Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Going out in a blaze of glory

A big local pub, the Ash Hotel on Manchester Road in Heaton Norris, closed its doors for the last time on Sunday 16 January. I’m reliably informed that on the final night the air inside was thick with tobacco smoke. Good to see such an act of defiance, and it shows the demand is still there. And I bet more than half the customers were non-smokers who weren’t bothered by it. Hopefully the local Tobacco Control Officer wouldn’t be so vindictive as to attempt a prosecution, but if he had no doubt the former licensee could have snapped back “and what are you going to do about it? Close me down?”

Indeed, given the current local council cutbacks, shouldn’t all the Tobacco Control Officers be signing on by now? Is that really more important than libraries, swimming pools and public toilets?

9 comments:

  1. "the air inside was thick with tobacco smoke"

    Wasn't that why it was banned?

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  2. Is that why you think it was banned?

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  3. well named pub , given the story

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  4. I don't see the harm in allowing 'smoking pubs' with a licence to allow smoking if necessary. You never know, it may save a few pubs from closing.

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  5. "Good to see such an act of defiance".

    That's quite an ingenious unearthing of a positive in a story about a pub closure.

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  6. "I don't see the harm in allowing 'smoking pubs' with a licence to allow smoking if necessary. You never know, it may save a few pubs from closing."

    Willy, you don't understand.

    If they did that, all the non-smoking pubs would be empty and all the smoking pubs would be full of people having a good time. And that wouldn't be fair, would it? It's all about "a level playing-field".

    Let's admit it, if all we are led to believe about how the smoking ban has been a huge success, there would have been no need to legislate in the first place, would there? Market forces are a powerful driver. If I own a pub, and my customers are saying to me "Really nisakiman, what we would really like is a non-smoking pub. The Red Dragon down the road has gone non-smoking, and it's heaving now.", then regardless of my personal feelings on the matter, I would make my pub non-smoking. It would be the commercially sensible thing to do.

    However, that is not the case. Wetherspoons made some of their pubs non-smoking before the ban. It was a commercial disaster, and they had to do a U-turn. Most pub goers (and in this situation, they're the ones who count) don't want non-smoking pubs. The government will tell you that only 25% of adults in the UK are smokers, but has anyone done a poll of people who regularly go (or used to go, before the ban) to pubs? I would guess the figure is much higher, perhaps even as much as 75%.

    The smoking ban was the final nail in the coffin for British pubs. They will soon be an extinct species unless commonsense (which is not a hallmark of governments) prevails.

    Personally, I'm unaffected by the UK ban, as I live in a country where stupid laws like the smoking ban are ignored, but I do lament the demise of the English pub. I've spent many, many a pleasant evening propping up the bar, drinking, smoking, talking and generally enjoying life. It's what pubs are all about.

    Unless of course you really like doctors waiting rooms, in which case the new style, smokefree (one word, note), ambience-free, joyless, empty, masquerading-as-a-pub places will be just your cup of tea...

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  7. "shouldn’t all the Tobacco Control Officers be signing on by now? Is that really more important than libraries, swimming pools and public toilets?"

    Heretic!!!

    ;)

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