Smokers savored their cigarettes inside the Labor Club on Tuesday after the bar decided to reverse its two-month-old ban on smoking.
The Club went smoke free on April 1, and since then bar owner Kerry Anderson said the Club took a 40 percent hit in sales.
“It’s all business,” Anderson said. “We gave it a fair shot and it lasted for two months of the worst sales I’ve ever had in the history of my business here. It was worse than I ever expected to be. So all these people who tell you to go smoke free and business will pick up, it’s false in the bar business.”
Anderson said the bar was back in the range of its previous sales in just one day.
Around the time the Labor Club went smoke free, members at the Eagles Aerie voted to make the club another smoke-free establishment.
Eagles manager Rich Hass said the club has taken also lost sales since going smoke free, but not to the extent of the Labor Club.
“We felt it, but we won’t switch back, I’m sure,” Hass said. “We’ve got a different deal going too; we’ve got food here and a bunch of other things. The bar business isn’t our only thing.”
If the Eagles were to end the indoor smoking ban, it would have to be brought up on the floor and voted on during a regular meeting of members.
Anderson, who is not a smoker himself, said he’d prefer to see a smoke-free initiative on the ballot in November, because if it passed, it would even the playing field between competing bars.
“When we’re city-wide or state-wide and everybody’s on the same page, it’ll be a whole new ball game,” he said.