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Bar Owners Don't See A Dark Side In Smoking Ban

The author takes aim at the Silver Eagle Group Training Facility & Private Club, a shooting range in Ashburn. The facility is offering public tours today.
The author takes aim at the Silver Eagle Group Training Facility & Private Club, a shooting range in Ashburn. The facility is offering public tours today. (Courtesy Of Erica Garman)

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By Erica Garman
Sunday, February 15, 2009

Living in LoCo is Erica Garman's blog devoted to news about Loudoun County. You can find it at http://www.loudounextra.com. This column of highlights appears every Sunday in the Loudoun Extra.

A smoking ban in most of Virginia's bars and restaurants is imminent, but the Loudoun County restaurant and bar owners I spoke with don't seem concerned about how it might affect their bottom lines.

"Initially, we may feel a pinch," said Jeff Ayers, general manager at Spanky's Shenanigans Pub & Raw Bar in Leesburg. "But once smokers get used to the idea, it probably won't make much of a difference."

Ayers said the ban would make it easier for smokers like him to give up the habit.

"It's going to be an adjustment, but I think it's necessary for the health and well-being of us all," he said.

Mark Eckert, who owns the Ashburn Pub in Ashburn Village, where customers are free to light up, agreed that the ban, expected to be approved by the General Assembly, is a good thing.

"I've been in the [bar] business for 30 years and have never smoked," he said. "I'm not so sure I buy into the secondhand-smoke argument, but if we're all on the same page and every business has to comply, then I'm all for it."

Most restaurants in Loudoun have gone to a smoke-free environment.

Jay Trier, owner of the Hidden Horse Tavern in Middleburg, said he originally allowed smoking in his 50-seat establishment. Then, after customers complained, he limited smoking to the bar area.

"But diners said they could still smell the smoke," he said.


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