Greek Night Tests DC Smoking Ban
February 6, 2007
So it came to pass that it would take over a month for Greeks to finally test the smoking ban en masse, at a Greek owned club no less. For weeks speculation abounded. Would this really work at a Greek Night? Would a Greek club owner discover one of the loopholes to the rule for the sake of their Greek customers? Or would Greeks light up for the sake of being Greek?
To bring those of you out there from outside the area up to speed, on January 1st, DC instituted a smoking ban at restaurants and nightclubs. There are few exceptions to this rule, including intuitively the outdoor sections of bars and restaurants and defined tobacco bars (a designation based on percentage of tobacco sales as a part of the bar’s overall business) and less intuitively theatricals productions. (Participatory Dinner Theatre, anyone? As long as there’s lamb on the menu.)
In the middle of winter, there was no way to avoid the smoking ban, even at Greek Night. What a difference a lack of tobacco makes though. People seemed nicer and more approachable. Maybe it was the increased alcohol consumption? (We don’t have numbers to back this up, but people must have been drinking more without drags between sips.) Not being tied down to ashtrays, there was more movement in the club and more dancing. For the most part those who needed to smoke were good sports about it, venturing outside into the cold for a quick cigarette and returning. Later in the night though there were a few desperate souls ducking underneath the bar or trying to hide elsewhere indoors to sneak one in.
Leaving Greek Night not smelling like smoke was a welcome change to Greek Nights past. Coming home at the end of the night and not throwing clothes outside to air out was also refreshing. In the long run, the smoking ban will probably make Greek events in DC better, as those who normally would be turned off by second hand smoke will come out to clubs they wouldn’t frequent in the past and interact with those other Greeks who are still going to come out anyway even if they have to leave for a few minutes every hour or so.