Smoking Ban Fuels Outdoor Alternatives

Smoking in bars will soon be a thing of the past in Madison. July 1, bars and restaurants go smoke-free.

"I think people will adjust, it might sting the drink part of the business," says Brocach manager Don Gautreau.

That's why Brocach is one of 9 establishments that have applied for a permit with the city's Alcohol License Review Committee this year, that would allow them to open an outdoor seating area.

"It would certainly help, it would certainly take a little bit of the sting out of it," says Gautreau, "I'm sure at least while the weather is nice, people can still go outside and be on the premises and still be buying food and drinks from us."

That's what those at State Street Brats are counting on.

"At first we didn't like the smoking ban but with our outdoor seating area we'll be able to accommodate those who want to smoke," says State Street Brats manager Nathan Quella, "Hopefully that will be a draw and be good for business."

With one of the largest beer gardens in the city, Brats plans to cater to smokers all year long.

"We're going to shovel it, keep it open and if they want to come smoke in the cold they'll come smoke in the cold," says Quella.

The ban could be good for businesses outside city limits. But the bar owner of Monkey Shines says he's not excited about a potential jump in sales, he's fired up over the message the ban sends.

"There is a choice, there are non smoking bars in the city of Madison, go there if you're a non smoker, support the non smoking bars but why force it on the rest of the people," says owner Bill McMahan, "It's not fair."

Some bars also plan to add heaters to their outdoor patios during the colder months.

The ALRC is scheduled to look at 4 more permit requests for outside seating areas this month.

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