Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Call for nominations

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.


  1. On no account nominate anywhere. Quality smoking areas always sail close to the wind regarding their adherence to the minutiae of the regulations. A nomination on this site will be setting up the pub in question as an Aunt Sally. I'm sorry you don't see this as obvious.

  2. The one and ONLY decent smoking area I have seen was in a revamped pub in Surrey some years ago. It had a decking area, roof and heating with of course seating. It was full every afternoon and evening for a week and then the Council demanded it was taken down as it was techinally at fault. No idea why, it had no sides and rain still got inside it.
    Anyway it was duly removed. The pubs failed within a couple of months and still lays empty.

  3. It would be an interesting exercise (while you're at it) to compare the pubs' levels of business with the levels of comfort and attractiveness of the smoking areas they provide. If, as I suspect, those pubs with nice, welcoming smoking areas are doing good business, and those without are struggling, it would then indeed send a strong message to the industry, and also to the likes of ASH. Even better if the results of the survey were to be reported in the MSM.

  4. Good point, but it would be difficult to create a level playing field for such an exercise - very often it is the pubs that have received investment across a number of areas that have decent smoking areas.

    Plus there are pubs such as those in city centres and those concentrating on dining that can manage to succeed without decent smoking facilities.

    From my observation, pubs in residential and suburban locations that still manage to do a reasonable trade do tend to have made an effort with smoking facilities, but I'd struggle to prove it.

  5. In my link are a couple of photos of the smoking area, upstairs and downstairs, of the pub I use occassionally. The brewery fought very hard to get the permission for the build and, of course, the council didn't like it but it was passed as ok because it only has 2 walls.

  6. When does a neighbouring building become a wall? All the best smoking areas are not open on two sides. They have walls of other structures close by. Does anyone know how close they can get away with?


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