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Smoking and Local Gay Bars

There were mixed feelings when Illlinois' statewide ban started to take effect—especially among bar and nightclub owners, who feared an overall decline in business. Windy City Times surveyed a few people connected with local LGBT nightspots about how their places have been affected. Here is what they had to say:

—Jim Flint, owner of The Baton and 3160: 'I have had no smoking at The Baton for over a year and there has been only a positive response from the clientele.

'At 3160, it has been very difficult. Persons do not stay as long, and they are always going outside to smoke so it takes them away from their conversations, and changes their mood at times. It has cut business a little, I think, but that also could be all the snow this year.'

—Chris Staton, Roscoe's: 'We haven't noticed really any change. The front half of the bar went smoke-free over a year ago. … Everyone has been reacting very positively.'

—Michelle Fire, Big Chicks owner: 'It's hard to tell how much impact had on business as the weather has had a greater impact than anything else. However, I will say that people are returning in droves who have stayed away because of the smoke, and that the smokers are still coming to relax at Big Chicks. All in all, it's been a peaceful transition.'

—Candace Allen, bartender/server at T's: 'Business hasn't been affected too much; I haven't noticed much of a difference at all. If anything, I feel it's brought more people who wouldn't come to a smoky bar on the weekend. ... There's been a lot of positive feedback.'

Read more story below....

—Randall Thompson, bartender at Gentry on State: 'I couldn't give you an accurate answer just because January and February are typically slow for bars and restaurants. Some people have said that they see a slight decline, but our people either go out the back or the front [ to smoke ] .

—Eio Caban, Touché: 'Business hasn't really changed that much. The changes are happening because of the cold weather, not the [ smoking ban ] . I also don't think you'll really notice anything until spring or summer.'

—Scott Steif, assistant manager at Hunters: 'Our business has gone backwards because we've been non-smoking since March, and it seems like the bar business in here has picked up since the smoking ban has [ gone ] into effect in the city because we have a huge patio where people can smoke. It's not like people have to go outside to smoke. From what I see, business is slow everywhere because of the economy but, overall, [ the smoking ban ] hasn't really hurt us because we already went through it in March.'

—Andrew Davis and Amy Wooten

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