well have made little effort to cater for smokers, even though they clearly have the space to do so and in other respects have received significant investment.
Probably the best smoking shelter I am aware of in the local area, and one I will be nominating, is that at the Railway, Rose Hill, Marple, which is a smart area of covered decking at the rear of the pub overlooking the garden and car park. It is attractive and modern and gives the impression of considerable expense having been incurred on it, and is only a short, level walk from the main bar of the pub.
It is also noteworthy that in the recent refurbishment of the Tatton Arms at Moss Nook an attractive dedicated smoking shelter has been provided, although that isn’t as well integrated with the rest of the pub.